Can you grow your Twitter following fast with this app?

Followers Let’s be honest—who isn’t interested in finding a shortcut to more fans/followers on social media? It’s all very well breaking open a carton of orange juice to celebrate reaching that first one hundred milestone, but the mild euphoria is quickly replaced by envy at seeing others with fan counts in the thousands. How can you accelerate the process of adding zeros to your follower numbers?

Today I spotted a tweet from someone I follow announcing: “I gained 123 followers in the past week. This is the app: crowdfireapp.” I did a quick calculation—their average follower growth in the last two years was 35 a week, making 123 well above the average. There are lots of reasons why this growth could have happened, but it prompted me to think: "Okay, let’s take a look at Crowdfire" (previously known as JustUnfollow).

Can Crowdfire get me more followers?

This is not a comprehensive review of the Crowdfire app. I’ve spent a while looking at it and these are simply my early impressions.

Unsurprisingly, the app has free and paid-for options. Free seems pretty limited—just one Twitter account, 25 follows, 100 unfollows and 50 whitelist/blacklist. Quite what this means is not explained. I can use the app to follow 25 people a week? A month? A lifetime? And what are the whitelist and the blacklist?

I’m running the app on my Mac laptop. The screen layout is clean and accessible, with the options listed down the left side of the page. There’s a whitelist—click and there’s no one listed. Click on the little ‘i’ in a circle and it tells me that tweeps on my whitelist will never appear anywhere for me to unfollow. So there’s no danger of me unfollowing someone important by mistake, once I’ve added them to the whitelist. Nice idea.

Blacklist is the reverse. These are tweeps I never want to see on a follow screen.

The other options are useful: nonfollowers (I follow them but they haven’t returned the favour), fans (they follow me but I haven’t followed back), recent unfollowers (how dare they put me aside!) etc. The app only captures unfollowers from the point at which you sign up.

Inactive following is useful. You can see all the tweeps you follow who haven’t tweeted for a month or six, making it really easy to unfollow accounts that seem to have become redundant. I unfollowed 31 who hadn't tweeted in six months, presumably out of my free 100.

But can Crowdfire get me more followers?

Okay, so I have some nice follower management tools. But where do I go to push my follower count up?

The KeywordFollow option displays a list of relevant tweeps based on a keyword or hashtag that you choose. I type in #Dorset and I want to use the location filter, to limit it to people tweeting in the Dorset area. Great idea, except the location filter doesn’t have the county of Dorset listed, only places like Dorset Square or Dorset Street in London. Location filtering doesn’t work for me.

Crowdfire keyword search

Another follower finding tool is CopyFollowers. I type in the name of a tweep whose followers might also be interested in me—in this case the Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce (@wpchamber). I’m now shown their followers and I can choose to follow some of them myself (up to my free 25).

The Crowdfire copy followers function

Another tool to support follower engagement is Direct Message automation. This allows you to set up one or more DMs that are sent to your new followers.

Personally, I detest automated DMs and I know I’m not alone in this. Perhaps I’m old school, but DMs are for private conversations, not unsolicited sales pitches or ‘thanks for following me check out my website’ messages. On the other hand, perhaps some people find that automated DMs can be a good way to engage with new followers,  even if it doesn't work with me.

Setting up DM automation on Crowdfire

Clean, simple but not for me

The cheapest Crowdfire subscription will set you back just $9.99 a month, which is not a lot and for that you can use it on two accounts (it covers Twitter and Instagram) and unlimited follows and unfollows.

Want to add multiple users and lose the references to Crowdfire in your DM? Then you’re paying from $19.99 a month upwards.

There’s no denying that the app makes it really easy to manage follows and unfollows. So it could help you find relevant accounts to follow, and if you follow them, there’s a good chance that some will follow you back.

But what this app can’t do is create genuine engagement with others on Twitter. And engagement, not numbers, is where you’ll harness the true power of social media.

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Did I get paid to write this app/product review? Click for the policy on endorsements.