Twitter subscription spam


Personally I've no idea about how to use twitter for marketing other than opening a twitter account and posting links about our product.

Today I was looking one of our competitors account there were many followers, 5 times more than us, although we are new so its quite normal.

I had an idea and I'm sure couple of million people already thought about this before.

Basically, Would it be a wrong move to start following all of competitors' followers? Does it sound like spamming or against twitter-etiquette? Or is it just useless?

Because I think it's kind of free and very well targeted marketing and I don't think it looks like spamming, but as I said I don't know anything about twitter.

UPDATE I've done a bit research and apparently there is something called "follow spam" and it's against twitter terms so I won't do it.

Marketing Twitter

asked Jan 13 '10 at 09:41
The Dictator
2,305 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

4 Answers


I think anything is fair game, but consider what it is you are trying to accomplish. And have an answer to "Why do this?". To what end? What is the goal?

Life is too short and you can waste hundreds of hours trying to follow everyone - or be heard.

I would recommend backing into it this way...

What is the end goal? If your end goal is to be noticed by everyone that follows your competition then yes, this might make sense. But that's only one part of the issue. Once you have their attention, what is it you are going to do with it? Will the attention they give you be time well spent? Are they going to come away from the experience better for it? Will it help them to see you are better or smarter or more interesting or a better value than the others?

Because the downside of getting everyone's attention is that you might actually get it. Then what? This is where I would start.

What is the end goal? Are you trying to acquire new members? Sell more product? Create good buzz? Educate?

Let's assume you are going to reach into your competitors twitter audience and draw their interest toward your own. And let's also assume you are trying to sell your product (vs. only generating buzz). Then you might want to understand what the value-add of purchasing your product is. I might also research my competitions customers (and my own) to understand buying behavior. Specifically, what is it about the product that people like. Why do they buy this product category at all? Where in the product market are they putting there money?

Then, I would spend much of my efforts in Twitter speaking to that conversation. Your conversation would be about soft-sell persuasion. Not hard selling (because that won't work in this format) but about explaining how you know more, how your product solves some issue better, cheaper, more effectively with less effort for the customer. I would talk about service, features, the market, get granular - and be the expert in the field. Focus in, be open, sincere, and allow the audience to relate by allowing them to follow along - but then offering a more involved relationship (should they want it). Not just pushing them a product brochure PDF but instead, offering a format that offers pre-sale support to answer questions etc. Drawing them in.

In your conversation (on Twitter) I would have my market / product terms (primary and secondary) listed and use in the body text and subject headings because people are using systems like TweetDeck to set text / content alerts. This will help people filter/sift your content and it will help you.

Tie it all together...

Ask why you want to draw away an audience and then build a conversation that supports your business goal.

If you don't have the focus / goal you will do this and not have a clear path forward, miss the mark (because there isn't one) and you might not only look bad to a new audience, but you might waste lot's of time as well.

hope that helps.

answered Jan 13 '10 at 11:02
Christopher Mengel
89 points
  • We got a product, we believe that it's awesome, since we are new all we need is more marketing therefore if I can get attention one more person that will be enough. – The Dictator 14 years ago
  • +1 on strategy. One can learn a lot from those who follow a competitor, but unless you have a goal in mind it can be a tremendous time sink. – Jim Galley 14 years ago



It's only useful if they start following you isn't it?

answered Jan 13 '10 at 09:52
Thom Pete
1,296 points
  • To add some actionable advice to ThomPete's excellent point, you should really look at creating a content strategy for your twitter account, and implementing it before you follow people. People don't want to follow an account that's only self-promoting links all the time. – Jay Neely 14 years ago


A small percentage of targetted people would follow you back or check out your stream.

As a gray hat technique, it might get a you a few targetted followers.

I personally wouldn't bother, but YMMV.

answered Jan 13 '10 at 10:57
Benjamin Wootton
1,667 points


Gartner did a study on business uses of Twi tter recently. Might be helpful.

answered Jan 15 '10 at 02:10
Neil La Chapelle
51 points

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