The Uncomfortable Truth about Twitter Autofollowing: It Works
The number of real Twitter followers you have matters. And using borderline-spammy techniques to get those followers works too.
I run a blog called Amorphous Blog, which has a Twitter account at @amorphousblog. I spend quite a lot of time researching and writing posts for the blog (often hours at a time), so at the end of May when it was getting 20 or so visits a day, it didn’t really feel worth the effort.
That’s when I decided to start auto-following the followers of other relevant Twitter accounts (I think I chose infoviz type accounts). At the end of each day, it would unfollow anyone who hadn’t followed it back, so that it could follow some new people the next day (it was following about 100-200 people a day).
Before I started, it had about 15 followers. It now has over 800 – hopefully relevant – followers. And, as you can see from the stats above, it seems fairly convincing. The frequency of posts has remained constant (about once a week), but the additional reach of the Twitter announcement seems to bring the short-term traffic in. Sure, it hasn’t really impacted the baseline visitor number, but at least now when I publish a post that’s taken me half a day, I feel like some people actually get to see it.
Caveat: I believe this only works if you can find Twitter accounts whose followers you think would be genuinely interested in your blog if they’d stumbled across it themselves anyway. I’ve convinced myself that I’m actually doing them a favour!