Ruining Your Reputation on Twitter: A Step-by-Step Guide

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TwitterI’ve been on Twitter for a couple months now, and some fishy things have finally started to make sense:

Fishy thing #1: People would “un-follow” me and then “follow” me back a few days later.  Did they hate my tweets one day and love them the next?

Fishy thing #2: Really weird Tweets, some from really weird profiles – for example:

What Not to Do on Twitter

And some really weird tweets from legitimate sounding folks I thought I might like to network with – like the female real estate agent in New Hampshire who tweeted about – um, “male enlargement” pills.

Fishy thing #3: Well, not so fishy, really – since Ponzi devised his first scheme, people have been looking to game the system.  So “Get Thousands of Twitter Followers a Day – Just $55” services shouldn’t be a big surprise.

Does a Large Twitter Following Equate to Success?

What I’ve begun to realize is that many people mistakenly believe that having thousands of Twitter followers equals success.  Some fellow Twitterers and I had a discussion a few weeks back on this topic.  About game-the-system techniques like auto follow/unfollow and auto tweeting, one Twitterer asked, “Does it really work?”

No one’s talkin’ but I’m sure the answer is no.  After all, the whole point of Twitter is to network with people you can help, and who can help you back (or people you just want to be friends with).  So you have 20,000 followers.  Who cares?  You can also buy 20,000 e-mail addresses from a fly-by-night we-love-spam company for really cheap and send spam e-mails.  Does it work?  No.  Does it piss people off?  Yes.

But let’s not rant.  The reason I decided to bring this up here is to suggest to real estate agents and investors, eager to build their social networks, that they not be led astray by unscrupulous “thousands of followers” peddlers.  Your reputation is at stake.

Earlier this year, Chris Cree wrote a great post about how to game Twitter – and why you shouldn’t do it.  “There is nothing wrong with big numbers of followers. In fact I’m all for it. As long as they are the right followers. Having large numbers of enthusiastic followers is obviously a good thing. The trouble is, inflating your followers by gaming Twitter only succeeds in adding legions of disinterested non-listeners. Beyond bragging rights, there is no real value in it.”

I repeat: just like with e-mail spam, with Twitter crap like auto following, auto tweets, and direct message spam, you will alienate prospective clients and could ruin your reputation.  And, just as e-mail spam can get you black-listed by ISPs, Twitter misbehavior can get your account suspended or revoked.

So that’s what not to do on Twitter.  Using it to build a network of like-minded individuals and expand your business is another day’s topic, but let me close with some examples of how people have:

Onward and upward.

Molly Castelazo

Photo credit: Twitter

About Author

Molly is the author of WIIFM: 5 Letters That Can Change Your Life (Or At Least Your Business) and How to Win: Marketing Strategies for Successful – and Aspiring – Real Estate Agents. She’s President of Castelazo Marketing Ltd., a full-service agency dedicated to helping real estate agents stand out from the crowd and has a blog.


  1. The good news, Molly, is that Twitter seems to be cracking down on some of these automated follower building practices by suspending accounts.

    Wouldn’t that be a drag, eh? Pay someone to learn how to build your follower count on Twitter fast only to have your account suspended because you actually did what they said to do. Doesn’t sound like a good plan in my book!

  2. Josh — Thanks!

    Chris — I’m glad to hear that Twitter is catching on; hopefully they’ll be like Google, able to stop people from gaming the system, because that’s a drag for everyone. I really appreciated your blog post on the subject. I think the most important point, beyond that these practices could get you suspended, is that they don’t work — if your goal is to build your business by networking.

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