Those that are using their Twitter account on any kind of a regular basis are no doubt bombarded by tweets and offers to get more followers fast. Websites like offer lists of twitter accounts that allow you to follow hundreds of users at a time, many with the promise of a guaranteed follow back. The lists often fail to live up to their promises, or as I was corrected by a twitter friend (mrgames2 worth following) it is not the lists themselves that are deceiving us…

twitter for bloggers, twitter account, twitter search
Of course the conversation was in jest, but the question is raised ‘though we strive to gain large followings if our twitter account is jammed full of ‘auto follow backs’ how many of these people are actually paying attention to you? Not only that, are they even seeing your tweets at all?‘ I’m the first to admit that I have used a few applications like this (always followed by disappointment), but the more I consider their value the less impressed I get. How many twitter users are just trying to stroke their own ego with big follow counts? We’ve all heard that influence is more valuable than follow count. Quality better than Quantity. If that is true than we can also assume participating in Follow Back lists or throwing out hash tags like #teamfollowback #followback etc… is a pointless promotional activity. Here’s one reason why.

Do Your Followers Even See Your Tweets?

Do you follow 1000, 5000, or 10000 people on twitter? How many of each individuals tweets do you think you actually see? I don’t even pay too much attention to my main twitter stream anymore. Instead individuals who I have connected with on twitter over time have found their way onto various lists. I run a list called ‘I am Listening‘ where I highlight all the people that I’m really focused on paying attention to. With tweetdeck I follow these lists a whole lot closer than my main stream. I’ve heard it said that the life of the average tweet is ten minutes (unless of course it is successfully retweeted), I suspect it may be even less than ten minutes especially at ‘prime’ time. Every now and again I’ll glance at my main stream, perchance I may spot a tweet that catches my eye… often, not.

Don’t Give Up On Them

Just because you suspect a large percentage of your followers are flat out ignoring you, doesn’t mean you should give up. Slowly but surely you can convert these followers into fans. I have also written a post entitled ‘Not all Your Twitter Followers are Fans, yet…‘ where I take some of these ideas a little further. Take the following idea and put it into practice: Every week pick a few individuals who follow you, or if you have the time pick at least one person a day and intentionally engage with them, not in such a way as to promote your posts – but actually start some kind of conversation. It’s not hard, just think of something that would likely interest them (check out their bio), and take the time to have a few back and forth @ replies. If you’re going to put this advice into action check out my article on ‘How to be an Engager on Twitter‘. I recently saw this work effectively when a person who I had connected with on twitter used his influence and sparked a frenzy of retweeting on one of my posts.

bitly clicks retweet link

The clicks and retweets all happened fast in less than a day and spiked my traffic considerably that day. Of course this doesn’t ‘magically’ happen every time, and I’ve not been able to repeat quite to the same level yet. Remember this kind of effect is not dependent on how many followers you have, but rather the quality of your followers and their level of influence. This was retweeted when I had maybe only 300 followers!

traffic spike

Now Use Your Influence To Make a Few Dollars

Now maybe you can turn around and use your twitter influence to make yourself a few extra dollars. Not a bad idea at all. I use Sponsored Tweets to periodically throw out selective ads to my followers (I’m careful to make sure the ads fit in with my interests, and don’t compromise my integrity as a blogger), as they get clicked on I get paid per click. I am very careful not to spam my stream with ads and probably only put out one ‘sponsored tweet’ per 20 or 25 (at most!)… If you’re interested though you should definitely take a look: Sponsored Tweets.

Weigh in With Your Thoughts

I’m interested in your input on this issue. I realize there are a lot of varying schools of thought, and this one is just mine. Obviously many people participate in following back or use tools to mass follow / unfollow, do you? How do you feel about your level of influence as it relates to your number of followers? Has it increased? I’d have to say that I don’t feel any more influential with over 1000 followers than I did with 400. Though my twitter account is growing, I can’t honestly say that I’m getting retweeted a whole lot more (yet). I’d be interested in your thoughts.