Twitter users, the day has come to take a step back and ask yourself: Is it time for me to join a TSA program – Twitter Spammer Anonymous?

Many of you will of course say “Absolutely not! How dare you suggest such a thing?!” However, as soon as I ask which ones of you are mass following thousands of Twitter accounts, the exclamations may dwindle. I have begun to notice that many businesses – especially the smaller, more local businesses – are using this strategy of mass following in an attempt to build their presence in the Twittering world. This may work initially, but it won’t not be the best tactic in the long run, and being flagged as spam could be terrible marketing for any company.

Don’t become a Twitter Spammer, here are reasons why (other than the weekly TSA meetings):

By mass following, you defeat the purpose of following. There are different places on the web that allow the possibility of “mass following.” This implies that with the click of a button you will have thousands of additional followers and thus overwhelmingly increase traffic flow to your site, right? Wrong. Most of these people who are allowing you to mass follow have their settings configured to allow an “auto-follow.” This in no way means that they are engaging in your Twitter, but that they are simply an additional number in your friend column. Many of the people who “auto-follow” won’t even know they are following you. This eliminates the idea of following niches that relate to your own interests and your own Twitter. In addition to confused niches, the mass follow tool sucks in people who are in no way interested in what you have to say. This makes a section of your increased following appear utterly useless.

Which came first – The Twitter popularity or the account? Despite popular belief, the Twitter account with the most following is not the person that sits behind a computer screen and mass follows the entire world. And although the “most followed” lists of Twitter accounts are calculated by the amount of followers, you will see below that the Top 10 followers were already popular before they set foot on the Twitter page, and I guarantee you that Lady Gaga didn’t ask people to follow her. It just happened.

Top 10 Twitterholics based on Followers
1. Lady Gaga
2. Britney Spears
3. Ashton Kutcher
4. Barack Obama
5. Justin Bieber
6. Ellen DeGeneres
7. Kim Kardashian
8. Oprah Winfrey
9. Taylor Swift
10. Katy Perry

Therefore, you can not base your popularity simply on following more and more people. The list goes on through 1000, and unless you are an already established large company, celebrity, politician, or someone of the same caliber, the idea doesn’t change.

Quality not Quantity. If I had a dime for every time someone used this phrase in my presence, I’d probably be at least $10 richer. Well here is that extra dime for the coke machine. As I’m sure you have gathered by now, the amount of followers you have may not be the best solution for improving your marketing strategy. The point of a Twitter is to release news, tell your followers what is going on in your business, and make them feel as though they are getting personal text messages about the latest updates and every day improvements of one of their comrades.

It is better for any company trying to make an online presence to have 1,500 two-way, carefully selected followers, than 15,000 low-value followers. When trying to increase product sales or important content, it will be left up to those 1,500 to really make a difference. Although having 72,567 followers may seem like hard evidence that you are a social media king, it does nothing when the evidence is churned out of the other end.

So maybe mass following works for you and your company? And that’s great. The point of my blog is to show how the numbers don’t always accumulate to make a shocking success story. My best advice to you would be to start with a core group of followers and work on building relationships with them. Also, check out what kind of influence your followers may have. It could be an excellent marketing strategy. After this group is established, gradually begin to add, follow, and respond. Instead of clicking a big red button in the middle of your screen that assists in mass following, you will be able to cultivate a group of carefully selected followers. Now isn’t that a more eloquent fairytale success story?