It happened to me several times since I use Twitter, last time just this week. If you use this social network, it maybe happened to you too: you receive a new follower notification; a little time later, you check your Twitter´s contacts list, but there is no trace of the new follower.
What this user did is start following you, creating a notification that you receive by mail, by an emerging message in your smartphone or your Twitter dashboard. Then, this user unfollows you again, in some cases even before reading any of your publications.
With this sequence, this user calls at least your attention trying that you, in an automatic response, start following her or him too.
It is possible that this user repeats this action in a massive way with lots of users with the objective of improving the following/followers ratio; or just does it in a selective way, trying to be followed by certain users he or she considers relevant.
Whatever the objective, I think this follow-unfollow technique is not a good practice because unveils a wrong behaviour and lack of empathy and ability by those applying it.
Is this the kind of contacts with which you´d like to connect, even on a social network? I don´t know the success rate of this procedure, but it doesn´t works with me.
It is worst when these practice is done by a business Twitter account. And even worst if that company belongs to your professional sector, and you may easily be a potential customer. In addition to a suspicious social behaviour and lack of wisdom, the company is giving you a message:
“we don´t mind who you are, even a client; we just want to raise our followers figures to improve our public image”
The effect is absolutely counter productive: apart from a weak interest in following the Twitter account of the company, in that moment I don´t wanna know even what it sells.
So despite all this, there are companies that use this technique. I met some of them, from distribution companies of protective equipment to consultancy and training companies, which belong to my professional sector and of which I could go as a client. Right, the initial answer that these companies deserve is: thanks, but not like this.
Twitter, as any Internet service, may be a great tool to reach certain objetives (information, communication, marketing, etcetera) if used smartly. There is a line between an useful tool that something turned into an aim in itself. Techniques like this follow-unfollow exceed this line by far.
An epic fail that may damage your personal and, most important given the case, your professional reputation.