Why Bad Robots Bring Bad Hygiene to Your Twitter Account

One of the worst mistakes that newbies to Twitter do is choose the wrong robots to “help” them out. They accept these services in response to three fears:

1)   I need to hide from spam.

2)   I need to know if people are unfollowing me.

3)   I lack “social credibility” because I don’t have enough followers.

I’d like to discuss these perceptions, point out why they are unfounded, and why the usual “remedy” in fact makes the problem worse.



[SOURCE](c) Sebastian Lund, used according to Creative Commons License.


Hiding From Spam By Using a SpamBot

I suppose this shows that fighting fire with fire isn’t always the correct approach.

The most common robot chosen by newbies to hide from “spambots” is TrueTwit. What TrueTwit does is send a direct message to any new follower of yours, advertising the fact you are using them, and asking our potential follower to “validate” themselves on their web page as being a real human.

If you open TrueTwit’s web page, you’ll see it’s about 40% dedicated to advertising (that’s why it’s a free service), plus advertises to your new maybe-followers about their premium service.

By that time, I, and just about every other real human will give up trying to follow you because you’ve made it too difficult.

Imagine you owned a bar, and you hired TrueTwit to be your bouncer in the front. “No droids allowed!” he’d say. “Oh, you are a real human! Hey, I need a job, can I come work for you?” That’s basically who you hired with TrueTwit.

Now, maybe you are saved from spambots, but I personally haven’t seen any in months. Twitter seems to be doing a pretty good job of shutting them down, plus most of them just Tweet at you publicly anyways without following you.

In my case, I’m seeing about 5 to 25 new followers a day, which means I’m getting between 2 and 5 TrueTwit validation direct messages a day. Almost all of these people have only a couple hundred followers at best – and will likely remain there since nobody will go through the trouble to validate themselves. TrueTwit is the worst spambot of them all on Twitter in my opinion.


[SOURCE] (c) Kevin KB, used according to Creative Commons License


Tracking Who’s Unfollowing You With a Robot That Makes People Unfollow You

Next on my pet peeve list is Unfollower.me, and several copycat services with variations on that name, which purports to notify you when someone unfollows you, who doesn’t follow you back, and some other stuff.

The worst part of the service is that it publicly tweets everyday your twitter follower stats to the world: here’s how many new followers and unfollowers I’ve had, brought to you by unfollower.me. It’s not uncommon to see someone’s Twitter stream is nothing BUT messages from unfollower.me.  That’s a great way to get people to unfollow you by being really uninteresting.

So, maybe not as bad as TrueTwit, and if you tweet a lot, you might be able to live with it’s incessant self advertising on your account. But here’s another thought – you don’t really need to know or care about how many unfollowers you have.

First, understand that Twitter followers are not like Facebook friends. You don’t need permission to follow someone, and they don’t need permission to follow you. Twitter is built for 1:many relationships. It also means that people come and go from your followers list for many reasons. Maybe they didn’t like something you posted, thus it’s too late to get them back. Maybe they are merely uninterested in the things you say, thus they aren’t qualified to be your follower. Often they aren’t even real accounts.

You are better off spending your energy finding new followers, and interacting more with the people who do like what you Tweet about. These people are your real community.

Both of the robots mentioned above are free, which means you have to ask the question, “who are they working for?” They also hit all the major techniques of viral marketing where their usage causes more people to sign up for their service. However in this case, the viral marketing nearly kills the host – you.


[SOURCE] (c) Hajime Nakano, used according to Creative Commons License

Proving You Have No Credibility by Buying Fake Credibility

This third response is also the most insidious because it does relate to a real problem rather than an imaginary one. However, it’s the problem that any new user on Twitter has: lack of followers, and thus a perception of diminished social credibility.

What some people do to solve this problem is hire one of the services that purports to find you tens to hundreds of thousands of followers overnight for as little as or even less than .01 per follower. What these services do is take their farm of hundreds of thousands of followers, many of them fake accounts, and have them follow you for a set amount of time.

This means anyone new who sees your account sees that you must be really cool because you have 100,000+ followers. This also means anyone who already knew you and chose to follow you on their own before you hired the service instantly knows you are a fraud because nobody gets 100,000+ followers overnight unless they do something like go viral on YouTube and guest star on the O network all at the same time.

These services are even worse than that, however. At some point, these fake followers start to drop off. In some cases, these services even hijack your account, adding it to their farm, or using it to spam your real followers.

Yes, it’s true, there’s social credibility in the number of your followers. Ten’s of followers will cause some people to overlook you, while hundreds of followers still isn’t as good as thousands or ten’s of thousands.

However, don’t just look at this credibility as just a number rating. Ideally it’s actually real people who chose to follow you, thus a huge network effect comes into play as the number of followers you win climbs in the thousands to ten’s of thousands.

