Have you ever used a follow-unfollow tool to increase the number of your Twitter followers?
Don’t act surprised – everyone’s doing it.
It’s not just some shady Twitter accounts and armies of bots. Many beloved brands and well-known influencers are using follow-unfollow tools to inflate their follower numbers.
And the weird part is, it works.
This article will explain who?, why?, and how? are using the automated accumulation of Twitter followers. You’ll also find the answer to the question Should I do it?
Here’s an honest account on why brands can benefit from inflated Twitter follower numbers, but also why this monkey business is a waste of everyone’s time.
The popularity of automated Twitter following
As mentioned before, many prominent people and brands are using automated Twitter follower tools.
We recently analyzed Twitter accounts of top 145 marketing tools.
Out of 145 MarTech Twitter accounts, 33.1% are potentially inflating their follower numbers by using follow-unfollow tactics.
This chart illustrates the concentration of mutual following between a Twitter account and their followers. (The accounts were randomly chosen among the 145 accounts analyzed)
Accounts with high red and purple columns follow thousands of users who never followed them back.
Now, why would a marketing tool want to follow hundreds of thousands of Twitter accounts?
How to recognize a Twitter account with “fake” followers:
The first sign that a Twitter account is using an automated following tool is a high ratio of people they follow vs. people following them.
Another red flag is an account following hundreds of thousands of people – no social media manager could’ve possible followed all those people.
I didn’t have to look hard to find these examples, there are millions of similar accounts out there. And these aren’t bot accounts. These are brands trying to increase the number of Twitter followers, earn people’s trust via social proof, and drive more sales.
Automated Twitter following tools are wildly popular. A quick Google search reveals that this is quite a competitive industry with tens of different tools promising you more Twitter followers. Look at the second result.
Increasing Twitter follower count – how it works
In case you haven’t heard of this technique before, here’s how it works: a Twitter account owner uses automated tools follow another Twitter user’s followers, up to 1000 people per day (that’s a limit set by Twitter).
As a few days pass, they’ll unfollow all the users who haven’t followed them back. Meanwhile, they’re following new Twitter profiles every day.
In this automated click-and-follow routing, there’s no consideration who’s being followed. The sole goal is to inflate the numbers on a Twitter profile’s follower parameter.
Yet, as someone who has used the follow-unfollow tools, I must say – it is borderline addictive.
Right after following hundreds of people, your Twitter notifications light up. You’ll get tons of new followers and automated welcome messages.
There’s just one important question people forget to ask – If these people are automatically following me back and sending a welcome message… Aren’t they using the same tools as I am?
Is “fake” Twitter following working?
There’s a time in a Twitter account’s lifecycle when automated follower inflation can help. It’s right after creating the profile.
When seeing a cool tweet and being on the verge of following the profile behind it, people usually look for social proof – Are other following this account?
If your new Twitter profile’s follower account is 20, you won’t look like the most popular kid on the block. If it’s 1000+, you’ll be perceived as someone worth following.
Automated Twitter following tools can help you get to the first 1000 followers in a matter of days. If your goal is to share high-quality content and weighty opinions, the rest will follow organically.
If your goal is to become a well-known Twitter influencer and accumulate thousands of engaged readers, while being lazy and relying on fake following, you won’t get very far.
If you’re just publishing low-value content and spamming other Twitter users with your offers, not even 100k “fake” Twitter followers won’t help you.
What’s the point of having 100k Twitter followers if all of them follow back thousands of profiles like yours? These people and brands never see your tweet, lest to speak of engaging with it.
Using automated follow-unfollow tools will bring you followers that are just as indifferent of your tweets as they are of yours. These “fake” followers will never like, retweet, or mention your tweets.
Stop using automated following tools
When starting the Aggregate blog, I finally realized one thing:
Using the automated Twitter follow-unfollow tools is never worth the time spent.
With an extra 15 minutes each day, one can:
- Create 8 high-quality tweets to share
- Start conversations with Twitter influencers
- Brainstorm new ways of engaging with your audience
All of these activities have a higher return on investment than any mechanical follower hack you can pull.