Twitter is growing rapidly every day. There are few ways to spread a message as quickly or as efficiently. However, this incredible growth also leads to opportunistic people jumping in and trying to take advantage of the system.
Spammers and bots are all over Twitter. Usually they’re pretty easy to spot, but it’s getting more difficult. Most Twitter users will quickly unfollow or block spam users. Unfortunately, sometimes real Twitter users that accidentally look spammy will be blocked as well.
Here are some ways you can avoid having that happen to you.
Use a photo for your profile picture.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a picture of yourself, but make it unique and make sure it represents what you’ll be tweeting about. The same can be said for background pictures. Definitely change from the default image.
Choose a good username
People are more likely to follow someone named “JohnJones” or “TorontoHockey” than they are “cp349s.” A few initials followed by some numbers may very well represent you correctly, but most Twitters users won’t spend time trying to figure out what they mean. You’ll be blocked.
It also helps to have a name that lets people know what your Tweets will be about. “TorontoHockey” is a good example. You know you’ll receive Toronto hockey information by following this person.
Don’t Only Tweet About Yourself
If you’re going to only send out Tweets linking to your blog or talking about your product, the only people that will follow you will be your most devoted follows.
Twitter is a great way to promote yourself, but that’s not all it is. You’ll need to retweet other stories, send out links to blogs that aren’t yours, and join conversations.
Communication Goes Both Ways
This expands on the previous point. Twitter is about communication. It’s not just a way to shoot out press releases and plug your latest blog post. Respond to other people’s Tweets with actual answers. Retweet posts you find useful or interesting and explain why you thought so. Ask AND answer questions. A valuable Twitter user gains followers and by participating in the conversation, you’ll become a valuable user. You’ll probably even learn a few things.
Watch Your Followers
A Twitter user with 1000 followers who is only following 10 people is either a celebrity or a spammer. A user who is following 1000 people but who only has 10 followers is almost certainly a spammer. If someone follows you, check out their Tweets and follow them back if they seem interesting. Don’t mass follow hundred of people each day. You’ll look like a spammer and no one will follow you back.
Don’t Use “Gain Hundreds of Followers A Day” Programs
I’ve done it and it doesn’t work. You just end up with hundreds of spam followers and an uninteresting, almost unusable Twitter account. There are much, much better ways to gain new followers. The number of followers isn’t important if they don’t fit into your niche. If you Tweet about movies, you’ll likely want followers who care about movies. Having 500 followers want to read about dieting doesn’t help you. It will also make you look like a spammer.
A lot of these services also send out autotweets on your behalf that say something like “I got 100s of followers a day using this service.” That just annoys people and it’s not genuine.
Don’t Talk Like A Spammer
If you’ve written a new blog post and want to Tweet about it, write something like “My latest blog post: How to use Twitter:” and then provide a link. Don’t write something like “Click here for great stuff!” Not only does that look spammy, but it doesn’t give people any reason to click your link. They have no context and they won’t care about what you’ve written.
Also, watch your spelling and grammar. Yes, Twitter only gives you 140 characters and sometimes it’s necessary to write “NE1” instead of “anyone” but try to avoid it when possible. “Please vote for my blog in this new contest. I could win a free iPod” looks a lot more legitimate than “Pls vote 4 me I can win a ipod!!!”
If you’re Tweeting about football or conservative politics or fashion, write that in your bio. People want to know what they should expect when they follow you. And don’t try to trick people into following your links. Let them know what you’re linking to. A random, generic tinyurl link will never be clicked. Don’t write “The Greatest Way To Meet Women” and then paste a link. Let people know what the link is. If it’s a blog post about pick-up lines, write that. If it’s a dating service, let people know. If it’s porn, DEFINITELY mention that.
Also, if you’re linking to something you wrote, say so. Don’t write “I just read this amazing article” and then link to your own stuff. Write “I just wrote this” instead.
Don’t send out direct messages to every one of your followers every time you write a new blog post. That’s annoying. Don’t send out a link that causes a video or a song to play automatically without warning people. You don’t want someone clicking a link in their office and having a Britney Spears song come blaring out of their speakers when they’re supposed to be working. The same can be said for any sites with profanity or nudity. You want people to trust you and you want to look legitimate. A great way to do that is to use common courtesy.
Everything in Moderation
Don’t send out the same Tweet every two minutes. No one wants to read about how your blog just won an award 30 times an hour. That will get you blocked. Have some variety in your Tweets. The number one way to look like a spammer is to act like a spammer. If all of your Tweets in a given day are providing the same two link over and over again, no one will want to follow you.