There’s a Yeti following me on Twitter!

by Alex on September 27, 2010

targeted twitter followers do not exist

Last Post, Titled How to get your piece of the Twitter Traffic Pie looked at Twitter and discussed how I build my Twitter following, and more importantly why I build my following – but something that bears a lot of relevance to this discussion is the topic of targeted Twitter Followers, or whatever that actually means.

This post came about as a result of numerous discussions I have had with other bloggers about Twitter, because the comment that always comes up is ‘ yeah but are they targeted followers?’

Targeted Twitter Followers?

I’m sorry – but I honestly think that’s a load of horse wallop. Sure, there are people on Twitter that are looking for certain products or services, and if you can utilise the hashtags, stay on the search, AND be constantly active on the site – then sure, you can follow them – hope that they follow you back, and THEN try and sell them your wares, but C’mon! Really?

There are like a hundred gazillion people using Twitter* at any one time so finding those that are looking for what we have to offer simply comes down to playing the percentages. If 0.1% of Twitter users are looking to buy my stuff then I had better get at least 1000 followers so that I may find that one person. But I would love to maybe find two people, so I had better get another 1000 followers…and so on and so forth.

(*These Stats may have been blown out for the sake of a good story.)

how to target twitter followers

Playing the NUMBers game

In order to find these so called ‘targeted Tweeps’ that may or may not exist – you need to be  followed by a boatload of people, that much we have established, but how you go about this process is all about the context you are looking at it in. The secret though is to NOT THINK about it. It’s actually mind numbing stuff – and when I did attempt to go into the intricacies of who I did and did not follow – a little bit of brain leaked out of my nose. It could have been play-doh (don’t ask) but I’m pretty sure it was a section of frontal lobe…. anyway, the point is to get as many people following you as possible and not to worry about the details of whether they are targeted or not.

Wait, Define Targeted.

perceived value of twitter followers

Follower value: I think that's as clear as I can make it

Half the issue  is that the meaning of targeted, at least in relation to Twitter is really quite ambiguous – and the whole debate is clouded by a  million different perceptions of just what the heck a targeted follower actually is, so here’s my 2 cents.

The perceived value of targeted followers is just that…perceived. It does not have any real value.

Targeted followers do not exist. It’s a figment of some Affiliate Marketing Guru’s mind, kind of like the Duplicate Content Penalty, and was created solely to convince you to buy products that focused on ‘Finding Targeted Followers’ (surely the Duplicate Content Penalty myth was perpetuated by those selling article spinners – think about it).

TargetING followers. Now that exists, and is something I try to incorporate into my Twitter process – because it is not something I have to worry too much about. The process I follow to build my Twitter following (which I outlined last post) involves choosing someone in my niche and then following those who follow them. The nature of this process actually incorporates a huge degree of Twitter Targeting because clearly those who are following say @ViperChill are going to be interested in niche marketing, blogging and making money online. Perfect.  And that’s about as targeted as you will ever see me get.

Why not further define the followers?

The idea is to follow until I follow no more, and then unfollow those who do not follow me back. Since I am weeding out those who are not willing to return the Tweet’n love – over time this makes the minor details completely redundant. They certainly become irrelevant when you spend time filtering all those RT the most and follow them, only to go and unfollow them all a few days later. If someone is going to follow you back, they are going to follow you back – no amount of statistics is going to shed any light on whether this is or is not going to happen.

OK, so I filter a bit….

Although it’s not Targeted, I thought I would add that I do ask Tweepi to discount those that have not been active on Twitter for a while. Although the process would eventually weed them out anyway, I would rather not follow someone guaranteed not to return the favour. That’s just stupid, besides I’ve only got 500 more to follow before Twitter says stop!

I might lose my true followers amongst the gamut of ‘filler followers’ though!

Murray Lunn of Murlu.com raised a point in the comments of yesterday’s post about the loss of value that may be associated with mass following like this, at least I think that’s the gist of what he was stating when he said:

I would always try to stress that you don’t want to overload yourself else you may lose track of those that you truly follow

Although Murray raises a good point here, (and I can tell you first hand that the guy knows what he is talking about) I have to regretfully say ‘wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong’

It’s fair enough to assume that with each addition of ‘mass following’, the value of the existing ones must drop – and that is logical – but Twitter lives outside the bounds of logic – and it really, really, honestly is a numbers game. The more followers you have, the higher the (perceived) value placed on your Twitter account.

Fun Useless Tip: Go to tweetvalue.com to find out what you account is worth. Mine’s worth $2099! Yeah baby. I’m selling it for sure. Wait. to who? ummm….

