How NOT to Use Twitter

On Monday, I happened upon a Twitter account that had just 8 followers but had sent out an amazing 31,000 tweets. How is that possible? The account aggregates blog posts on its particular subject and sends links via tweets to all 8 of its followers.

I chose to make one of the Twitter accounts I handle follower number 9. I observed this “high tweet output/low follower total” account and its modus operandi. Because they send out tweets in high volume, indiscriminately, a follower’s timeline gets inundated. Presumably, the tweets are sent automatically each time a blog post is added to the aggregator’s home page.

I speculate that those who followed this account in the past got tired of the excessive tweeting and chose to unfollow. OR those administering the account set it up and left it alone, choosing not to work to grow its followers list.

I recently spoke to a local small business owner who said he is doing all his marketing now via social media. The business has been on Twitter since September, 2012 and has 27 followers. Eight tweets have been sent since Thanksgiving.

Each of these two examples demonstrates wrongheadedness and wasted effort.

The first account (with 9 followers) is following no one. One way to build followers is to follow other appropriate accounts and to engage in a conversation. Retweet and reply. If you’re following no one, it can be hard to grow your list of followers.

The second account (with 27 followers) needs to grow his list by recruiting followers via Facebook posts and email blasts. He should also include his Twitter handle on his customers’ receipts. And he, too, should follow, reply and retweet. If he doesn’t have the time, he should find someone who can help.

Growing a list of Twitter followers does not happen overnight, unless you’re a celebrity or a novelty account. It takes work and consistent effort. Tweet content is important, but the key word is “engage.”

(Update: In the past three days, the “high tweet output/low follower total” Twitter account has added a tenth follower and has now sent out 32,427 tweets.)

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