About a year ago I gave up caring who started following me on Twitter, largely because of the proliferation of blatant spammers. I put up a note on my bio saying that if people really wanted me to reciprocate, the should send me a message, and I would certainly follow back if they were an interesting real person, and not some spam account (or worse). This still seems perfectly reasonable to me.
More recently though I decided I should take a more active interest in those who choose to follow me. I started using the excellent Topify, which makes it easy to identify spammers and I check out anyone who seems interesting.
Consequently, I’ve spotted an annoying trend.
There are many, many users who follow about 200 more people than follow them back. They are taking advantage of the fact that about half of the people that they follow, will follow them back! For whatever reason a large number of people feel it is the done thing to just blindly follow back anyone who follows them, however spammy, offensive or bizarre the new follower is! Personally, I don’t understand this behaviour in the slightest: I don’t want spam in my Twitter stream – so I don’t follow spammers. It’s simple.
Nonetheless, if you want to steadily grow your follower base, add 100 new people a day. Then, after you’ve been doing this for a few days, go back and unfollow all those who didn’t follow you in return, while continuing to follow new people. This way your ratio will always be near enough 1:1, making you look legitimate and popular. Eventually, when you reach an acceptable target (say, 10,000 followers) you can have a big purge and get rid of a lot of the mindless sheep you have accumulated. Say, 20-30% of them. Now it looks like you are a power user. Any new visitors to your profile will assume that you are hugely important and that maybe they should listen to you too.
So there you go, now you can claim to be an SEO-demigod, and have huge numbers of low-quality followers seeming to back it up.
Or you could just use Twitter like a normal person.