Besides – As Steve Scott said in his epic post – and I totally agree, you really should not be reading Twitter. You should definitely pay attention to those talking directly to you or those that @mention you, but I can not see any value to be gained from scanning the stupidly large amount of Tweets that occur every second of every day – hash tag or no hash tag.
With this in mind – how can I possibly ‘lose track of those that truly follow me’ when they are always just an @ away.

SPAM is also made redundant because you simply unfollow anyone that is tweeting too much crap.

4 quick Twips to getting followed the old fashioned way

top twitter tools to build following

Even though this kind of contradicts the entire post, I thought it fitting to give you a couple of quick tips on how to build your following the old fashioned way – slowly, and yes – to a point targeted. (like I said – contradictory)

  • Make sure you register your account with as many Twitter Directories as possible – the more your account is visible, the more…ah you get it.
  • Optimise your Bio within each of these profiles to include as many keyphrases relating to your niche as possible. Be sure to cover as many Broad keywords as you do more targeted ones.
  • Use SocialOopmh to create an automatic thankyou message when someone follows you. Make this message something original and unique – or just witty. Stand out.
  • Tweet, ReTweet, Share and then ReTweet some more. If you want people to follow you, you need to actively be sharing good bloody content. Go out there: Find it and share it – a lot.
  • Don’t SPAM either!

What exactly are the benefits again?

Traffic is the ultimate reason for creating a large following, and the numbers don’t lie. The more followers I get to my Twitter account, the more traffic I get to my blog – simple as that.

The other reason, and I honestly think the more powerful one is Social Proof.

True story – My neighbour has asked me about what I do online and I mentioned that the easiest way to find out would be to check out my blog at my namesake.com.
The next day my neighbour approached me looking very impressed indeed. I thought he was going to talk about how awesome my content was (well, I hoped anyway) but the first thing that came out of his mouth is “You have more than 5000 people following you Alex, that is very impressive. You obviously know what you are doing”
In this case I DO know what I am doing, but the power of Social Proof is something you cannot compete with. It is the nature of human psychology to accept what we hear about someone, so long as it is not that person telling us. In this case my neighbour did not know what Twitter was and had no idea about anything that I was writing about on my blog – yet the next day he has found a new level of respect for me and the knowledge that I apparently have. Why? Because 5000 people cannot possibly be wrong – surely!

Think about all the ways you can leverage that!

  • What are your thoughts on Targeted followers?
  • Do you think it is worth investing the time in Twitter to build relationships as you might in the blogosphere?
  • Do you agree with the methodology I outline to build your followers?
  • Have you followed me yet?

{ 38 comments }

Patricia@lavenderuses September 27, 2010 at 8:54 PM

Wow lot to take in there Alex and yes I think by reading your posts you do know what you are doing. And yes I am following you on Twitter. Why? Cos I visited your site, liked what I saw and I am learning stuff as you write your posts.
I started on Twitter by following people in my niche but now I am interacting and following those in the blogging community who I am getting to know, those who visit my site regularly and others I feel I can learn from.
There are pros and cons for targetted followers as you have pointed out and my parameters for those I follow have changed as I have gotten to know other bloggers in different niches. As long as we are interacting and I am learning I’m happy with tweeting these people and following them on Twitter.
Patricia Perth Australia

Alex September 27, 2010 at 9:02 PM

Patricia,

Thanks so much for such an indepth and insightful comment! I definitely need to make sure I am following you on Twitter now (if I am not already) because you definitely look at value first. I think you are taking the right approach – and so long as you can use it as yet another platform to engage with others – then it can only be a good thing right?

Always a pleasure when you stop by Patricia – Lavender has a calming smell, don;t you think?
:)

Murlu September 27, 2010 at 9:57 PM

Hey Alex,

Thanks for bringing me in on this; it’s a relief to see an active discussion without everyone become Yes Men for everything I (even you) say because that’s the point of it all, right? To get a lively discussion where we can learn – not just for everyone to fall into agreement.

Anyway, I certainly see the benefits of a larger Twitter following because it does directly related to more traffic, higher (perceived) social proof and also creates a perpetual motion where people begin following you simply because of numbers.

I may not have been completely clear in my statement. I feel that if you become simply too overwhelmed you lose sight of those that have built you to where you are today. For example, you look at people that have 100k + followers while they follow a large portion back – how often can these people really say thank you to those that helped them get there in the first place, ya know?

In many ways, Twitter creates a false sense of inflation because it’s like anything else – you create an authority figure and people just fall in line – but then, that sounds like nearly everything we try to do in life, right? We try to manage our voice and talk to people that follow while simultaneously build a larger brand.

