I spend a couple of hours each day on Twitter, tweetering for clients and for myself. Part of my job is to check new Twitter followers, figure out if they’re legitimate and relevant to a particular client, and decide whether to follow them back or not (or, if they’re spammers, whether I should block them and report them).
One type of business account that I always find interesting is when a business creates a Twitter account, tweets a single tweets that says something like “our store is so awesome” or even just lists their URL, and then follow 2000 people.
Essentially, these businesses are viewing Twitter just as they would view an email blast – you blast 2000 people (I’m sure they would follow more if the software had allowed them to) with your link, in a marketing campaign that will have an extremely low response rate – but then, you haven’t really invested much in that campaign either.
It’s an interesting approach, but not one that I would personally recommend. More than anything, it shows a complete lack of understanding of the nature of social media. Social media is the exact opposite of an email blast. Social media is the painfully slow process of reaching out to prospects and having real, authentic conversations with them. Of establishing credibility through showing your expertise and your willingness to be helpful – even if your prospects don’t buy a thing, for now.
Using Twitter as an email blast tool is an option of course – it’s quick and cheap – but it’s also a waste of time. If you’re going to use Twitter at all, use it properly – as a powerful networking tool.