A client insisted that he just HAD to have more followers. He’d gotten an email from a service that connects you with “thousands of followers in a week!” and wanted to know why that was such a bad idea. There was no way this was going to be good, but being the inquisitive type I couldn’t help myself. So I ran a little test.
I used a personal Twitter account that was relatively un-used and paid $150 for “A thousand followers guaranteed in just a week!”. Of course they don’t tell you until after you pay them that they will need your password so they can follow people to get them to follow back. They also don’s ask any questions at all about your interests, the kinds of people you want to connect to, etc., etc….
Within a couple of days the new followers started to stream in. The first 100 or so were sort of relevant to the profile and the types of people that were already following. Not so bad. Then the whole thing ramped up. I started seeing hundreds of new followers and at one point there was an increase of over 3,000 followers! Wow. Within 2 days however, 1500 un-followed. Some followed, un-followed and re-followed. Double Wow.
I dutifully posted informative links and welcomed my new followers (OK, only the ones who were relative to the type of business represented by the profile.) and I got not one single tweet from any of the new followers. I got a ton of DM’s but every one felt automated. Responses rarely returned a reply from the new follower. The bot running my test account dutifully followed them back, un-followed some and didn’t un-follow others. It was a sort of macabre dance. Lots of them had profile pics like this one.
After about 2 weeks things settled down and I downloaded the results to go over who these followers were and see what the content consisted of.
- 584 DM’s thanking me for following them and SO excited about my web site (there wasn’t one listed in the bio)
- 16 thank yous followed by a quote from Zig Ziglar
- 14 followers offering me male enhancement products (It was a female profile)
- 164 follows offering me free something or others and discounts
- 120 social media experts who could take my social media campaign to new heights and get me thousands of followers!
- 85 thank yous followed by an offer to make me rich working from home. Apparently in slippers.
The followers were a mix of newbies who thought getting thousands of followers would be a good idea, porn, multi-level marketers and people who prey on newbies who just want to figure all of this out.
In my very opinionated view it’s a shame that new users fall for this kind of stuff. Their Twitter or Facebook streams get clogged up with “junk” and then they say it’s all a waste of time. And it is indeed. I used a variety of Twitter applications to comb through and un-follow users who didn’t add value to the conversation, spammed or never actually posted anything.
After all was said and done I kept just 24 “real” followers out of the final download of 1800. These were the ones who were actually having conversations with me or with other users beyond broadcasting discount offers and junk. Oh, and it doesn’t end there. Even after I changed the password I’m still getting “thanks for the follow” DM’s. Apparently this poor account is now on some “will follow back” lists. Fortunately I have the option of deleting the account, but imagine if you were stuck in this loop? Yucko.
Have you read my book yet? “Social Media Success! – Practical advice and real-world examples for social media” is available on Amazon