I think it’s just one of those things where you see far too many brands hold a great (underground) following until it hits mainstream and then the culture begins to waver. Look at how Starbucks is today – perfect example. So maybe it’s not so much an argument on followers as it is about how strong your culture is – oooh, this comment is getting deep haha.

Anyway, don’t want to create this wall of text. I agree on parts that there really isn’t a ‘targeted follower’ because people may love you based off one tweet and hate you with the next – you can’t really gauge that so you just have to go with the flow :)

Alex September 29, 2010 at 12:17 AM

Now that’s what I call Value Add Murray!!
Awesome man – and you raise a really good point by referencing the Starbucks example.
Mind you – there coffee was so shit, it suprised me that they managed to even get started. (ooooooh contentious)

Thiru September 27, 2010 at 10:19 PM

Hi Alex,

Thiru Here. This time, I gonna tell you that your concept on twitter and twitter followers is Awesome.

I love the image that you added top of your post. Really so cute, fabulous, adorable.

Thats it Alex.

Jeffrey Morgan September 27, 2010 at 11:28 PM

Hi Alex,
The Follower Value chart is classic, I mean that’s perfect. Kudo’s.

Over the last two posts you have promoted the fact that Twitter is a numbers game, indeed. However, it is also a Search Engine’s game.

Alex September 28, 2010 at 11:30 PM

Hahahahah Thanks Jeffrey – I knew you would appreciate that one somehow :)
Twitter may be a search engine game but since we can’t do much about that aspect – I’ll just stick to the numbers :)

Michael September 27, 2010 at 11:35 PM

So, in a nutshell, one should register their twitter account to as many directories as possible, targeted followers don’t exist, targeTING followers do, follow cool ppl/unfollow uncool ppl and your neighbour thinks your a gun.

Seriously though dude, this another mighty post and I for one am honoured to have come across your blog and your incredible knowledge on social media and keyword research :)

Thanks for sharing. I’ve learned a lot.

Michael

Alex September 27, 2010 at 11:56 PM

“So, in a nutshell, one should register their twitter account to as many directories as possible, targeted followers don’t exist, targeTING followers do, follow cool ppl/unfollow uncool ppl and your neighbour thinks your a gun.”

Hahahahaha BEST NUTSHELL EVER (insert image of comic book man)
Pretty much it mate – especially the neighbour thinking I’m a gun LOL OK maybe not that bit.

Thanks for the awesome kudos Michael -really glad you got some sense from this post, it;s cause it’s not raining isn’t it?
Or is it?

Really appreciate the feedback mate! Awesome

Ileane@Basic Blog Tips September 28, 2010 at 1:21 AM

Alex,

Our Twitter strategies are vastly different but one thing is similar – we both have one. Many people don’t have a strategy at all and you can tell by their tweets! I think that your strategy is fine (btw I am following you :) and more importantly, it seems to be working just the way you want and that’s my real take-away from your post.

I only have one question, and don’t take this the wrong way because I ask this question quite a bit. Why do you feel the need to unfollow someone just because they don’t follow you back? Maybe they just didn’t get a chance to, or better yet, they put you on a Twitter list so they’re still seeing your tweets (hopefully). With the large number of people that you are following, what’s the big deal?

I unfollow people when they tweet absolute crap or they consistently tweet things I’m totally not interested in. Call me old skool – but I do all of my following and unfollowing by hand ’cause that’s what works for me (Is it possible to be old skool on Twitter?).

Thanks for sharing your strategy, I hope you’re still following me!!!

Alex September 28, 2010 at 9:14 PM

hahahaha touche Ileane touche. Indeed we do both have one – and I think that is all that matters in the most part.
Your question is a good one and I definitely did not take it the wrong way at all – because my answer is quite simple.
Twitter only allows you to follow a certain proportion to those that follow you back. If I don’t unfollow then I have no ‘room’ to follow more people.
This constant cycle ensures that my Twitter account grows by at least 1000 a month, ongoing.
Of course I’m still following you Ileane :) Actually on that note – I still have lists that are all my real blog friends – so whether they follow me back or not – they are not culled ever.

Thanks for stopping by Ileane

Abhishek@seekersfind.com September 28, 2010 at 2:11 AM

Hi
This is great, can you tell me is their any free service which can remove twitter follower who hasn’t follow us???

Thanks For Sharing Great Post
All Points Are Valuable
Abhishek

Alex September 28, 2010 at 9:10 PM

Abhishek,

Tweepi will do that for you too mate.
Simple go to Tweepi and choose the ‘FLUSH’ option and it will bring up all those you follow that do not follow you back.
Enjoy :)

Steve@Lifestyle Design September 28, 2010 at 3:32 AM

Share the Yeti’s twitter address in an @. I hear Yeti’s retweet a lot. Anyhoo, classic post. Thanks a bunch for the great mention. I do not actually have too much to say, because I agree with you and use the same method.

