This post was originally published on the WebMarketCentral blog in December 2009.
There are a lot of great b2b marketers and social media contributors worth following on Twitter, like Ardath Albee, Mark Schaefer, Eric Fletcher, Jennifer Kane and Rob Rose to name just a few. These are people who definitely do not suck at Twitter. They are intelligent, discerning, helpful and social. All have respectable, even impressive, but not gargantuan numbers of followers.
But there is a different group of tweeters out there as well, a group whose members often have immense numbers of followers, though they seem to add little value, socially or intellectually. Yet these individuals often have immense numbers of followers—20,00, 30,00, even 50,ooo or more. They aren’t celebrities. How do they do it? After careful observation and analysis of the practices of these twerks, here are some of the secrets of those who suck at Twitter, yet appear highly successful.
Never use your real name. It’s boring (plus it makes it too easy for the feds to track you down). Incorporate your spammy promise into your name, using something like @BigMoneyOnline. You can even cleverly insert special characters to create a handle like @WebCa$hMachine.
Leave it blank. Just because this is social media doesn’t mean you have actually share anything about yourself. Besides, leaving your bio blank adds an air of mystery!
If you feel compelled to put something there, make it as spammy and sales-y as possible. Here’s an example of an actual bio, only slightly retouched to protect the identity:
MLM, Internet Marketing, Cashflow, Twitter Automation. Just click the link above! = 40,000+ followers
(Are you barfing yet?)
Point your link to an obnoxious “buy now” page. Make sure it is filled with lots of CAPITAL LETTERS and exclamation points!!! Be sure to include terms like “exclusive,” “limited time offer,” “secret,” and “free bonuses.” Hit your visitors hard. Remember, your goal is to convince the gullible that they can have better health, lose weight, or best of all, make big money working from home, without any real effort on their part.
Don’t use your real face (again, makes it too easy for the authorities). The default Twitter bird is always a safe choice. Or, get creative and reflect the junk you’re trying to sell: use dollar signs, a sexy man/woman photo, or a cleavage shot.
Another tactic is to keep people guessing; if your “real” name is John, use a female photo, and use a male underwear model if it’s something like “Christine.”
Again, make sure this sells your “promise.” Popular options include piles of cash, skinny models, fancy cars, yachts, or a photo of someone who looks kind of like you standing in front of some one else’s mansion.
Okay, that covers all of the header and background considerations, so let’s see how that all works together. Here’s an actual example from someone who sucks at Twitter, with only identifying information obscured:
Note the complete lack of a web link or bio and the use of the default Twitter background and avatar. Yet with only 3 tweets (all of which were sales pitches with a link back to the account owner’s spammy website), this person has almost 50,000 followers! How do they do it? Two more areas to get right:
Hey, just because they call it “social” media doesn’t mean you have to actually interact with anyone, right? Use a tool like SocialOomph to create automated tweets, so you don’t have to actually read what all those other boring people are tweeting. Create an automated message to welcome new followers, because after all, people love getting spammy, untargeted, impersonal DMs. Make it blatantly self-promotional, somelike “Thanks for following. I’d love to help you! Buy my crap at [link].”
There are also automated tools to help you find new followers. They randomly follow a whole bunch of the people, then as soon as those folks follow you back, the tools automatically unfollow them and start over with a new group. Sure, you’ll pick mostly spam bots and low-activity accounts, but you’re bound to catch a few suckers in there as well! Especially with your impressively large number of followers.
Finally, there are your tweets themselves. There are several possible strategies here. One is to tweet nothing at all—remain mysterious! But that won’t help you sell your garbage, so a second, better approach is to tweet the same spammy sales message over and over.
Note how this account combines several of the recommendations above. The default background and avatar are used, there’s no bio or link, the tweets are no more than broadcast sales messages, and, as the tweet times indicate, the tweets are automated:
A final tweet strategy is to mix slight variations of your pushy sales message with banal, tired and trite quotes from people like Zig Ziglar and Albert Einstein. I see this approach employed quite frequently. Is there a website out there somewhere, maybe called cheesyquotes.com, that collects these for people?
Whatever you do, don’t engage in conversations. That’s time wasted that could be spent fleecing the ignorant! And don’t ever retweet anything; who cares what other people have to say? If you absolutely must interact, make sure you tweets are absolutely worthless to anyone other than the recipient, such as “@imafool2 LOL! ROTFL!!” or “@takemycash Oh sure. Not!” And if you feel compelled to occasionally pass another’s tweet along, retweet only links that point back to your spammy sales site.
There you have it. Follow this guidance and you too can abuse the entire concept of social media, annoy others, build up a huge following despite the complete lack of value you provide, and no doubt, make big money working from home.