On July 3rd, 2013 Twitter announced new API rules for developers that create applications for the Twitter platform. One of the most important changes announced was that “automated following or bulk following is also prohibited.” This is a significant hit to hundreds of legitimate as well as spam-like Twitter applications being used by millions of people worldwide to either “game” their follower counts -or- legitimately increase their targeted following.
What does all this mean for the Twitter User?
There are two sides to these changes, some being positive and some, well let’s just say they create some challenges you need to be aware of. Let’s start with a few of the positive things these rules should produce.
Spammers – If they can’t use these tools to mass follow people, this should positively impact the amount of spam and spammers that are using Twitter in this fashion.
Counts less of a focus – If gaining followers can be “gamed” less, then making your follower count the game will also be reduced.
Focus on content and conversation – Clearly if huge follower counts is less of the issue, people will have to refocus their efforts back to quality social media content and engaging in conversations in order to drive community growth. (Hello Big brands. It’s about time you did this right anyway)
Community Growth Harder – For every small to medium-sized business and marketer, these changes and the ultimate demise of follow tools will certainly make growing communities more time-consuming and difficult.
Hashtags Become Even MORE Important On Twitter:
This brings us to hashtags… Brands and marketers must really understand their audience better in order to develop more targeted content and hashtag strategies that will attract their followings. You need to know the topics and content subject matter that your target audience is engaged with and therefore what your topical and content strategy needs to be to make it easier for them to find you. Therefore, incorporating hashtags thoughtfully in this mix will be paramount to the future of community growth on Twitter.
1) Do you know the topics that your prospective followers are interested in?
2) Do you know the hashtags that your prospective followers are using and following on Twitter?
3) How are you going to more effectively use hashtags now that follow tools are going to be nonexistent?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you need to figure out the answers, and fast.
For consistent automated hashtag and content sharing tools read this.