I do think for those that really use Twitter as a social tool, it might not work for them, but if it is a business tool with social aspects this system is the way to go. I can also see the point Murlu made about the difficulties of responding to @’s well enough when you have 100k followers. It is like commenting when you have 200+ comments per post. IT could potential take on a life of its own and the only way to deal is to ignore commenting or @ responses on anything but the best…so some quality is lost.

Honestly though, whether 100k twitter followers or 200 comments per post, I think I can deal with the “downside”

Alex September 28, 2010 at 9:09 PM

Lol Hey Steve!
Last I heard the Yeti was @intelligentgovt or it might have been @peacefulchildren I can’t remember which. :)

The more I read about the finite tactics of Twitter the more I realise that this is definitely the tact I want to take. I cant see the ROI of spending hours tracking and building inidividual relationships through that channel
THanks for stopping by Steve, and it was my pleasure (again) to share that awesome post

Moon Hussain September 28, 2010 at 6:18 AM

Alex, that was a lot of info there and I think my brain just took a dump taking it all in lol. Just kidding…. I’m letting someone else handle my Twitter (following/unfollowing; the tweets are my own!) I should hit a 1000 within a month, I think. First small milestone.

Alex September 28, 2010 at 8:31 PM

Moon!

Nice. I am actually just starting to look at outsourcing my following and unfollowing too.
Might skype you to get the details :)

pete September 28, 2010 at 9:43 AM

G’day Alex

Thats quite a bit of information in this post mate. I kind of get the idea of numbers and social proof with regards to number etc (as shallow as it is) and whilst the benefits aren’t tangible if you have large enough numbers of anything you will get the odd valuable visitor.

Theres something in me that dislikes ‘large volumes of low quality’ which is what Twitter is, jsut as in a personal email list that very few people open your emails but given that Twitter has low overheads I suppose it doesn’t matter.

I’ll be back to read this post again if and when I decide to look at Tweeting again

Rgds
Pete

Alex September 28, 2010 at 8:29 PM

Hey Pete,

I completely see your point and I have to admit that I kind of agree to a a point. Then I look at my stats and the numbers sway me every time :)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts mate – awesome as always

Daniel Sharkov@Blogging Tips September 29, 2010 at 6:14 AM

Hey Alex, How’s it going? :)

I read the article from beginning to end and have to say that I pretty much agree on all of the points you have covered there. After thinking about it a minute or two, I came to your conclusion that such thing as targeted followers just doesn’t exist, or at least not in the form people think of.

Although the term is a bit inappropriate, I believe that following each and every person you get to find is not the best strategy as well. It is just that a big portion of Twitter’s users are there to blatantly advertise their (or affiliate marketing maybe) products so even if they follow you back, they’ll never click a link of yours (or even care to take a look at your tweets for that matter). On the other hand spending hours and hours on detailed research to find the “perfect” followers is out of the question as well. So I for example am trying to go for the medium – I’m just reading a twiterer’s last tweet and the date of his last tweet (no one needs inactive users for obvious reasons). Not time consuming and it works well.

Still there is no doubt that more followers equals more views. Let’s say that there are two guys using Twitter – the one has just 400, but “highly targeted” followers and the second ’round 10 000 not-that-targeted followers. In such situation many would say that the first folk will achieve better results, but in my opinion the bitter truth is exactly the opposite (not always of course, there are always exceptions). Sheer numbers are going to win the game in such a case.

I got a bit carried away this time ha-ha. Sorry for that, hope I have not made it too confusing to read. :)

Alex September 29, 2010 at 7:26 PM

hahah not at all man!
In fact that was abloody awesome comment and a perfect end to the post actually! Really good points Daniel

Brilliant.

Sandra Leeq September 29, 2010 at 9:58 AM

Alex, This gave me a lot to think about. I always wonder if approaches like this that work well in the blogging niche really work equally as well in another niche like personal development or health. Sorry if that is a silly question.

Alex September 29, 2010 at 7:24 PM

Hey Sandra,

I assume by blogging you mean ‘make money blogging’ niche – because technically ALL niche’s are blogging niche’s :)
I think it definitely works in all cases. Twitter is a numbers game – regardless of the niche or reason for being there in the first place.

Adam Paudyal September 29, 2010 at 12:07 PM

Hey Alex,

I have been in your blog numerous times and really enjoy the discussion that goes in here.

