The best way to use Crowdfire?
Want to know the best way to use Crowdfire?
Want the most efficient way to maximise your social networks?
I’ll tell you the secrets behind it and how implementing it will effect your social media and your blog’s readership.
In this post I’ll lay bare everything I’ve learned about using Crowdfire to build followers.
It starts with one important thing to remember. One major rule to follow.
Don’t use Crowdfire.
Or, for that matter, don’t use any other tools that allow you to indiscriminately bulk follow or unfollow people. That’s the best way to use it in my opinion. Just don’t.
Why not? I NEED followers!
Because it utterly undermines the context of social media, which is supposed to be social. Using an automated tool to bulk follow, message or contact lots of people is not social, it’s precisely the opposite, flying in the face of all the things that social media should be. It’s anti-social, impersonal and disengaging, rather than social, personal and engaging.
Using Crowdfire or any system that enables you to bulk follow, unfollow, tweet, auto message or hyper manage your account undermines platforms like Twitter. It’s part of the disease which contributes towards making Twitter hard to bear, through the incessant, self-publicising dirge that pollutes my Twitter feed and Direct Messages.
Getting the messages.
Have you ever had a direct message from someone you’ve just followed on Twitter? Something along the lines of:
“Thanks for following! It means SOOO much to me!! I love you all!!! COME AND FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK, INSTA, PINTEREST, BLAH BLAH XXX – via Crowdfire”Endless Twitter users
I’ll bet you’ve had somewhere between 1 and 10,000 of these (well, it feels like that at least).
Did you reply?
I replied once, during the early stages of my late blossoming social media life. Although my response was partly a test, to see whether the person (oops, did I say person? I meant program) who sent the message would actually engage with me or not. I certainly didn’t reply because of the deep emotional bond I felt from their unsolicited, automated, impersonal message. I checked out their social channels, then asked them to check out my blog to see if they liked it. Their reply was, of course, non existent.
I do not like these messages. I can’t be alone in that. If I get them, I feel a slight sense of foreboding, because if somebody’s first contact with me is spamtastic then I don’t set much hope in their ongoing contributions holding enormous value or helping me to develop a heightened enlightenment. I just expect more junk.
Your social life.
There’s a reason social media is called thus, and it’s because it’s social. It’s about community, interaction and society. At this point it might be a good idea to consider the semantics of the phrase ‘social media’. Unfortunately my trusty Oxford English Dictionary was gifted to me as a school prize back in 1995, so it’s slightly too archaic to refer to in this instance, however for a benchmark definition, I’ll call upon Google:
“Social media – websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.”Google
In that context, a bulk contact system sounds like a perfectly reasonable and efficient way of maximising your social media presence. If you’re trying to bump up your followers to whatever arbitrary number you feel is a desirable level then you are merely participating on a mass scale and sharing your oh-so-important content with even more people. You might even argue that you are a super-user, spreading your social seed of love far and wide with your bulk following and automated responders.
But there’s lots of problems with automated, bulk/copy following and messaging.
If you just copy-follow another user’s followers, you’re shooting in the dark. You’re firing a blunderbuss of a social media gun into a vast, moonlit field, with your eyes closed. You might know that you’re in the right field, but you’re not looking at who or what is standing there. It could be a load of cows, or a festival, or just a field full of scarecrows, the fake people of the social media world.
The only way to avoid that randomised shooting is to assess every person before you follow them, in which case you don’t even need Crowdfire, you can just use Twitter in it’s virginal, natural state. Crowdfire is such a blunt instrument if used indiscriminately that you will inevitably end up following lots of Mr Eggs. And I don’t mean le petit oeufs like me, but these fellows:
Because at some point, you’ll stumble upon one of those ridiculously popular people who is so popular they had to buy a large swathe of their followers. And you’ll end up following all of these non existent followers as well.
Follow for Follow.
