5 Ways To Spot A Twitter Bot #Twitter

By on August 21, 2013
Twitter bot

Twitter bots are those pesky fake accounts that always seem like real people, but then turn out to be cleverly designed marketing machines on a permanent hunt for social influence. As a small business owner it’s important that you only follow real people on Twitter, and that’s what today’s post is all about.

While not all Twitter bots are malicious, there is a very good chance that allowing them on your account could result in security issues, hacking attacks and other spyware concerns down the line.

#1: Crazy Twitter Handles and Photos

There are many ways to spot a Twitter bot, but the easiest way is to look for the tell-tale make-up of a fake account. This includes a bad photo, either unclear, or not of a person’s face. If there is a face, there is a good chance it will be an attractive female. Plus if the Twitter handle does not match the photo, name or brand – it’s fake.

#2: Low Tweets and Suspect URL

Most Twitter bots are discovered shortly after people follow them, which means that they almost always have a high number of people they follow, but with very few tweets actually published on a daily basis. The URLs are also suspicious and lead to spam sites. I always check the URL of people I follow first, to verify their credibility.

#3: Incorrect Follower/Following Ratios

There are thousands of celebrities and authorities that have enormous accounts, with a ratio that exceeds 10:1. But it’s highly unusual for anyone that is not well known and obviously famous to get these ratios. You can bet that if you come across a weird Twitter friend with a 10:1 ratio – they’re probably a spam bot.

It’s always good to check out their account feed first however – you don’t want to turn down the opportunity to connect with an influencer because you assume they aren’t who they claim to be!

Twitter bot

Courtesy of agent-x.com.au

#4: Just After Publishing a Tweet

If you are followed by someone seconds after publishing a tweet, the reply is most likely an automation program that targets certain keywords. Don’t follow it back. I know many marketers that only follow people after they have confirmed their identities via direct message. It takes a while, but it’s worth it.

#5: API’s and Repetition

Finally, if you see that the person’s tweet was published by an API, and it seems suspicious – then it is a bot. Real people mostly publish via desktop or mobile device, not API systems. Take a look at what the person says, if they often repeat themselves then they are almost certainly a bot.

Use these 5 methods to keep your business Twitter account free of spam bots. Remember that there are some apps that you can use that will help you filter out malicious bot accounts from real people on the social network. If all else fails, one of these should come in handy!

Which method do you use to keep your Twitter account bot free?

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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