What NOT to do on Twitter

Apologies for the negativity, but some things have been annoying me of late. Mostly on Twitter. I’ve been following a lot of new people, which is great. It means I learn new things, expand my network and get a bit of extra traffic to here.

What’s been annoying me has stemmed from this. Here’s a wee list:

  • Auto DMs
  • Quotes
  • “I follow back”
  • SocialOomph (This is a service whereby you pay, on a monthly basis for things like Auto DMs and mass following based on keyword searches (amongst other things))


These are all things which I’ve seen recommended elsewhere. In some quarters it’s considered to be good Twitter practice. I’d like to set you straight people. It’s not.

Auto DMs are completely impersonal and amount to nothing more effective than spam email. It won’t open up a relationship with your follower because there’s nothing there to build that relationship on. Any links you put in there may generate traffic but they sure as hell won’t generate any business given that they have clicked it with zero intent. Please don’t do this. If you want to talk to new followers check out their profile, read a few of their tweets, then reply to them in the public stream. use their real name if they’ve supplied it for an added wow factor.

Quotes just wind me up. As I say, I’ve seen them mentioned as a way to generate content to tweet. But why? What’s the point of this regurgitated nonsense? Who gets benefit from it? People might enjoy reading it every now and again but if that’s all your providing then you’ve got to question what your purpose is for being on Twitter at all.

The follow back thing is big because people like to gather a big following. And, hey, I’m not dissing that. Regardless of what some luminaries think, there’s no getting away from the fact that a bigger following means a bigger audience for your wisdom. The problem is, if you’re building your following based on nothing more than helping people to build their following then you’re not going to have much scope for interacting with people. As your follow lists fills up with people with whom you share zero common ground, your experience on Twitter will simply become a boring sequence of keypresses as you follow people back all day.

Now, with SocialOomph I realise I may be picking on one of many similar services, so apologies for that. But it’s the worst culprit in terms of creating a soulless presence on Twitter. It runs in the background, growing your follower list and tweeting links so it looks like you’re doing stuff. BUT YOU’RE NOT. What you’re doing with these kinds of service is creating a Twitter Avatar who looks like you, sounds like you and even claims to be you but ultimately it’s not.

I appreciate that a service like SocialOomph is generating income from Twitter, so they’re clearly doing something right. I also appreciate that if you’re sole aim is to generate a bit following and drive a bit of traffic then it’ll work for you. I just think that you’re missing the point. If you’ve read much of my posts here I’m always banging on about listening and engaging on social media. It’s how you win trust and how you build relationships. You can’t do that with an automated service so ultimately, you lose. And one of your competitors, as soon as they’ve worked this out, will win. It really is that simple.

</rant>

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4 thoughts on “What NOT to do on Twitter

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