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Ask GH: Do you user Twitter automation software to follow / unfollow users?
So I'm going to play a bit of a devil's advocate here, since most of this advice is straight out of the 'best practice social media' playbook.
The fact of the matter is that aggregating a large Twitter following (or better, a network of followers) can be a material traffic driver and source of revenue even with fake/spam accounts.
You can spin up a large number of fake accounts on Twitter fairly easily. When I say large number I mean 1,000s. You can automate them to follow/unfollow people to the point where you can build up their individual accounts to thousands of followers each.
With that you've essentially built an underground ad network on Twitter that has a reach of millions without any real paid investment (other than the code to make this happen, which is simple scripts).
You can then use that ad network to drive messaging via Tweets with calls to action, etc. that lead to traffic to your site. This traffic is often real and valuable because the bots follow real people and real people follow them back to a material extent. Of course it is mixed in with non-CTA content like famous quotes, etc. to make it appear more organic.
This traffic is free, somewhat targeted if you do the following right, and can convert. At scale, you've got an ad network w/10MM+ impression reach that cost you very little to acquire. Of course, you are at risk of having it shut down every day, and it takes some know-how to get it up and running, but it's entirely possible and exists in several different iterations out there in the wild.
I don't advocate this, and have not done it myself, as I believe the approach of social interaction = thought leadership and relationship, but we shouldn't let 'best practice' stand in the way of our ability to analyze an opportunity or channel critically. But I have seen it in action in a couple of places. And while there are certainly risks, it violates the TOS of Twitter, and is definitely black hat, it can be done, and it does work.
For more on the Twitter black market you should check out this academic paper on the subject: http://www.cs.gmu.edu/~mccoy/papers/USENIXtwitteraccountpaper.pdf
Yes, justunfollow.com to remove abandoned accounts from my following list.
justunfollow.com is exactly what I was looking for to remove abandoned accounts and find inactive Twitter users.
I love that you can get stats either delivered weekly or daily. Going to give this a few weeks and see how it goes (will probably convince the folks at work to upgrade to premium).
Cool tool! Been looking for something like this.
Can also vouch for JustUnfollow - works great
Additionally, I also use this - http://www.socialbakers.com/twitter/fakefollowercheck/ - to, as the name suggests - identify fake followers and report/remove them
I've also tried http://fakers.statuspeople.com/ which works as well
Hey guys, justunfollow.com has rebranded to Crowdfire. We're about to become more than just a follower/unfollower tool. We've been working on this overhaul for the last 1 year and it should be rolled out to all our users in the next 40 days. Message me if youd like to talk about it!
FUNF bots and keyword favoriting bots are really the lowest common denominator of "automated touch at scale" on Twitter. They can work, if all you watch is the follower count.
But it's a spammy solution to the problem. And it does little to challenge you to improve your feed, so MANY of the accounts that rely on it end up being very bad. And it fails to address the greater problem of becoming part of an organic interest-based community - which is, IMO, the entire point of Twitter, whether you're just using it or trying to market on it.
(Incidentally, "positive interaction + follow" is WAY more effective at generating follow-backs than just pinging people with a follow notification. So there's another area where you lose out.)
So backing up, "the problem" is roughly, "How do I get this Twitter thing to the point that it's a useful business activity that generates real traffic and contributes to some combination of customer acquisition and customer retention?"
Full-auto follow & favorite touches screw that up because they lack relevance and they lack humanity. You need to keep yourself in the loop, or why are they going to care about you?
But in automation, there's a spectrum from full-auto where a computer does everything, to semi-auto where the computer just helps simplify the task, to just doing it by hand. And add to that, the computer can be relatively "dumb" with things like keyword matching, or it can do more sophisticated reasoning about relevance and timing and the best sort of touch to get the result you want.
Effectively, you let the human do the stuff that a human is needed for (like providing empathy, solving the "apples" problem, understanding sentiment and sarcasm and whether it's an endorsement or a frustrated customer) and relegate the computer to helping the human get more done than they could possibly keep track of without some level of automation & task-specific UX.
Which is what I need to go back to working on...
Great answer Jim! A human touch adds immense value to an automated or semi-automated program.
There is no automated software anymore, Twitter banned automated following and unfollowing but there is software where you can do targeted searches (i.e. You sell milk so you search everyone on Twitter talking about "dairy"). Although it isn't automated, you can follow faster albeit it being manual with certain software.
I've found that increasing followers on Twitter grows audience for you content which directly increases traffic to your site.
You are wrong. As long as you can follow users using the Twitter API (https://dev.twitter.com/docs/api/1.1/post/friendship/create). Software can be created to follow / unfollow users.
In fact, a fast check on a few black hat forums still show a lot of new mass follow Twitter bots that are working...
I think you should do more research before commenting.
Philip, everyone occasionally misses things. This community is built on mutual respect. Please try to be more respectful with your comments. Thanks.
Sorry, I'm a very blunt person.
I agree that last sentence could have definitely been omitted.
No problem. Discussions are really important on the site, so I'd hate for people to be afraid to make a comment. Thanks for sharing the link.
Well Philip I'm not really a "black hat" kind of guy, but to each its own. I would never suggest to anyone on this site to use black hat tactics or break rules.
"You may not use or develop any service that allows for the following or unfollowing of user accounts in a bulk or automated manner. Accounts and applications that engage in this practice will be suspended."
I believe that if you're working for any brand or company that you value, you should try to stray away from that. Growth hacking tends to get a bad name due to "black hat" tactics. I've found a lot of success without doing so. I wish you the best.
Twitfox.com is a good tool to auto-favorite tweets. If you're going to go the automation route I'd recommend doing it with favorites and not follows, its a little more unobtrusive IMO
Sad to see they had to shut down service. Have you tried other similar service http://tweetfull.com (disclaimer: built by a company I run).
I literally ask users "why did you follow me" if i feel they are using some kind of program. lol. Or block users that have no relevance to my life or what i'm interested in.
If you're going to do it, be good at it and dont suck...
I have used slingbot, followerwonk, targetpattern, cooperatize and others in tests. ONE thing I would advise if you do test them is to NOT use actual @ name accounts in the following, favoriting sections. it can easily get out of hand in bombarding that user with messages. stick with keywords and hashtags. but they are only as good as your actual twitter presence anyway. post, real good shit and you will get real good people.
I'm using http://unfollowers.me/. It works really well.
Thanks for sharing Gil! Needed such application to for my profile as I was inactive for a long time on Twitter.
i have twitadder, it’s a great tools ever, follow targeted people and get fast growing follower with target we choose, very simple and worth
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