Ever try something on Twitter and then want to punch yourself in the face for being so stupid? Well this post will save you from just that when it comes to one foolish tactic making the rounds: favoriting tweets to encourage follows.
This practice doesn’t rise to the level of spambot, but it’s close. So close, in fact, that Twitter will suspend your account if you get caught doing it (as someone we know did). Cough, cough.
There are some great new third-party apps out there that use favoriting tweets as a strategy to encourage new folks to follow you. It’s supposed to work pretty spectacularly, or so we heard. But then we tried it.
Here’s how it works:
- You set up key words or phrases that you want the app to search for. When it comes across folks tweeting those keywords, the app automatically “favorites” their tweet for you.
- The person whose tweet has been favorited receives a notification from Twitter and feels flattered, and naturally wonders who this superfan could be. So they click on your profile, read a bit about you and decide to follow you because they realize you MUST be awesome.
And here’s how it can go wrong:
If your keywords aren’t specific enough, the bot . . . erm, app will favorite LOTS of tweets. Think hundreds in a matter of days. That’s bad. And it gets worse.
The tweets it favorites might not be ones you’d want potential clients to see when they visit and (potentially) explore that portion of your profile. Say for example, you set it to search for the word “ghost” in hopes of coming across folks seeking ghostwriting/posting/etc assistance, you might find yourself favoriting something like this:
Or maybe you were looking for folks “new to Twitter” so you could advise them:
And yes, the tweets it favorites for you show up in your “favorites” list now and forever, sticking with you like a bad marriage that won’t die, until you individually – and laboriously – go to said list and “unfavorite” every. single. tweet. (Plan to spend at least an hour for every day you let this little nightmare “help” your account.)
Oh and the coup de gras? You’ll likely find out about this ‘favoriting gone wild’ AFTER your account gets suspended. Why would it get suspended? Twitter views it as an unsolicited @mention:
This account was suspended for sending multiple unsolicited messages using the @reply and/or mention feature. These features are intended to make communication between people on Twitter easier. Twitter monitors the use of these features to make sure they are used as intended and not for abuse. Using either feature to post messages to a bunch of users in an unsolicited or egregious manner is considered an abuse of its use, which results in account suspension.
For more information about these features, please visit our @Replies and Mentions help page:
So, take our advice and avoid this practice – or be very, VERY careful if you use it.
(Image from Shutterstock)