marketing and sales executives from Silicon Valley

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Random Twitter Followers - Good or Bad?

I recently saw a linkedin in question about Twitter followers. The asker was creeped out about the number of Twitter followers with sexy pictures of women who were suddenly following him, and he wanted to know what to do.

The sexy user picture for Twitter is a tried and true social media marketing technique that proved itself on Friendster, YouTube, Orkut, Myspace and more. It turns out that people tend to click on pictures of a attractive women. The problem is so prevalent, that YouTube now demotes videos that show cleavage.

Usability expert Jakob Nielsen wrote about banner blindness and indicated that plain text, faces and cleavage (or other private body parts) were the three design elements most effective at attracting eyeballs. It turns out that the same effect that Nielsen discussed was used successfully at YouTube and has been reliably used on other social networks, namely Myspace, and now Twitter.

For the user who was worried about sexy women following him on Twitter,my recommendation is: don't waste time worrying. The good thing about Twitter is that you don't need to follow someone back who follows you. The users with sexy pictures are likely male marketers, or even just one marketer, working for a business trying to build a listener base to send marketing messages to in the future. Why does he follow so many people?

The notion is simple. Follow as many people as possible, and some % will follow you back. So for demonstration sakes, for every 1000 people he follows, 100 may follow him back. If he follows 10000, he could get 1000 followers. In that process 200 people may have clicked his profile image and seen/read his Twitter profile and been exposed to his marketing message (2% click through rate). After amassing 1000 friends, he may send out 1 or more advertisements. Let's say he sends 10. That 10 advertisements to 1000 people, or 10,000 impression. Not bad if he's using an automated follow tool that autofollows Twitter users.

Apply your own basic math, and you can see that using Twitter in this manner provides an advertising and marketing vehicle for marketers to reach this growing user base.

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