8 Reasons No One Follows You on Twitter

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.

8 reasons no one follows you on Twitter (can't believe people still do number 6 but they do!)

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.

avoid-twitter-egg-avatar

No, no, no.

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?

Comments

  1. says

    This could go with #8… I unfollow people who don’t engage. People who are constantly on political rants, complaining, using Twitter to tell a story (um… seriously. Keep it under 140, mmmkay?).
    I’ll also unfollow people who seem to be ignoring me. Not tweeting back is rude. If I reach out to you and never get anything back, I’m cutting you loose.

    • melissa says

      I agree with you there Carri. I had to unfollow a few people who complained in about 98% of their tweets. Debbie Downer!

  2. says

    Totally agree with all of these!

    Another thing with the ratio of how many you are following and how many follow you- if you have like 50,000 followers and you only follow 50…. I assume that as soon as I follow you, you are going to unfollow me, so I don’t follow you in the first place.
    Shell recently posted..School Bus VS Mom Taxi

  3. says

    Can’t tell you how many people I’ve followed and then unfortunately had to unfollow because of a Direct Message. Engage me, don’t just DM me. Amazing how that can feel so much less personal! These are great. (and PS, I can raise one eyebrow and so can my baby…go figure.)
    Amanda Austin recently posted..No regrets

    • melissa says

      The baby can too? OMG I hope you get a picture of that!

      Yes, the auto DMs have to go. I got so mad when I saw one that told me I was awesome. I unfollowed then followed back and got the same message again. It ticked me off because someone out there is falling for it.

  4. says

    This is great advice; thank you! I’ve been on Twitter for a while, but I need to work on really engaging followers who are in my niche. I have to do weekly purges of my Twitter list, especially when I’m auto-DMed. Grrr. I also hate it when I’m following someone who automates their tweets all the time; sure, it’s useful, but try to actually BE online at least for a few minutes, right?
    Martine | Work at Home Mom Writer recently posted..What’s your mission as a work-at-home mom?

    • melissa says

      Oh I know. I’m in marketing and tried following this marketing “guru” TWICE. I kept having to unfollow because he probably sent out 100 auto tweets a day.

  5. says

    Fantastic post. I’m just now getting more motivated to use Twitter more. When getting into it, I kind of watched a few bloggers and friends that were really successful and tried to figure out what they were doing. Looking back, I see that they’ve been doing what you’ve so beautifully outlined here. So here’s a giant “thank you” to you and all the bloggers/twitter-er’s out there who have been paving the way for us newbies!
    Kristy @ Almost On Purpose recently posted..Scrapbooking paper. I love it. Scrapbooking? Not so much.

    • melissa says

      Thanks and hang in there with Twitter! It’s a must in building relationships with other bloggers. Especially if you ever head to a conference. Every time I met someone at a conference, you pretty much said your name, then your Twitter name. Might as well have been on my birth certificate!

  6. says

    Melissa,

    I can never get enough Twitter advice or reminders. As I went down the list I checked off to be sure I was not in violation. LOL. Then I hit #6. I was sick for a week and didn’t tweet. I would say this is a good excuse. BUT if you are an avid twitter user you should let your people know what is going on. I think I did the second day.

    ANd I like MmeLindor’s comment, always give credit where credit is due!

    ~Allie
    Allie | Ramblings of a WAHM recently posted..Face Up Commentators: Grab a Gravatar

  7. says

    It’s always such a pleasure to be re-tweeted. I try to re-tweet a few folks each day.
    I try to self-promote, promote others, and engage in pleasant conversational banter in about equal ratios. But I still don’t claim to feel completely at home on Twitter.
    Susan in the Boonies recently posted..Do I Dare to Eat a Peach?

    • melissa says

      Heheh. I tried to nicely tell someone why DMs were bad once. I sent her a link to my post about it too. She said something like “so it’s okay if you auto DM people to tell them not to?” She was surprised when I said it wasn’t an autotweet. Hope she turned off her auto DMs! LOL.

      • says

        I just found your blog yesterday. Loving the info and your style. This DM story cracked me up! So totally clueless :-)

        I’m an auto DM hater. If you are too busy to thank me personally for a follow, just let it go. It’s just a lame form letter and we all know that.

  8. Retrogirl66 says

    I use true twit validation because I got so burned out on all the constant spam, porno people following and sending links, all the weirdos. So, sorry if people don’t like it.

    I have been cleaning out Tweeps lately…I unfollow if there is never any personal connection – only a stream of “commercial” tweets with nothing personal about that person or their life, or any engaging/interacting with their followers.

    Not all of us can be on Twitter daily/multiple times per day either…while we may blog, tweet, connect when we can – some of us have to work to earn a living LOL – so again – if people want to follow and connect fine. If not – fine too!

    • melissa says

      Thanks for your honest and thoughtful comment! I hate the spam/porn peeps too but if they follow me, I don’t see their Twitter stream and I know they aren’t seeing mine since they’re all automated anyway.

