Cut Through Twitter Spam

Social media makes it easy to create a visible presence on the Internet for marketers, public relations professionals, and journalists.

And Spammers.

Unfortunately, it seems that spammers have infiltrated Twitter. Every time I update my twitter feed, a different spammer decides that then is a good time to start following me. In order to keep my friend feed clean, I’ve started blocking spammers automatically.

So when Zee M Kane of We Do Creative started following me on Twitter, he was two seconds from being blocked just like any other spammer. But his feed was longer than most Twitter spammers, and he had a good following to follower ratio (2:1 is good; Zane has one of almost 1:1).

I looked through his profile and his tweets and found out that Zee’s company We Do Creative has a branch specifically for public relations. I had a sneaky suspicion that Zee didn’t just add any tweeter who updated more than twice daily. I sent him tweet asking him why he added me, and he tweeted back saying he recognized that he made an effort to add people relevant to his industry.

This caused me to start thinking about effective ways to increase my followers on twitter beyond the obvious ‘Drive web traffic to your twitter feed’ tactics. Here is what I came up with:

  1. Follow a specific audience. Tweeters who have good following to follower ratios don’t add people who are irrelevant to their tweets. If you are in the automotive industry, don’t start adding tweeters who specialize in neurosurgery (unless neurosurgery is important to you, and even if it is, don’t expect them to follow you back).
  2. Don’t ignore @messages or replies. One of the things that impressed me about Zee’s feed was that he responded to both my @messages promptly despite having close to 1,000 followers. Recognizing your followers and responding to them will keep them from removing you from their twitter feed, and in some cases, will inspire them to add you.
  3. Engage your Audience. Go beyond just replying to your audience. Make your tweets interesting to whatever audience you’re trying to build. If you are a tech blogger, link and/or comment on the newest apple gizmo. If you are a coffee shop owner, tweet about a new drink you made. Stay up to date with the latest news in whatever field you specialize in and tweet about it.

Twitter is a powerful way to communicate ideas, but it is only as powerful as the number and type of people you have following you. By adding people who are irrelevant to your tweets, you are guaranteed to be seen as a spammer. Pay attention to who you add and take care of who you add if you want to see your follower count skyrocket.

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5 Responses to “Cut Through Twitter Spam”


  1. 1 marinerecon January 1, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Very good Bryan. He who has the most followers doesn’t alway win…eh?

    I linked you on a twitter a few minutes ago.

    Joe

  2. 2 Chris January 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Since you have to follow someone or look at their profile to see what they write on Twitter, what exactly is “Twitter spam”?

    I don’t think it exists. Or maybe it is hiding somewhere with Bigfoot.

    Please don’t tell us you follow people, then think their messages are spam, since you chose to see them.

  3. 3 Bryan Saxton January 1, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Chris,

    Usually when someone follows you, you receive an email update from twitter with a link to their profile. You can also find them if they send you an @message. Most of these accounts have many tweets that only point to their websites.

    Twitter certainly recognizes that spammers infiltrate their site, and they make extensive efforts to suspend and remove these accounts. Check out http://blog.twitter.com/2008/08/turning-up-heat-on-spam.html for an example, or just browse through the Twitter blog to find out about twitter spam and what Twitter is doing to get rid of spam.

  4. 4 ambivalentmonk January 1, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    Chris,

    I consider Twitter Spam to be someone following me, me thinking that it’s someone who’s actually interested in my feed, and then me finding out that the person only has one or two tweets, following about 2000 and no followers, and the two tweets consist of “Want to see pics? Click here: … “


  1. 1 Bookmarks about Twitter Trackback on August 12, 2008 at 5:45 am

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About Bryan Saxton:

I am a Journalism Student at the University of Oregon and the Public Relation's Officer for the International Student Association.
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