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Who is Stacy Kinney & What Does She Do ?

Should You Auto Follow on Twitter?

Is Auto Follow a Good Way to Build a Twitter Following?

In just under five years Twitter has become one of the top social media destinations for content consumers and producers alike. As a blogger and business owner you really cannot afford to not have a presence on there. In fact, every business should have a Facebook and a Twitter profile at minimum if you want to connect with your customers and become an integral part of their life.

However, many people find that staying on top of their social media marketing can consume a lot of time and effort. There are a number of  Twitter tools that can help you automate some or all of the tasks involved in building and maintaining a Twitter following. One of the things I’m noticing on the social media site, though, is that many business owners are using the Twitter follow tools to auto follow everyone who follows them.

Auto Follow on Twitter

Click to Follow Me on Twitter

I started thinking about this the other day. Is this really a good idea?

 

Reasons to Auto Follow

The main reason cited for auto following on Twitter was that it seemed like an easy way to build a following on Twitter. That’s sort of true. One piece of advice I often give people is to find your target market on Twitter and engage them by following their streams.

Suffice it to say, other businesses are targeting you as potential customers or collaborators. So they follow you in order to start building a relationship and they tend to stick around when you follow them back. If you have ten people adding you to their follow list every day, auto following them back can potentially net you up to 300 new followers per month.

Auto follow on Twitter is also convenient. I get about 100 new followers a day. With two kids, a husband, and a full time business I don’t always have time to go through and manually follow everyone back (Follow me on Twitter). It’s even worse for big brands and celebrities who get, literally, hundreds of people following them on a daily basis. So I can see the appeal of having a Twitter tool that tasks care of this task for you.

Reason to Not Auto Follow

But for all the convenience offered by Twitter follow tools, there are a couple of distinct disadvantages to auto following on Twitter.

- You will be targeted by spammers: Spammers love accounts that auto follow because it allows them to build their numbers quickly. They know that people are impressed by accounts that have large followings (a form of social proof). So they get lists of accounts on Twitter that automatically follows everyone and then they follow everyone on that list. Even worse, many of them will wait a few days and then unfollow you!

- Your account will be rendered useless: Being targeted by spammers brings me to the second problem with auto follow. Your Twitter stream will be filled with spam and other meaningless junk; not to mention the tons of auto direct messages you are likely to receive. Tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite can help you separate the wheat from the chuff. But that can be even more of a pain because then you have to manually look at each follower to decide where they should go or if you should unfollow them altogether.

So should you auto follow or not? There is no right or wrong answer. It really depends on what your goals are. If you just want to build a following then auto follow may be a good way to do it. If you want to build meaningful relationships on Twitter, though, then you will need to vet your followers either in the beginning when they first follow you or at the end when you are deciding whether or not to listen to their chatter.

What do you think? Do you auto follow on Twitter? Why or why not?

Speaking of Twitter, did you know I have a social media checklist you can download that will help streamline your social media marketing? You can download it for free. More information is located in the sidebar.

For one on one help with your internet marketing, contact me for a free one hour consultation where I will show you a few tools that will get your name in front of hungry customers just waiting to buy. You will never need to auto follow again.

7 Responses to “Should You Auto Follow on Twitter?”

  • I don’t auto follow, but then again I havent been using twitter all that long. I started doing that, but it was annoying to get all that spam and what not. For now, I prefer to use the method of connecting with similar folks and see how it grows from there. I guess I’m more interested in authenticity than inflating numbers.

    • stacykinney:

      I agree David about having quality over quantity. I recently started using an auto follow tool so I could target people of similar interest and connect. I used to spend hours every night manually following,etc. so now I feel like I have more free time and building quality relationships :-)

  • Hi Stacy, I am sure you are right that it’s a case of ‘horses for courses’ but for me I would never Auto Follow, it’s just too impersonal. You can often spot when you have been ‘auto followed’ by someone by the Auto DM that’s received encouraging you to visit a Facebook page or blog, I am afraid it has the opposite effect on me and I wouldn’t want to provoke that reaction in someone who had just followed me.

    I appreciate that it takes time ( particularly as the numbers increase) but I prefer to have a look at who has followed, check if they are real, check if they are just selling and then, if they pass both tests I will more often than not follow back. When time allows I might send a DM to thank them using their name, now that’s a good way to start a relationship!

    Many thanks for your well balanced post Stacy, I am sure you will see support for both sides of the argument.

    Tony

  • Hi – Very new to twitter and cautious too. Trying to learn all I can from reliable sources. Tony’s approach and methods sound good to me. Thanks for letting me know there is such a thing as auto follow. Explains some recent happenings on my follower list. June

  • Hi Stacy,

    I try to find people that have articles and posts I am interested in and follow them.That being said I do do some auto following to people that are in my target market.I have met great people that way. People I would have never met by sitting on twitter going through my stream all day.

    Roberta

  • Hi Stacy,

    I do autofollow, but with all of the reservations you list as disadvantages to doing so. Like you, I was getting too many new followers a day to go through each one manually. A lot of times, I wasn’t following back when I should have, so I started autofollowing. I use other Twitter tools at least once a week to go through and clean up my list — get rid of the spammers and other inappropriate connections. I don’t think there’s any totally “auto” way to do Twitter. It’s about building relationships, and that takes time!

  • You really make it seem so easy along with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something that I feel I might by no means understand. It kind of feels too complicated and very vast for me. I am having a look ahead to your subsequent put up, I will try to get the grasp of it!

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