      I agree about the commercial tweets! My old boss wanted our company to get on Twitter and just wanted to post press releases. I was like, um, NO! Thank goodness we didn’t do it.

      And I understand about not being on every day. I work too when the kids are in preschool and I close out Twitter so I don’t “hear the noise.” My bigger point was not to be gone for weeks at a time and wonder why no one followed you while you were gone. You’re totally right– life and work come first so do what you gotta do! :-)

  9. says

    These are all great. I almost always follow back if it is a person who looks like they really want to follow me and would be interested in something I have to say. A B&B in Oklahoma? Not so much. A pool company in Georgia…no. I do end up unfollowing if someone constantly tweets giveaways, promotions or has nothing personal to say.

    • melissa says

      It takes me a few days sometimes to follow back because I don’t look at new followers everyday. Did you try formulists? You can create a list of new followers. It helps me follow others back more quickly!
      http://goo.gl/tFnuH

  10. says

    Thank you for this! I am so unsure of how to truly utilize Twitter. All my friends (FB colleagues! and fellow bloggers) urged me to get on Twitter but now I really just don’t know what to talk about there. So I do have it connected to my FB page and it send my posts out. BUT you said this was a no-no and I just don’t know how to change my usage (or lack there of).
    Sarah@ThereSheGoes recently posted..Gear Review: Electrolyte Replacement

    • melissa says

      Twitter is definitely hard to “get” so I hear ya! I have a whole bunch of posts that’ll help though:
      http://www.momcomm.com/category/social-media/twitter/
      Specifically read the “Twitter is a never-ending cocktail party” and “9 things to tweet about” posts. The best thing to do is just jump in and start talking to people!

      I unconnected FB to Twitter but I can’t say it’s the worst thing you could do. In this post, I mentioned only posting links to your own blog. Connecting Twitter to post on Facebook is actually worse cause the Twitter lingo isn’t one that everyone gets. I think you can remove it here: http://www.facebook.com/twitter/. But again, I don’t think it’s completely necessary right now as long as it’s not the only thing in your Twitter stream. Hope that helps!

      • says

        Thanks Melissa for taking the time to respond to me and not just respond but really give me the info I need! I will follow your advice and hopefully see an improvement in my content and the # of followers I have!

  11. says

    You are absolutley right on ALL of these points! I really do need to kick my booty into gear on Twitter. I’m terrible at it. I tend to go through bouts of engagement where I’ll go on there and talk to EVERYBODY and then go through bouts of not logging in at all.
    Lindsay recently posted..Capture the Everyday: Collectibles

    • melissa says

      Hehe! You know if there’s someone I really want to follow me back, I try to engage with them a few times. They’ll usually follow me back eventually. Stalker-ish, huh? LOL.

  12. says

    i arrived here from bloggingwithamy.com have enjoyed reading a number of your articles including this one on twitter-the non-stop cocktail party:). it is the place i struggle to figure out! you helped me move a few more steps in the right direction!
    i read a couple of other articles and bumped into the comment vomit one that was hilarious! I like your style girl. humor goes a long way with me. i’m sure i’ll be back again.
    the tech side of blogging absolutely eats my lunch!
    martha brady recently posted..I WISH I HAD SAID THAT: JACQUE from Mercy Found Me…

    • melissa says

      Martha-
      Thanks so much for the sweet comments! Yep this stuff is way too boring without lightening it up! I appreciate you stopping by and hope you’ll be back! :-)

  13. says

    One of my pet peeves? When someone I have never conversed with and have no idea who they are, sends me a tweet that says, I am following you , follow me back. If you want me to follow you back, then engage me in a conversation. Comment on my profile or a tweet, or RT something, for pete’s sake! You have not earned the right to ask for me to follow you, just out of the blue.
    Stepping off my soapbox now…
    Bernice
    Living the Balanced Life recently posted..Depression is a Sneaky Little Liar

    • melissa says

      Thanks Brianna! Glad this post was helpful… I like to just think of Twitter as a conversation with my readers. While I’ll definitely tell them about a new post, I’ll also talk to them, answer questions, etc.

  14. says

    Great post as usual. I have thoughts on #6. I usually don’t follow someone back if I see they tweet a lot, it stresses me out thinking I’m going to have to keep up with all that, I also don’t want all their tweets filling up my feed. I love it when someone goes for quality vs quantity, so a few tweets a day, or even a week is perfect for me. Also, I’m not a very good tweeter, I just feel like I don’t have time for it, so I violate #6 all the time. If I just really can’t get into twitter, is it just better for me to get off and focus on something else, like blog content or facebook?
    Lindsey recently posted..Debi – Getting outside every day

  15. Ava Flowers says

    Great things for me to think about. I would say this is a good excuse. I like your style girl. Hope she turned off her auto DMs!
    Ava Flowers recently posted..Gout Tips

    • melissa says

      Great work with the engaging!

