Collecting followers is so last decade. It is easy to make arguments against simply trying to build up your following count and the tactics that are often used:
- Purchased followers aren’t real. Fake follower sites can reportedly tell if you followers are real or fakes and fakes are a sign that you have been buying followers.
- Mass following is frowned on by Twitter and if carefully managed, your follower ratio eventually makes you look like a spammer.
- A smaller group of followers genuinely interested in you and paying attention to what you share is far powerful.
But what if there was a way to get more followers without paying to promote your account through Twitter, hurting your follower ratio or filling your stream with an excessive number of tweets?
Apparently, then its different. Practice what you preach, until you find a way to practice in secret. Or at least that’s the approach of these B2B marketers.
Twitter Favorite Spam
So how do you get followers without any negative consequences? It’s simple. Just start favoriting Tweets. Every time you favorite a Tweet, it shows up in someone’s interaction stream, but it isn’t immediately visible in your account.
Repeatedly favoriting Tweets from an individual over time is enough to get them to notice your account and follow you, or so the spammer’s theory goes. And because individual Tweets are favorited, it is natural to favorite multiple Tweets from the same account.
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But as you can see below, it can end up reflecting poorly on you in multiple ways.
The Dirty Dozen: Twitter’s B2B Marketing Spammers
Here are a dozen of the B2B marketing accounts I identified using Twitter favorites as a spam tactic to increase followers. Many of these accounts were identified by simply reviewing recent favorites of my tweets. My colleague Tom Bacon also contributed a number of examples.
Accounts are listed from lowest to highest favorite frequency along with their Twitter bio. In some cases I’ve included screenshots of favorites to make some of the implications of favorite spam easier to see.
Clients of the marketers are also included in some cases to help show these at least appear to be legitimate and serious businesses. With one possible exception (#5), they do not fit the profile of a stereotypical spammer.
12. @Reachforce. 117 favorites per day.
Improve demand generation, speed leads to revenue with data quality and enrichment solutions for B2B marketing, integrated with Eloqua, Marketo & Salesforce.
Reachforce was the first B2B marketer I noticed using favorite spam and I’m clearly a target for their program. Here is a screenshot showing 11 favorites of Tweets that include my account in just 5 hours, mostly Tweets of the same piece of content.
Reachforce does not look like your typical spamming, fly-by-night operation. Their website lists Marketo, Webtrends, Citrix and Rackspace as clients.
11. @60dayMBA. 139 favorites per day.
Yes, you can start your own business. Online training by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.
@60dayMBA’s account provides a great example of what you see in the favorites of accounts using favorite spam: repeated favorites of similar and apparently low-quality tweets, likely triggered just by keyword searches.
10. @YeslerB2B. 166 favorites per day.
Yesler is a B2B marketing agency from @Projectline that helps technology companies deliver predictable revenues, sustainable growth, and measurable results.
I was surprised to find an agency using this spam tactic, let alone an agency that lists a number of big names in technology on their website, including SAP, Microsoft, EMC, Intel and T-Mobile.
Like most companies using favorite spam, a quick scroll through the favorites makes it clear a person isn’t behind the system. Here are two back-to-back Tweets that were favorited, the images had to be clipped just to keep the article family friendly.
It is worth noting that Yesler stopped their program since the first round of data was gathered, but the favorites are still visible on their profile.
9. @lattice_engines. 174 favorites per day.
Lattice delivers data-driven business applications that help companies market and sell more intelligently. Managed by @AmandaMaks.
Lattice Engines has become a recognized name in B2B marketing circles and works with a number of big names in B2B marketing, including Dell, NetApp, Kronos, CA, Adobe, Bank of America and more.
I noticed Lattice Engines’ behavior a few weeks ago when they favorited at least 6 different tweets linking to a single post of mine. Each one pushed a notification to my stream and to my phone. That experience made it clear just how much this behavior can hurt perception among the very people you are targeting.
8. @volumeint. 183 favorites per day.
Big data analytics company. The size of your data is less important than the answers found.
7. @poptip. 201 favorites per day.
Many voices. Clear direction.
The headline on the Poptip website is “understand social conversation & act faster,” which says a little bit more than the Twitter bio. Their client list includes NBA, NFL, ESPN, Budweiser and ESPN.
6. @unitaglive. 215 favorites per day.
Mobile Web & #QRCode – Connect to the world.
Unitag gives businesses a way to customize QR codes with your own embedded branding and design elements. Their client list includes Spotify, Michelin and global agencies Havas and Publicis.
5. @Buzzforksocial. 339 favorites per day (or a favorite every 4 minutes and 15 seconds, 24 hours a day).
@BuzzFork generates leads, customers and social engagement for brands, agencies and individuals on @Twitter and Vine.
It appears that Buzzfork is using their own software on their account. Credit for eating your own dogfood at least, although their FAQ just flags what their software doesn’t do (Tweet from your account or follow users).
4. @inferfocus. 370 favorites per day.
We Help You Make Sense of a Changing World | Identification of opportunities and risks before they are well recognized
3. @contenthackers. 587 favorites per day (that’s less than 2.5 minutes between favorites on average, all day long).
The Content Marketing Update is a weekly email with the latest in content marketing news and articles.
The account is linked to a content marketing initiative from the makers of CoSchedule, an application for editorial calendaring.
2. @cooperatize. 603 favorites per day.
Content marketing platform for brands | We specialize in native advertising and content creation | PR 2.0 Meetup Organizer in NYC | #PR #contentmarketing
Another provider in the content marketing space turning to favorite spam to gain followers.
1. @priceintel. Another favorite every minute and 50 seconds, 24 hours a day (that’s 785 per day)
We’re a #tech company in #Boston focused on #pricing. Our goal is to help companies stop guessing about prices and leaving revenue on the table.
Clients include Wistia, Litmus and Compete.
Favorite spam is surprisingly prevalent, despite the fact that it is far more obnoxious to the targets than churning followers or even excessive engagement.
This list only includes companies or organizations that appear to be marketing to professionals. However, in the course of reviewing favorites on my personal account, I quickly found numerous other examples, including a very active social media professional with more than 100,000 followers and multiple CEO’s or company founders, using the same approach.
I was surprised by many of the examples I found, but how do you feel about it? Is this appropriate in the wild west of social media? Let me know what you think of companies that use favorite spam on Twitter in the comments below, or on Twitter (@wittlake).