This bird hates Twammers

This bird hates Twammers

Improper Following on Twitter

You’ve seem them on Twitter. Their messages that they’re “now following you” clog up your inbox. In fact, the only safeguard is not having a twitter account at all.

Who am I talking about? Twammers.

Twammers, or twitter spammers, can be classified as having a succinct, direct marketing strategy. Not known for their subtleties, or their beat-around-the-bush tactics, these twammers actually achieve a pretty high success rate – that is, the rate they successfully turn you away from their product.

Joking aside, are companies marketing themselves in this fashion because they believe it works, or out of just plain laziness? While I wish it was the latter, a strong part of me believes it is the former. And while there will always be these types of marketing campaigns regardless of the medium, what twitter specific aspect makes companies adopt this wildly inefficient strategy? In short, follower count.

Follower counts are sexy, cool, and they announce your popularity to the world. In fact, many celebrities are ranked by their follower count, so one can’t help but rank themselves according to their friends and competitors. But, let’s face the facts here: you’re not a celebrity! And except for some stroke of a magic wand where your father is suddenly transformed into OJ Simpson’s lawyer, or a multi-billion dollar hotelier, you’ll never be someone who commands a follower count into the millions. Suffice to say, stop trying!

Now, it’s quite easy to play the “follower game” on twitter. In fact, you can simply turn on an autofollow feature, and the entire process will be out of your hands. But in the case of twitter, it’s not how many followers you have, it’s how many key followers you have. These key followers are those that understand your product, your message, and most importantly, they appreciate you. They are the ones most likely to search for your latest tweet, rather than simply reading it when it appears on their feed. Key followers are those that are most likely to retweet you, mention you in one of their own tweets, spread your word, or actually buy your product. These folks may even start corresponding with you on twitter, and as long as the name of the game remains “word of mouth,” what better publicity can you find?

Don't give in to this guy

Don't give in to this guy

So how exactly can you create an effective twitter strategy without becoming a twammer? First, build your account slowly and organically, by only following those that are in your target demographic. Your goal is not to attract as many followers as you can, it’s to attract as many influencers as possible. These influencers, along with others that have pledged brand allegiance, make up your “key followers,” who will mention your service to others. Attracting them is, well, key, since social media is not always a means to a sale, but a means to interact and create positive brand experience. If you give in to the dark side – and become a twammer – then all of your future plans might be for naught.

Granted, it might be tough to explain the meaning of a key follower to your follower-hungry clients or bosses. However, they must be reminded that a successful twitter campaign is not too dissimilar from any other great marketing strategy: isolating your niche, and becoming the big fish in a small pond. Once they understand that, they’re not too far from realizing how valuable 140 characters can be.

Written by Alex Tanskey