      Yes, there’s definitely an easier way. On Twitter, just move over the tweet and you’ll see “retweet” as an option. It will pop up the RT already with the RT @name.

      I use Hootsuite (some use Tweetdeck) to manage Twitter. It’s great because you have columns so you can see your mentions right away and create “streams” for keywords or hashtags (like #SITS31DBBB!). To retweet on there, it’s the same process!

      Hope that helps!

  16. says

    I unfollow people who tweet way too much. It’s annoying when someone tweets what they are doing every 5 minutes. I also know I’m guilty of being really sporadic with twitter, going several weeks without touching. It’s tough to keep up with all this social media. I really need to work on that. Having hootsuite on my phone is helpful, so I should take more advantage of that.
    Laura Jane recently posted..Sorry to Interrupt

    • melissa says

      I’ve done that too! It was a “famous social media person.” But late at night, he was tweeting like every 2 minutes– all links. GAG.

      Oh yes, HS on the phone is great! I also actually like Twitter’s own app (which is humorous since I don’t like the Twitter web version).

  17. says

    I haven’t been actively trying to get a huge following, but I’ve found that being open to mini-conversations, and asking questions will sometimes help me “meet” really interesting people. Also, I appreciate when people are polite – especially when disagreeing, or make sure to reply to the tweet instead of just to my handle. That way I can figure out which tweet they are reacting to without scrolling all over the place.

    I find it tiresome when people complain about people unfollowing or spam. We all deal with it, just block them or report them – no need to reiterate that they are they. WE KNOW!
    Kristin recently posted..Warning: Feeling Groovy (or Warm Fuzzies are So Not Me, but there you go)

    • melissa says

      I agree! Conversing is so key on Twitter and yes, it’s hard to follow some convos sometimes when people responding to a different tweet or none at all!

    • Lisa says

      I can’t tell you how much it annoys me when brands tweet out links to their Facebook page. I’m on Twitter, I don’t want to Like, Share or have anything to do with your FB page! Same for the “join us on FB links” DM after you follow someone. Unfollow!!

  18. says

    Great tips, Melissa. Fortunately, I don’t do any of these things, although, I could definitely stand to be on twitter a little more to help build my following. Thanks for sharing. Great advice.

  19. Jenn says

    Ok,ive had twitter for almost a year now.
    I have a legit pic of me
    I tweet everyday maximum 25 times a day
    I currently have 258 followers on twitter & it hasnt gone up in 5 months
    i follow 85 people on twitter,so i’m not a wierdo
    i rarely,always bubbly on twitter.
    i tweet to other people when they ask questions & most tell me: you shut up?
    I post interesting things that happen in my life like winning a celebs contest
    i also post some poems or sayings that i come up with…
    & STILL NO ONE retweets my tweets,follows me,or replies to me or talks to me or anything ;(
    Which makes me sad because i love twitter but i’m such a loner on there!
    & my friends don’t have twitter they all have a facebook only ;(
    PLEASE help? What am i doing wrong?

  20. says

    I joined twitter over 2 years ago. While I’ve never regretted the choice, but I was a skeptic at first. I was not aware of the real power, real conversations on twitter, and how twitter is going to impact my life and business.
    Alex recently posted..Stock Market Investment Advice

  21. says

    I absolutely agree with the need to change the default avatar and enter a short description. It’s probably the easiest part of Twitter (and social media in general), yet so many people ignore that or put it off and get frustrated when getting followers and connecting with others is harder than they expected. That’s a big reason why I built the Twitter Optimization Wizard – to walk a user through improving their profile.

    Thank you for the tips! Great blog!

  22. says

    Hi Melissa, great article! I know I’m a bit late reading this, but I’ve just started working on a Twitter page and I’ve got to start somewhere. Thanks for your help, do you have any tips for making tweets that people would want to retweet?

  23. says

    This is an older post… yet you just convinced me not to add DM to new followers! Thank you! :) I loved your article, and had to laugh at the relevancy of it today. I am guilty of taking Twitter breaks. I also engage some of the same people so maybe I need to try your list idea? Thanks again.

  24. says

    I’m sure someone said this up there, but I’m also suspicious of people who are following waaay less than follow them. When they follow me, my first thought is, “Are they going to un-follow me as soon as I follow them back?”

  25. says

    Mel – These are SO dead on! And I love your statement that “auto DMs are evil.” Such a nuisance to get auto-DMs which clutter your Twitter inbox and detract from the genuine messages.

    This article is a must-read for Twitter newbies (or others with bad habits).

  26. says

    Facebook was my favorite, until they got so stingy with letting my fans see my posts. I’ve now turned my attention to Twitter and G+ Definitely, if I see that someone on Twitter either has little to no activity I probably won’t pay attention to them either.

    One thing I have started to do is add a “tweet here” to some of my posts. When someone does, they are champions in my book! I go back and retweet one of theirs, too. In fact, often when I follow someone on Twitter I retweet or favorite a good post to let them know I’ve been there.

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