20 Reasons Why You May Be Losing Followers on Twitter

Follow Me ButtonMany join Twitter to grow an online presence. But not everyone gets fast results. Here are 20 things NOT to do to ensure you won’t sabotage your Twitter growth.

Since Twitter banned auto-follow and auto-follow back (see my earlier article from July 2013), I’ve been spending a lot more time vetting who I follow and follow back on Twitter. As a result, I’ve been following far fewer people on Twitter every week than I used to. Naturally, this is due in part to the fact that it takes a lot more time now that automation is no longer allowed. But it is also due to the fact that I have become much more selective about who I want to follow.

During the vetting process, I’ve noticed the same 20 criteria keep cropping up as ‘deal breakers’ helping me decide whether or not to follow, follow back or unfollow people on Twitter. As these criteria are probably being used (consciously or not) by other Twitter users, I thought I’d share them with you today, so you can avoid these pitfalls, and make your Twitter profile an irresistible force to you ideal audience.

Reason #1: Inadequate bio information

Twitter gives you 160 characters to fill in your profile. Use them. Make every character count. Make sure it SAYS something about you and/or your business, so people can judge whether or not they want to follow you.

Reason #2: No profile image

No matter how camera-shy you may be, don’t fail to upload a headshot or company logo. When people see the default Twitter image in your profile, they tend to assume a) that you don’t know what you’re doing on Twitter yet; b) that you don’t care; or c) that you’re not a ‘real’ person but a spammer/robot. Say cheese!

Reason #3: You have a private account

If you set your account to ‘private’, prospective followers won’t be able to see your Tweets. Why would people follow you if they cannot know what you Tweet about? I wouldn’t.

Reason #4: You don’t speak the same language

If you are multilingual and you are trying to target a specific audience, be sure your Tweets are consistently in the language of the audience you are targeting. Otherwise, people might start unfollowing you if they start to see Tweets they cannot read. Remember: you might understand their language, but they might unfollow you if they cannot understand yours. You might wish to have multiple accounts for different languages.

Reason #5: YOU USE ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME

Gosh I hate that. I never follow people who ALWAYS WRITE IN ALL CAPS and I unfollow them FOR THE SIMPLE REASON THAT IT IS ANNOYING.

Reason #6: You use WAY too many hashtags

I love hashtags, but some people will put a hashtag at the beginning of every word (frequently combined with #USINGCAPSALLTHETIME). Apart from being damnably irritating to your followers, there are SO many reasons why over-using hashtags is pointless. See my earlier article ‘5 Ways to Use Hashtags on Twitter or Facebook’ to find out wise ways to use them.

Reason #7: You’re just interested in getting followers and have no focus

Some people are on Twitter for no other reason than to get followers. They talk about NOTHING other than to say ‘Follow me’ or #TeamFollowBack. All they tend to do is tell how many new followers they got that day. I never follow such people. What’s the point?

Reason #8: You don’t bother to follow people back

In direct contrast to #7, there are also people on Twitter who hardly ever bother to follow (legitimate) followers back. Personally, except for large organisations who don’t tend to follow anyone back, I will unfollow people if they haven’t followed me back after a couple of months. Some people will unfollow you if you don’t follow back within the week. If you are losing followers, this might be the reason. Take a look at who’s following you that you are not following.

Reason #9: Never talking to anyone else

If you never take time to say ‘hi’ or ‘thank-you’ to people, or you never ReTweet or reply to people’s comments, your followers will get miffed and are likely to unfollow you. If prospective followers see no engagement, they might not bother to follow you in the first place.

Reason #10: ALL you do is talk to other people

The flip side of #9 is when someone ONLY uses Twitter as a kind of global instant messaging service, and is constantly engaged in chat. Being sociable is great, but if all you ever do is chat-surf, some people might not wish to follow you.

Related Article:
Do We REALLY Still Need to Talk About Ethical Marketing?

Reason #11: Not tweeting regularly

There are several programmes out there that can analyse which of your followers are ‘dead wood’ due to not Tweeting very often. One of these programmes is Tweet Adder (see my product review of their new 4.0 update). I stop following people if I don’t see any action on their account for 6 weeks. I assume many other people do the same. If you want to keep your followers, be sure to stay active on Twitter.

Reason #12: Tweeting TOO frequently

I’ve seen some Twitter accounts Tweet almost non-stop (sometimes as frequently as twice a minute!), flooding my Twitter stream. This is a sure-fire way to get unfollowed. The only people who might have an excuse for such high frequency Tweeting are global newswires.

Reason #13: Tweeting the same thing over and over

I Tweet many times a day, typically about every 20 minutes. However, I have THOUSANDS of Tweets that I rotate, and I am continually creating more content every week. But Tweeting the same thing over and over with little or no variation is bound to get you un-followed. Why would I follow you if nothing is ever new?

