If you’ve ever looked closely at your Twitter followers you’ve probably seen a few that have nearly identical following/follower numbers. That’s because these account owners have a “follow-back” policy. Sometimes they even put it in their profile description that if you follow them they will follow you back. This is essentially a bribe and I believe it’s definitely the wrong way to get new Twitter followers.
Sure, you can get more followers this way, but are they really high-quality, highly-targeted followers? In other words, are they useful? Will they be engaged members of your network? Most-likely not. So why do people offer follow-bribes? Ego is my best guess. For the most part, having 100k Twitter followers with a nearly 1:1 following ratio is superficial. I guess they think it looks good to have so many followers.
Some people try to act like following-back is a friendly practice. That’s junk. In reality this practice devalues the Twitter experience for everyone involved. For the person offering the bribe that manages to get 100k followers, their Twitter stream will be next to useless. Talk about trying to drink from a fire hose. Plus, the content is not going to be anything interesting. It’s going to be random. For the person following just to get a follow-back the experience is going to be equally sub-par for the same reason. Twitter is such a great platform for discovering great content from interesting people. It was never meant to be random.
You know there are tons of people out there who don’t “get” how Twitter is meant to work when you see sites like this cropping up all over the place to help you determine whether or not someone you followed is following you back so you can unfollow them. This whole follower-bribe trend is so bad for the non-tech-savvy people who are trying out Twitter for the first time because they are going to get the wrong impression and think, “Oh, that’s how it works.” On Twitter, just as in real life, superficiality does not translate into any real value. If you’re running a business and you try to take the bribery approach, you’re not going to start killing it in the sales department.
So what is the right way to get more Twitter followers? You’ve got to earn them. Create and share great content that is worth sharing in turn. Don’t be a drone. Have a mind of your own and hit Twitter with a purpose. Don’t try to take a shortcut. Who do you think people will believe has the best content to share, the person with a follower/following ratio of 500:1 or the person with a ratio of 1:1? It’s much better to grow organically. Yes, it might be slower (or it might not depending on how dazzling or how famous you are), but it’s the right way to grow.
Do you agree/disagree? Let me know.