These systems are all founded on the follow-for-follow principle, which eschews any relevance the people you follow might have to your life. Even if you’re taking care to follow appropriate users and hashtags, you’re still open to the catch the illness. Which means you’re going to enter into a world of pain when it comes to your own feed, as you will slowly watch it fill up with disinteresting tweets, irrelevant retweets and adverts in a vast multitude of languages that were never even offered as an option during your time at school. This bulk following can easily make your feed become an infected, virulent discourse of spamtastic irrelevance, utterly infested with retweeted dirge, the unalloyed spewings of people you have no interest in and spamified postings bearing no relation to your interests in the world.
Phew. I’m glad I said that. Also, the people who bulk follow are also the ones who most likely do the following things:
Auto post across networks, badly.
Sometimes the formatting gets screwed up when appearing on another platform. Or, it shows up twice or thrice in Twitter. As if they have a particularly bad e-stutter or were drunk when posting.
Schedule social media posts inappropriately
You might have been told by somebody offering advice in optimising your social media presence that this is a good idea, and perhaps it can be in certain cases. But it can also be painfully obvious when done badly and out of context.
Persistently auto post old blog posts.
If your ‘fancy a vintage post’ or ‘one from the archives’ posts outnumber your personal, authentic posts then time to have a word with yourself. I feel they devalue your standing as a contributor to social media. Please don’t kid yourself that you’re helping people when you persistently advertise your blog posts more than anything else. That tweet or insta picture is an advert, no more, no less. You need to harness the social aspect of the media first, then people might be interested in what you advertise. If you do it the other way around, you’re just spam.
Following vs Readership.
To my mind, the key to social media and many aspects of your online presence, is to create an engaged readership. For a blogger, it’s better to have small readership who read what you post and talk to you, rather than 10,000 followers, half of whom have you on mute and the other half just re-followed you like the cheap follow-whores that they are. It is infinitely better to have followers whose interest in your words and images has created an intense, authentic channel of communication, the likes of which they’d not felt before. This will endure and be meaningful because they’re following you, as a person, rather than simply following the fact you’re following them.
If you decide to use the services of Crowdfire et al to help automate your personality, which is what you are doing when you approach social media in this way, you are destroying a cornerstone of meaningful human interaction, which is authenticity. Authentic communication is allowing yourself to be seen openly and clearly and genuinely, rather than hiding your true self, covering things up, and behaving as you feel others expect you to rather than interacting with people honestly.
When your communications are pre-programmed and carried out automatically by a service that you’re paying $9.99 a month for, you have eschewed authenticity for automation, as if your idea of an idealised society has it’s foundations in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, where superficial, pre-programmed social behaviours are foremost and human emotion utterly stripped away from people’s relationships. It’s a dystopian fantasy and not something to aspire to, regardless of how attractive more followers seems.
You’re getting engaged.
The term ‘Following’ is a misnomer. Just because someone ‘follows’ you, it doesn’t mean they ‘follow’ what you’re doing. Just because they are part of that big number which your ego is desperately trying to inflate, it doesn’t mean they have any interest in what you are actually doing. This means they might not hold any interest in your own work nor do they value for you or what you’re trying to achieve. But the people that you really want are those who do value your work and opinion.
The more blogging I do, the more I realise that success as a blogger should not be judged in big, headline numbers, it’s judged by engagement. The Google Analytics graph of page hits and visitors is meaningless, it’s what those people do which matters. The same could be said for your Tweet activity statistics. It isn’t number of impressions that matter, it’s the likes, retweets, replies and link clicks. I’d much rather have 100 impressions with several replies, likes or retweets, than 5000 impressions with no response. Because having one genuine response actually means I’ve connected with someone, whereas having 5000 people ignore me is frankly, pretty depressing.
Allowing yourself to get sucked in by the belief that having lots of followers is going to make you famous, successful or worse even, an ‘influencer’ is how companies like crowdfire become so prevalent. For some people or companies, having millions of utterly irrelevant followers might be precisely what you need, especially if you’re planning to never interact with those followers or listen to them, if you merely want to advertise your wares indiscriminately with no form of discourse between yourself and the recipients.
But as a plan to solve all your social media worries, using bulk followers and social media managers is a solution that needs to be considered very carefully, especially if you actually want to continue enjoying using social media and ensure your engagement with your followers is a meaningful, two way street of communication.
Which, after all, is the exact the premise social media was built upon.