It’s a lot harder work proving yourself to thousands and tens of thousands of people and gaining enough of their interest to follow you. However, the benefits you receive from connecting with all these amazing people far outweighs the cheap effect of buying fake followers.


A Faster Way to Create Your Twitter Network

 Now when you see Twitter users with tens and hundreds of thousands of users, or even millions, this is the result of two forces:

1)   They were already famous outside Twitter, such as Justin Bieber, Barak Obama, or Deepak Chopra.

2)   They worked hard to get their social media presence known, through managing Twitter networks and engaging with users, and by promoting their Twitter handle every time they spoke, wrote, or otherwise had an opportunity to engage with mass audiences.

For the people who have worked hard for their social media presence, you have to give them a lot of credit. They did it the honest, and forthright way. As a result, not only do they have a lot of social credit, they have a lot of value in the relationships they’ve created in their social network.

Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to try out a cause-driven service that can help you create your Twitter network faster. By introducing you and your tweets to a lot of new quality people, Zamba.me SoapBox gives you the opportunity to accelerate the development of your Twitter community. Anyone who follows you does so willingly. This gives you the same benefits of the network effect as all these people who worked hard to build their Twitter following enjoy, you can just get there a bit faster. (Disclosure: I am an adviser to the company that created Zamba.me SoapBox: vTricity).

Results do vary by individual since your potential new quality followers do choose for themselves if what you have to say interests them. Early customer results have shown even beginner’s accounts can gain hundreds of real quality new people following them in just a few weeks. One well established blogger who already enjoyed seeing over 40 new followers a day before signing up for SoapBox saw their number of new daily followers increase by double.



Screenshot of my SoapBox dashboard

In my personal case, I’ve seen a more than 1000% increase in the number of new followers per day, more than doubling the number of followers on my account in 3 months. And I’m enjoying interacting with and learning from all of my new amazing followers.

The best part is that SoapBox really works, and its simple to use. It’s also simple to try out. Just sign in, and meet your next 25 amazing followers for free – you don’t even have to enter a credit card.

Give it a try, and then Tweet me about the amazing new people you connect with!

Finding and Building Your Cause-Driven Community

Finding and Building Your Cause-Driven Community

Step One in Cause Marketing and Social Entrepreneurship

So you have a cause you want to bring awareness to. Perhaps you even have a solution, either as a work dedicated to the public good, or a social entrepreneurial venture. Either way, to promote adoption, you need to spark or tap into a social movement. In other words, you need to find or create a community of concerned people.


You have content to share, now you need an audience.

[SOURCE] © Kristian Mollenborg, according to Creative Commons License, use with attribution.

Recent movements such as flash mobs and the Occupy movement have shown the amazing power of social media to help people find and organize communities and movements. Facebook is an awesome way to organize your close contacts and be referred along their networks of friends. Twitter, however, excels beyond any other social media channel in terms of letting you connect with totally new people with shared interests.


Building Your Cause-Driven Community via Twitter

Cause-driven people often have lots to say! We can tell tons of stories and generate moving content. Many of us are not so good at the public relations work needed to develop an audience to hear our stories.

Creating an audience via Twitter is very doable even when you aren’t already famous. It also takes a lot of work. I find content-oriented people, including myself, want to focus on developing the best content, not doing the tedious manual tasks of fostering and generating a social media audience. However, we still want that audience. Tweeting to thousands of people is way more fun, interesting, and powerful than tweeting to a couple of hundred.



Tweeting with a large flock is much more fun and impactful.

[SOURCE] © Pete Klosterman, used according to Creative Commons License, use with attribution.


Engaging a Cause-Driven Community Without Having to Build It

So what do you do when you have so many other things besides trying to build a social media audience? You could hire social media marketers or consultants – that’s how bigger companies solve this problem. But what if your budget is tight? That’s the case for most independent bloggers, small non-profits, and social entrepreneurial startups.

This was the dilemma faced by the team at vTricity as they were preparing to bring awareness to their social entrepreneurial solutions. They wanted to build their social media community of concerned-citizens, but had even more important things to do such as finishing code and working with early testers. So, they took a design-thinking view of what it took to build an audience on Twitter and as a result created Zamba.me SoapBox.

So what benefits might you see if you try out SoapBox to help you build your cause-driven community? As the first customer of SoapBox, here is my experience. In 3 months, SoapBox has found me over 2000 followers, more than doubling my total followers to over 4000. It’s also transformed my audience. Whereas before my followers were primarily technologists interested in IT, most of my new followers are cause-driven people interested in making the world a better place.

Everyone deserves to be heard if they have something to say. I encourage you to try out Zamba.me SoapBox yourself. You can meet your first 25 new connections for free, and you don’t even have to enter a credit card. Be sure to greet your new followers. You’ll see they are real people interested in causes, and they chose to follow you. All they needed was an introduction to you.