Twitter to Let Companies Buy Followers

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Want to get more followers for your company’s Twitter account? A new advertising option may help.

Twitter announced earlier this week that it will soon allow companies to pay to have their account featured in the “Who to Follow” section, which recommends users based on accounts you currently follow. In this way, companies may be able to pay to boost their following and influence on the site.

“Twitter will try to help corporations and brands increase their Twitter following by inserting them alongside other Twitter users it suggests in its ‘Who to Follow’ feature,” AllThingsD.com reports. “And Twitter will try to make the promotions palatable to users by serving up only ‘relevant’ accounts, using the same algorithm that it already uses when it suggests ‘Who to Follow.’”

This isn’t Twitter’s first attempt at boosting advertising revenue. Earlier this year, Twitter introduced a promoted tweets featured, where businesses can pay to have their product featured as one of Twitter’s trending topics, in order to attract more attention. But while this may be a good marketing tool for advertisers, it’s also a costly one.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, several companies have already paid upwards of $100,000 to advertise with the promoted tweets feature, which raises the question of how much Twitter will charge for the new promoted accounts option. After all, it is arguably more valuable for a company to gain a new follower and expand their potential audience for future product announcements.

As David Zax noted on Fast Company, “A tweet is just 140 characters, and trend is just a topic of passing interest. But an account--that's something enduring, something users could potentially wind up receiving updates from permanently.”

Of course, from a user perspective, these new advertising options may feel a bit deceptive, as it becomes more difficult to decipher the accounts you’d actually like to follow from those that Twitter has a vested interest in suggesting.

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