Believe us when we tell you that certain words and phrases will bring comment spam to your website. How about using acronyms like “SEO” or “HTML”? And popular culture works, too. Mentioning Facebook, Twitter, or – as the running joke goes – adding Beyonce or Lady Gaga somewhere in your text brings you extra fun spam. In some instances, spam can translate into page hits, but that’s not the sort of traffic small businesses want to manage on their websites. The same can apply to the useful social media tool, Twitter.
Whether for a personal or business Twitter account, we all want wants lots of followers. You’ll see promises of “Thousands of Followers in One Day!” around the Twitterverse. Or some accounts may promise that they follow back automatically. And that can feel very comforting, especially when starting up a Twitter account. However, if a potential client or personal follower looks through your following and follower lists, they’ll soon see that some of these accounts are empty accounts. And sometimes they will spam your handle, making it difficult to keep track of Twitter connections.
So what can you do to avoid inadvertently attracting spam to your Twitter account? Some words and phrases should be obvious. As Kirsten Wright posted in good humor, avoid tweets with Diet, Make Money, Giveaway, Justin Bieber. Make sure to read her entire list to get a feel for the types of phrases to avoid or re-work with synonyms.
Another technique to calm the spammers is to disguise brand names in a tweet. For example, instead of Amazon, use Amaz*n. Probably most important for avoiding spam and keeping your account safe is to never click on links from an unknown user. The link shortener in Twitter can disguise questionable links, so be cautious and hover over a link that tempts you to see where it leads.
What can you do if your Twitter account attracts spammers? One important step is to occasionally go through your followers and block accounts that are obvious spammers. Look for egghead avatars, a large discrepency between followers and following, repetitive and targeted tweets with links, and a lack of genuine conversation. This is to avoid these accounts from latching on to your use of particular words (iPad! Bluetooth!) and then spamming you with links for them.