Pros and Cons of Manipulating Trending Topics as a Source of Traffic

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Svetlana Gladkova of Profy.com uncovered an interesting way to help promote a business on Twitter. She discovered that one of the top Trending Topics appearing on Twitter Search (aka Summize) was Career Builder, a US based job board website. She further learned that several Twitter accounts from Career Builder were Tweeting links to each new job posting hitting their site, generating many Tweets. The Twitter Search application detected that activity and displayed the term “Career Builder” as a Trending Topic, or one of the most talked about topics on Twitter.

We don’t know for certain whether or not Career Builder intentionally “spammed” Twitter to gain Trending Topic status. However, it’s worth considering the pros and cons of attempting to artificially force a keyword or term into the Trending Topic section of Twitter Search.

Pros

  • Creating a Trending Topic costs nothing but time and effort.
  • An automated solution can take the labor out of generating the volume to achieve Trending Topic status.
  • A number of Twitter users use Twitter Search – thousands of users per day. Therefore, getting your keyword into Trending Topic status could bring a significant number of eyeballs to your website.

Cons

  • Artificially or mass-producing Tweets smacks of trying to “game” the system. Instead of appearing in Trending Topics through the natural course of Tweet activity, you’d be exploiting the Twitter Search functionality to achieve an artificial result.
  • You need to spam Twitter to force these results. It’s unlikely that anyone will want to follow a Twitter account with that much activity.
  • How many people really click through the Trend Topic link all the way to the final destination: from Twitter Search, then Twitter, then the desired link (plus one extra click if the link is in the Twitter profile, not the Tweet.)

After this review of the pros and cons of this practice, it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether or not this tactic really makes sense. As with any marketing tactic, you must weigh the costs and the benefits to determine whether it makes sense to try manipulate Twitter Search like this. However, this isn’t a practice that we would recommend to friends or clients because it looks like gaming, it smells like gaming, and that’s too close for our tastes.

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