The concept of "mass following" is not foreign to the frequent Twitter user. The theory is straightforward and simple: follow everyone you can in hopes that they follow you back. But does it work?
Myths about mass following
Following more people will gain you more followers. This is both true and false at the same. Naive Twitter users are prone to following everyone that follows them. Also, spam companies on Twitter who are promoting certain products follow everyone that follows them in hopes that a few people will buy their product. However, once these naive Twitter users become more educated, they will see through your mass following tactics and de-follow you. Also, spam companies will not follow you for more than a week if you do not buy their product (and sometimes if you do). So, the followers that you initially gained will no longer be following you anymore.
- It works to follow someone and de-follow them after they start following you in return. False. People are not stupid. Unless you are following people with thousands of followers who won't notice losing a decrease in their numbers (if you can even get them to follow you in the first place), people will notice when you stop following them. Plus, on your profile, it tells the person whether or not you are following them. In a similar case to the first myth, the followers you gain will de-follow you eventually.
Why you shouldn't mass follow on Twitter (and why you don't even need it!)
Mass following looks desperate. You really don't want to follow more than 20% of the followers that follow you. For example, if 100 people follow you, don't follow more than 120 people or else you look desperate. Also, whittle down the list of people you follow occasionally. If you feel like you haven't seen somebody's activity in awhile, or could care less what they would tweet about, de-follow them. Twitter is not a long-term commitment, but a following of the hot trends. If people don't keep up, they get left behind.
The quality of followers is greater than the quantity. The point of Twitter is for (1) self-promotion, (2) brand-promotion, (3) making money, and (4) increasing traffic. It is better to have 200 followers that follow your links religiously than 2,000 followers who don't even give your profile a second look. You will get more traffic and have a better reputation through quality followers, rather than too many low-value followers.
- If you are using Twitter for marketing, you aren't using your resources effectively if you spend your time mass following. Unless you are using Twitter to gain followers for your own ego, you are using Twitter for brand building. This brand could be your personal or professional brand--you want to represent yourself as best as you can. Follow popular trends and tweet interesting things about them occasionally linking back to your website. This way people will follow you based on what you have to say--not simply jumping on the bandwagon of you following them. Present yourself on Twitter the way you want people to perceive you.
Remember to always engage your followers. Twitter profiles appeal to specific niches--so find your niche. Don't try to appeal to everyone, and only follow people that YOU want to follow. Nothing is hidden on the Internet!