This post is for the Twitter lovers, the Twitter haters and the Twitter newbies. Out of all the social media platforms, Twitter is definitely the hardest one to figure the hey out. Even so, there are some basic things you should be doing in Twitterland if you want to build a Twitter following.
First let me say that Twitter is not about quid pro quo follow backs. Just because I follow you doesn’t mean you’re obligated to follow me back. And vice-versa. While you don’t have to be as picky about following as you would, say, accepting a Facebook friend, you don’t need to follow every single person back either.
So, are you curious why don’t people follow you back on Twitter? Perhaps you’re making one of these mistakes:
1. Your avatar is a Twitter egg.
This often happens to peeps new to Twitter. They start following people and figure they’ll just upload an avatar later. Um, no. Would you think someone is interesting, engaging and all around awesome when they have a default image to represent themselves?
The fix: Upload a picture of your bad self up right this second. You can do a blog badge if you’d like… but people like building relationships with other people so make a headshot your first choice.
2. You don’t have a bio.
Twitter gives you 160 characters to tell potential followers about yourself. Saying nothing at all is the worst. Saying something vague like “namaste” or “I love cats” doesn’t help your case either. Oh and PLEASE don’t say “I follow back.” It sounds like you’re desperate for followers.
The fix: Use that 160 characters to your full potential. List things about yourself, write full sentences, make people laugh, make people curious, whatever. Just remember it’s a reflection of you so make it count. Here ‘s mine:
I can’t tell you how many times that last sentence has been a conversation starter from a new follower!
3. Your Twitter account is set to private.
If you’re reading this, you’re most likely a blogger or small business owner. If you’re not, leave that private all you want. If you’re a blogger or business owner who actually wants to reach new people, it won’t happen with your account on private. Sure, those who recognize your name or blog name may “Send follow request” but otherwise you won’t get people willing to make the effort.
The fix: Change that baby to “public.” And if that makes you squeamish, leave it as is but change your expectations on how Twitter can extend your reach.
4. You have Twitter validation on your account.
Many of you may have never seen this before but I assure you, it’s atrocious. Twitter validation (TrueTwit) actually makes someone verify they aren’t spam before they have the “privilege” of following you. So let me get this straight: you want ME to prove I’m not a spammer while you do nothing? Um, talk about lazy. We all have to be diligent not to follow spammers. I’m not doing your work for you. Sheesh.
The fix: Do I really need to spell this out?
5. You have a suspicious ratio of followers to those you’re following.
If you have 100 followers but you follow 1,200, I raise a single eyebrow at you (ok, I can’t physically do that but my hubby can). Most likely it’s due to the fact that you got all excited and started following lots of people without waiting for anyone to follow you too. The problem is that it looks like something’s wrong with you. Why are only 100 of those 1,200 people following you back?
The fix: If you’re new to Twitter, build your following a little more slowly. If you have fewer than 1,000 followers, try to keep your ratio within about 100 peeps. When you get into the 1,000s, you can probably have a difference of a few hundred.There are no hard or fast rules to this… just use your judgement. And remember to have patience in growing your following, grasshopper.
6. You take long breaks from Twitter.
While you don’t have to live on Twitter, someone may not follow you back if they notice your last tweet was three weeks ago. Twitter is about connecting with your followers and building relationships. It’s hard to build a relationship if you’re never there.
The fix: Try to be on Twitter a little bit each weekday, even if it’s just for ten minutes to respond to tweets, retweet some posts and make some comments.
7. You send auto Direct Messages.
Dead horse? I’m beating it. While this may not prevent someone from following you (how will they know you do this if they haven’t followed you yet?), it sure as heck will get people to unfollow you. I’ll save further horse beating but you can read my post on why auto DMs are evil if you want the low down.
The fix: Again, it’s in that post but the secret is building lists so you can focus on groups you want to interact with instead of spamming them privately with insincere messages.
8. You just tweet out links to your blog posts.
Twitter isn’t an RSS feed. If someone heads to your profile and sees all your tweets lead to your blog, it’s a turn off. Remember that people like to talk to you, not have your blog posts shoved in their face all the time. It’s like meeting someone at a cocktail party and all they talk about is themselves without a single interest in what you have to say.
The fix: Ask questions, retweet posts from others and share fun or useful things you come across. And be sure to @mention others to really get the convo going and build a Twitter following.
I know I’m just scratching the surface here so tell me: what makes you not follow someone on Twitter?