To Be on (Twitter) or Not To Be? Blade Runners of Twitter
Is it worth it to have a Twitter account in 2016?
We have always been reluctant to use Twitter for Golden Point Solutions’ social activities. Paulina has used it successfully in the past to promote charity events and to connect with the small community of New Westminster. Other than that it seemed pointless to post any tweets that would immediately get drawn into this humongous pond of information.
After watching some videos at Gary Vee we decided to give it a try.
Through the entire month of March, We were growing the company’s Twitter account completely organically. What that means is that we haven’t used any automation or any tools to get more followers. The results were very interesting, so here are 5 things we’ve learned from that experiment.
1. 600 followers in 30 days is not hard at all
Let’s get straight to the results, we’ve managed to get 600 followers in 30 days with a moderate amount of effort. We have installed Twitter apps on our phones and PCs.
We’ve been spending around 15 minutes every morning and evening. On weekends, we had the PC app in the background to monitor growth. Overall we have posted at least 2 new tweets a day and I have retweeted around 5 things a day. On top of that, we started following around 1000 other accounts related to project management and marketing.
The result was impressive. We’ve started with 5-10 new followers per day and by the end of the month, we were getting around 30-50. It seems that it is really not that hard to get someone to follow you.
2. The amount of porn is staggering
You might ask why would I write here about porn. Well, in the process of following people we have noticed that you have to be very careful who you follow because there is no filter on the content people post.
After refollowing “a young business entrepreneur”, we’ve started to see a large amount of porn among the tweets we’ve been following.
I was also surprised that the second search result for the word “snapchat” is actually a profile called “Nude Snapchat”, which is dedicated to amateur porn. I guess you really don’t need to be 18 years old to access anything on the internet.
3. Hashtag #MondayMotivation and #Hustle
By using those two hashtags between 6am GMT (when the European user base is waking up) through 10am PST (when everyone is already at work), you will have guaranteed growth. Those two hashtags are so popular that it actually does not matter if the tweet has anything to do with your business, people will still follow you.
In general, jumping on the most popular hashtag waggon is the easiest way of bringing your numbers up. Don’t expect meaningful fellowship through this hack. Numbers generated in this way will not lead to any customers. The upside is that in a numbers game you can win by posting content not relevant to your geographic location. So if you sell online and ship globally, this might be a strategy for you.
4. Twitter Automation
After two weeks we’ve got the impression that we are interacting with machines. There are so many tools to automate the “engagement” process that I think in near future it will be those systems talking to each other. At first, a few auto-responders asked us to visit the website or download a free e-book. We were interested so we did click on the provided links. But after 40 in one day, we gave up. By the way, I don’t think anyone ready those free e-books anymore. We certainly don’t.
One interesting message we got was from an auto-responder wanting us to verify if our account is an automated bot. Which is kind of ironic, but I guess this is one way to filter spamming bots.
If you pay close attention you can actually spot automated accounts:
1) All their tweets have exactly the same structure.
2) If you follow several accounts using the same automation service, you will see in your feed a string of exactly the same tweets
Automation is the most irritating and most dangerous aspect of Twitter today. It doesn’t feel like social media anymore- it’s bots’ media. It might be great in terms of generating followers. But that’s it. No meaningful connection. We get irritated when we have to talk to the answering machine on the phone, why would it be any different while chatting to Twitter bots instead of a real human being?
A lot of people are already saying that Twitter is dead. I disagree, but it is hard not to see why they say such things. It is becoming increasingly hard to create a meaningful connection with others when you constantly are spammed by bots.
There is just too much noise in the ether and it is becoming increasingly hard to get through. Any tweet on my screen is there for about 3 seconds if I keep refreshing the page. I simply might never get to see your tweet or be seen myself. It is becoming a probability game.
Some people may say that it’s a numbers game and it’s more convenient/time efficient to get social media automated. If you set it up right, you might get a lot of exposure which might result in an increase of traffic on your website or online store. If your traffic to client conversion is good, then that will result in sales. Basically, you can come up with a formula to see how many followers you need to reach your sales targets.
It could look something like this:
Target sales = Avg. sale per customer X sales per day
Sales per day = No. of visits X visitor to customer ratio
More visitors per day can be only achieved by more tweets per day, and an increasing number of followers.
But there is a hidden catch from a global perspective. More automated account creates more tweets. The more tweets appear in the feed, it is less likely for people to see those tweets or get overwhelmed and stop using it at all. It’s a downward spiral for the platform and the whole growing automation trend unless Twitter will do something and change the algorithm.
5. What will happen with the number of followers if we take a break from tweeting?
We have noticed that if there are no updates on your profile and you don’t engage with the platform, the numbers of followers goes down. I am not sure how much of this trend is automated and how much of it is due to users just unfollowing you, but the end result is the same. You simply cannot stop using Twitter and expect the numbers to stay at the same level. And again, there is a good and bad side to it. The good side is that the automation will help you grow constantly. The bad news is that if you take a vacation you will have some re-work to do if the number of followers is the main factor for you.
As of today, we are planning to keep the Golden Point Solutions account on Twitter, mainly to follow interesting people and news from the industry. A shared account between two users works well in our case. Less is more, especially when applying to the overcrowded Twitter community. We also focus on curating content that can really add value to potential clients and people with profiles similar to ours.
We will keep ignoring bots. On the end, it’s better to have direct interaction with 10 human followers than 1000 bots. Bots won’t buy your product or service, or become your business partners. Simple quality over quantity rule.
I guess with the time we will get better on spotting fully automated accounts (Blade Runners of Twitter if you prefer 😉 ). Actually, some people were trying to do it already. Perhaps there is or will be an app for it.