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Should You Use Auto Follow on Twitter?

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It may be tempting to use Twitter auto follow services when you are new and have only a few followers on the microblogging service.

But no matter how unloved you might feel as a newbie, it's generally not a good idea to resort to Twitter auto follow tools, especially when you're not familiar with how they work or the ins and outs of Twitter itself.

What is Auto Follow on Twitter?

Twitter auto follow services are typically third-party applications that use software automation to identify other Twitter users who might match your interests and then automatically follow them for you.

SocialOomph, for example, has filters that will let you guide the automation program by telling it what kind of people you'd like to follow. Lots of other tools do the same thing, and then will automatically follow users who match your filter. The theory is many of these people will follow you in return.

Twitter auto follow tools are attractive, especially to marketers, because they typically can expand your Twitter following very quickly.

But it's important to keep in mind that Twitter frowns on the use of most auto follow tools except those that automatically follow back everyone who follows you, which is actually encouraged by some Twitter experts. Twitter's rules explicitly prohibit automatically following hundreds of people with the hope that many of them will follow you in return, which is the typical strategy pursued by popular Twitter auto follow tools And Twitter may even suspend your account if you aggressively "unfollow" too many people.

There also are other considerations to think about besides the risk of violating Twitter's policies.

Perhaps the most important reason to avoid Twitter auto follow systems is that they don't really improve your Twitter experience.

Auto follow tools on Twitter are designed to boost the volume of your followers regardless of who those people are and what they are tweeting about. The tools are not designed to improve the quality or relevance of your Twitter following.

Twitter is Not a Numbers Game

It's important to remember volume isn't really the main point on Twitter, which is not a numbers game. Yes, the number of followers is often used as a measure of popularity on Twitter, but equally important is how engaged and active those followers are.

Think about it. What good are "followers" if they pay no attention to you and your tweets? Twitter is about conversation and discussion. Followers who don't read your tweets or interact with you are of little or no value to you. They'll do zilch to improve your Twitter experience. They may even degrade it.

That's because many Twitter auto follow services require you to follow other people you don't even know or care about simply to get more followers. Following these people can decrease your standing in some social analytics programs, especially ones that analyze your followers to see if they have much social media authority or credibility on Twitter.

Bottom Line: Avoid Auto Follow on Twitter

The bottom line? Auto follow on Twitter is a bad idea most of the time, unless it is used simply to automatically follow folks who have followed you. Even then, it's a good idea to go back through your list of people you follow on a regular basis and prune out those whose tweets aren't relevant to your interests or particularly useful to you.

Novices in particular would be well advised to steer clear of auto follow Twitter services until they learn more how to use Twitter.

And if the goal is to develop a quality following that will make Twitter a useful communication tool for you, there's really no reason to use Twitter auto follow tools at all.

A better strategy would be to invest your time and energy in writing good tweets that other people will want to read.

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