Reason #14: No original content

Sharing other people’s content is great, but sometimes that’s ALL people do on Twitter. These people will ReTweet whatever strikes their fancy at the time, and don’t have any particular focus. After a while, their followers might get tired of them and unfollow them. Don’t rely solely on ReTweeting if you expect to grow your following. People what to know who YOU are; work on creating your own presence.

Reason #15: Your Tweets are irrelevant to your followers

It’s a given that if your followers are not interested in your Tweets, they’ll unfollow you. The best way to ensure people stay following you is to actively seek out people who share your interests and follow them first.

Reason #16: Your Tweets don’t make sense

A heck of a lot of people don’t bother to READ their own Tweets through the eyes of their followers before they post them. I’ve scratched my head on numerous occasions trying to figure out what someone meant by one of their Tweets. If I can’t make heads or tails about what someone is talking about, I’ll unfollow them. Oh, and ‘making sense’ goes for bios too.

Reason #17: Every Tweet is a ‘sales’ Tweet

If you do nothing but Tweet stuff like ‘Check out our such-and-such deals’ or ‘Get my book on Amazon’ or even ‘Find us on Facebook’, watch your numbers decline. And, if you’re a spammer trying to ‘sell’ followers, please just give up!

Reason #18: Following too MANY people compared to your followers

If you follow WAY more people than follow you (like 10 times more), it tells people you’re either really unpopular or really aggressive. Besides, if you follow 2000 people and very few follow you back, you’ll be stuck at the ‘Twitter wall’. This means new people will be unlikely to follow you because you won’t be able to follow them back (see my book Tweep-e-licious for more information on the ‘Twitter wall’ and how to get un-stuck).

Reason #19: Following too FEW people compared to your followers

If I see 2000 people following you, and you are only following 200 of them, this tells people you are not very engaging. Unless you’re a public figure of some kind in whom I have an interest, I’d be unlikely to follow you because I’d assume you’d ignore me.

Reason #20: Your CONTENT is disproportionate to your following

Sometimes I see people following close to 2000 people and they’ve only Tweeted a few times (or sometimes not at all). Without content, those you have followed are unlikely to follow you back. This type of behaviour sends the message that you are following people in a contrived way rather than organically.

Conversely, I see people with maybe a few hundred followers, and they’ve Tweeted tens of thousands of times. This tells me they have a tendency to over-saturate a small number of people, which is also not a good sign. I look for balance and proportion in someone’s account before I follow it. If they have 10,000 followers, sending out 10,000 Tweets (over time) is proportionate. But if they have 500 followers and they’ve sent out 10,000 Tweets within a couple of weeks, that’s overkill.

Closing thoughts

Twitter is a HUGE part of my business. It is also directly responsible for about two-thirds of my website traffic. I believe in the power of Twitter, but I also know that, in order to succeed, your marketing strategies have to be organic, relevant, consistent and engaging:

  • Organic – don’t force your following to grow. Think algorithmically. If you’re just starting out, follow a few people every day. As your following grows, follow a larger number of people a day.
  • Relevant – The best way to ensure people follow you (and don’t UN-follow you) is to make sure you connect with the right people in the first place. Make sure your content has great informational value and that the people you seek are interested in the content you intend to share with them.
  • Consistent – Tweet regularly and make sure your message, brand, language, etc. are all consistent. Without consistency, you’ll confuse your audience; without regularity, you’ll lose their interest. Show up!
  • Engaging – Don’t just go on Twitter to ‘get’. GIVE to people. Give them great content. Follow them back. Speak to them. Get to know people.
Related Article:
Do We REALLY Still Need to Talk About Ethical Marketing?

In ‘7 Graces of Marketing‘ terms, these strategies largely embody the Graces of Connection, Inspiration and Invitation. These are vital components to ethical business success in the Twitterverse.

These criteria are stripped-down ideas from my 300-page book Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs and Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically. If you find this article useful, you might want to check out the book at http://tweepelicious.com. At that link, you can also get instant access to my free 90-minute Twitter audio class.

Let me know if you found these 20 criteria useful. Share your comments or questions about Twitter below.

Lynn Serafinn
7th September 2013

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Lynn Serafinn author of The 7 Graces of Marketing

LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.

Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/7GracesMarketng
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3 Responses to 20 Reasons Why You May Be Losing Followers on Twitter

  1. Excellent list, Lynn! Yeah, I just shake my head sometimes. Have you heard of Twitcleaner? It works pretty well using some of the same criteria you have listed.

    I guess I’m not as much of a fan of #13; I prefer to post less often, maybe three or four times a day at most, and make only 1% actual links to my own stuff for marketing purposes. But, hey, I don’t have your following, either!

    Joanne

  2. Thanks, Lynn, as always, you help me clarify my Twitter strategies. So appreciated!

    Love and blessings,
    Sue

  3. Simon says:

    Great tips. Thanks Lynn. I highly recommend your book ‘tweepelicious’

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