Bombs Away! What is a Twitter Bomb?

The advent of social media means marketers are trying many new ways—some sneaky and some legitimate—to get their names in front of more potential customers. Twitter, while a helpful, fun, and interesting form of social media, also works as a sort of search engine for individuals looking at hash tags. People looking to take advantage of Twitter’s hash tag and trending topic algorithms use a type of guerilla marketing technique called Twitter bombing.

twitter-bombTwitter bombing is the use of trending topics or popular Twitter hash tags to direct people to unrelated websites or products. Many political groups have taken advantage of this tactic to trash opposing candidates. Companies use popular trending topics from around the world to attach links to their tweets and drive more people to their websites.

The key in Twitter bombing is that multiple accounts (sometimes thousands) are created to overtake the normal trending results. While in a typical fashion, this seems like black hat SEO, some companies are smudging the boundaries to utilize Twitter bombing without annoying users. Skittles encouraged its customers to tweet using the hash tag “#Skittles” and they would appear on the company’s homepage. This resulted in thousands of people using the word “Skittles” along with other hash tags, spreading the company’s name far beyond their regular audience.

The not-so-accepted way of Twitter bombing involves creating multiple dummy accounts and sending a large number of tweets in a short period of time. This method is usually pretty irritating for Twitter users who are actually trying to use the social media site to gain specific information. It’s also a rather ineffective way to market when you actually do the math. The amount of time and man power spent on creating so many accounts to bombard the Twitter search results is outweighed by the short amount of time the “bombs” will be a top search result.

Because Twitter is a constant stream of tweets from millions of people, there are tons of new hash tags and trending topic tweets flooding in every second. Getting your bombs to the top of search engine results is like a salmon struggling to swim upstream in a violent current. Instead, Twitter is now offering sponsored tweets which are strategically focused toward your target market.

Because social media is still new (and ever-changing) marketers are coming up with new ways to engage the users of these internet playgrounds. Remember, though, it’s more important for your business to have a solid set of faithful and interactive followers than thousands of “friends” that aren’t engaged in your social media. Effective social media marketing is more than a number of followers! This is an instance in which quality really is better than quantity.

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