If I were to bet money on the most effective social media tool, I will certainly choose Twitter. At least on the short and medium term. There’s a Pinterest frenzy out there, some even compare it with Twitter in terms of traffic. That’s, for now, a crazy thing to say.  They’re light years between them.  A look into someone’s Google Analytics will be disappointing. On average, Twitter brings at least 10 times more traffic.

But how can you squeeze everything you can from Twitter?  In the past three months, I’ve seen a strategy that’s used by many, so I began to analyze it.

Follow & expecting to be followed

Some people follow you and expect you to return the favour. If you don’t, they will unfollow you. What’s the rationale behind this? Well, some collect followers in order to sell tweets (e.g. usually if you have 5000 followers you can get 10-20$ for each tweet), while others want followers because they’re narcissist. These are the two main purposes.

How to detect them?

Those who use this strategy have almost an equal number between following and followers.  N.B. I’m talking here about people who usually have at least 300-400. If you look at their followers’ profile you would remark that most of them pursue the same strategy. For them, this is a vicious circle. The problem here is that if you have only followers that follow you, so that they can get more followers, that means that you have an empty or a puppet audience. It’s like talking with the walls. You’re going to here only your echo!

Does it work?

Most of the guys think that if they have, let’s say 5000-10000 followers, this means that automatically they will bring a lot of traffic for them or for those guys that they RT.  This never  happens. I assure that my 450 followers will beat any time any user who has 5000-10000.

Let’s insert some screenshots here that will demonstrate what I have already told you:









Unfortunately, this is the general pattern. I can give you 100 screenshots if you like. First of all, look at the RTs! They’ve all been given by people who have almost the same numbers between following and followers. Second, they all follow each other.

Now, if you count their total followers you will get a stunning number! Approximately 30.000! You would probably say “Man, that must have given you a lot of traffic! At least 500-1000 unique visitors!” Well, actually only 9 people looked at that article, the WHOLE day!  And if you look at it, it had (after I subsequently promoted it) a lot of success. (click here for the article and see the stats on the left).




If you’re thinking of pursuing the same strategy, think twice. Not only it doesn’t bring you value or traffic, but it will get you into a vicious circle, and you’ll end up with an empty audience. You can instead focus on promoting yourself, creating content, be friendly and create loyalty among your followers.

For those of you who want to buy tweets, a reliable measure is this. Those who have let’s say 5000 followers, should have no more than 100 people that they follow. If you would like an example, check Harvard Business Review, New York Times or other big name. For the design world, Smashing Magazine has 577 following and 546 317 followers.


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