After joining Twitter, a lot of internet marketers concentrate on one goal - increasing the number of people following them.
There are three psychological reasons for having a large following:
1. It appeals to the ego.
2. "Number of followers" is an easily-defined and easily-measured metric. By focusing on increasing this number, internet marketers can get lulled by a feeling of satisfaction that they are making progress.
3. There is the lazy view of internet marketing as a numbers game - i.e. for every X person who sees your message, Y will buy your product or service. So, the more "bodies", the better.
Marketers and gurus who sell to the internet marketing niche have taken note of this powerful urge and, as a result, there is no shortage of products and services aimed at increasing your number of followers. These techniques range from variations on following thousands of people (hoping they will follow back) to actually buying followers. For example, there are Twitter "outsourcing" companies that might charge from $700-800 to "provide" 4,000 followers.
But, beyond the psychological rewards, does artificially increasing your followers really impact your bottom line - i.e. increase leads, conversions, and/or sales?
The answer is probably no because simply having a large number of followers is meaningless unless:
1. Your followers are targeted - i.e. interested in your niche and products/services.
2. You have built a relationship with them
These principles are the real secret to Twitter success. Twitter combines the one-to-many aspect of email with the immediacy of instant messaging. Just like email marketing, Twitter is ideally suited to building relationships and branding - rather than hard selling.
The bottom line is that, rather than having 20,000 lukewarm followers, it is better to have 800 followers who are passionate about your niche, and are willing to interact with you. This can lead to new customers, new joint ventures, and new friendships.