I couldn’t agree with you more about the targeted twitter followers. It is true that twitter is all about the numbers game as targeted twitter followers do not exist.

Very neat idea you have mentioned here about targeting followers in a niche. I haven’t used Tweepi or socialOopmh. Seems like I need to try them both…And yes I am following you…

You have a good day Alex…

Alex September 29, 2010 at 7:19 PM

Hey Adam,

Even I have to admit that the readers here bring some awesome discussion to the table quite often – thanks for noticing man!
I think when you combine the simplicity of Tweepi with the welcoming power of Social Oomph – you have a good combination.

Enjoy man, and thanks for stopping by :)

Matthew Needham September 29, 2010 at 8:43 PM

Hey Alex, another great post! I’ve just looked at Google Analytics and Twitter is my 4th biggest generator of traffic and that’s with just 2,000 followers. So, I’m missing a trick. I really need to grow this number significantly.

That’s a real source of inspiration or a kick in the a**.

Your point about social proof (whether Twitter or Facebook Fans) the more people that fan/friend you then clearly the more valuable your content. Makes sense.

Alex September 30, 2010 at 10:23 AM

Hey Matthew,

Yeah that’s what got me fired up in the first place. I looked at how much Traffic Twitter was generating and I just had to get some more of that!

Dan Lew October 1, 2010 at 1:04 AM

Great post,

I think when you define the people you are following it becomes easier on tracking who is doing what and when, but when you follow a broad list, its like being in a jungle moving the branches out of the way as your walking, very difficult stuff!

Alex October 3, 2010 at 1:08 AM

I agree, but in the case of who follows you, I think it all comes to numbers in the end – that’s just how I see it anyway.
Thanks for stopping by Dan, always a pleasure to hear your take on things :)

Sathish @ TechieMania October 5, 2010 at 5:51 PM

Well, I haven’t seen any benefits from targeted followers. I am Twitter followers service provider and I am getting lots of orders for getting twitter followers for their accounts. Only few of them are asking for targeted followers, which means the rest of the people don’t care about whether their followers are niche based or not. IMO, Targeted followers would be good if you are doing affiliate marketing but if you just having a blog which will provide information to all the online users, then you don’t need to worry about targeted followers.

Alex October 6, 2010 at 10:38 PM

Hey Sathish,

Interesting.
What service do you provide? tell me more my friend.

Mark Bell October 7, 2010 at 8:57 PM

I agree with Murray, that Twitter counts can give a false sense of following. I use Twitter as free advertising for my blog. Whilst the number may be over inflated, it’s still gaining my blog exposure. I guess the key to having a mass of followers, is that one day, one title on your blog, will capture a few different people. It’s passive reader development more than anything.

Alex October 9, 2010 at 9:33 PM

You said it spot on there Mark – every day a new headline will capture new people.
As for the follower count thing – I have never seen mine overinflated – if anything it is always slow to catch up to the real figure (which is alwayws higher :) )

Bryan October 12, 2010 at 11:59 PM

Haha Alex, I’ve finally tracked down where the Yeti post came from! Been seeing quite a few ppl quoting something about “Yeti following me on twitter….”

But truly besides being a really catchy title, I think you’ve made a very good point about targeted followers. Seems like your point about finding ppl in your niche and follow them on Twitter is a much more targeted way of getting targeted followers and vice versa. I think the percentage of ppl mentioning you/retweeting your tweets is far less than your followers and if you could get more ppl to tweet/retweet your stuff you’re much better off than having 2000 followers with no retweets at all. I’m trying to post more valuable content and see if that makes a difference to the retweets.

Great post there Alex, will quote you esp regarding the perception of targeted followers.

Edmund@Affiliate Marketing Secrets November 16, 2010 at 12:48 AM

Hi Alex,

Targeted followers seems like a good idea. :) Ultimately, I still feel that adding value to people regardless of whether they are potential clients or not is still most important.

AstroGremlin@superheros September 20, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Joined Twitter because I have a blog, and still getting the hang of it. So few words, so little time. Here’s one: “Your first 5,000 followers are the hardest.” Great post — the math is indisputable, even if exaggerated for hyperbole’s sake.

Shweta September 28, 2011 at 7:33 PM

Hi Alexa..
Awesome article…….
Although I am not a great fan of twitter……. but will definitely follow ur article..

add_followers October 25, 2011 at 2:34 AM

I think the best way of living out of twitter is definitely finding targeted twitter followers… Keyword targeted twitter followers are the inversion for your blog, services or business,, period.. thanks for the blog..By the way Sponsored Tweets is a great way to capitalize your twitter account too..

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