Are you using Twitter? If not, you should be! If you are, how’s it coming along? Are you finding success in acquiring followers and new connections, or are you starting to find that it’s not as easy as you thought it’d be? Twitter is an interesting place and a fantastic tool for building your network in whatever area your interests lie, but it can be difficult to start off.
Probably the toughest aspect of Twitter is acquiring and keeping your followers. You might be annoying people on Twitter and not even realize it. Thus, you begin to lose the followers you worked so hard to get. So what do you do? Keeping trying to get new ones? Sure – that’s good, but if you don’t change how you’re using Twitter, you’re going to find yourself going in a circle.
In this article, we’ll explore not only how to find out if you’re losing followers, but why they’re leaving and what you can do to prevent others from doing the same.
First, Are You Actually Losing Followers?
Before you start freaking out about losing followers, you have to figure out if that’s actually the case. There are many services out there that can help you find this out. Joel recent covered a few of them, including: TwentyFeet, Who Unfollowed Me, JustUnfollow and UnFollowers.Me.
To read more about those services, I encourage you to read Joel’s article, which isn’t actually limited to Twitter, but also features some Facebook tools that do the same thing.
DO Understand & Practice “Twitterquette”
Many of the points in the rest of the article are parts of Twitter etiquette. Twitterquette is simply etiquette in the Twitter world. There’s a lot that’s involved – so much that we could designate a whole article to it… oh wait, we kind of have. Not long ago, Chris wrote an article which focused on different aspects of Twitter etiquette.
Many of the points he made in this article won’t only help you keep your followers, but also get new ones – especially if your tweets are public where other Twitter users can see your content and how you’re engaging with others.
DO Spruce Up Your Bio To Attract Followers
Aside from the content you’re actually tweeting, your bio is really the only other thing that matters on your profile, so it’s crucial that it’s up-to-date and attractive for your current and prospective followers.
1. Have Relevant & Quality Photos
Do you still have a picture of that egg? Come on – you’re better than that! You’ve got to have photos on your computer of yourself. No… not one of a flower or your cat… of YOU. Find one that’s decent and use it.
Twitter allows you to add header and background images. I took a photo of photos that I’ve taken from all over the place and added some text showing where else I’m at on the Internet. I also added a background photo with a bit of a humorous twist and included my web profiles on there as well. It was simple, but effective… at least it seems that way to me.
2. Fill Out Your Description
This is a great way to get people with the same interests as you to follow you. They’ve somehow stumbled upon your profile, either through a mutual connection, a blog post you wrote, a comment you made on their blog, etc. Now it’s time to entice them to follow you. If they share the same interests as you do, don’t you want to connect with them? You do this by putting information that you feel is relevant to your purpose for being on Twitter.
For instance, my bio says:
Now, are those my only interests? No – there are others, such as photography, basketball, tea and so on. But what I’ve included in my bio is what I’m mainly interested in communicating with others about. In other words, your bio should be a summary to show other users what you primarily tweet about.
Your bio doesn’t have to be specific to one topic, like only cooking, for instance, but it should be clear. Feel free to mix in a bit of humor or whatever your personality might be too.
DO Understand Your Niche And DON’T Change It Drastically
You’re probably on Twitter so you can connect with people in your interest group(s). You’ve created your niche through your bio description – now it’s time to live up to it. If you feel you’re not tweeting about a certain topic as much, perhaps it’s not as interesting to you as you initially thought. It’s OK to find new interests and start gearing your tweets more towards that. I personally go in trends of being obsessed about one topic, then another, but it usually stays within specific areas.
For instance, I rarely, if ever, tweet about health or cooking. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a particular interest in those areas – they’re just not where I want to focus my efforts on Twitter. If you have a cooking blog and that’s your audience, then great, but don’t start tweeting about politics… unless your audience knows that is another aspect of your Twitter account. Are you starting to see where this is going?
DON’T Tweet About Controversial Topics
Speaking of politics (oh joy)… you should be very careful of what you tweet about. Unless you really want the entire Internet to hate you, you should stay away from topics that will potentially offend the followers you value so much. In other words, if you don’t run a religious or political or [fill in the blank of a controversial topic] website/blog, don’t just run your mouth off – people will stop paying attention to you and/or publicly criticize you with less-than-flattering words.
NOTE: And don’t worry, Blake Shelton was just kidding:
As a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife I thought yall should know the Eastern Box turtle doesn't exist in Oklahoma!!!
— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) July 31, 2012
DON’T Be A Robot/Spammer/Sketchy Twitter User
What is a robot or a spammer or a “sketchy Twitter user”? Well, they’re all on different levels. I categorize sketchy Twitter users as people with three followers, some weird or off the wall Twitter handle, a picture of the egg or some inanimate object and tweets talking about “great deals” on some website. That to me is a sketchy Twitter user.
A spammer could be someone like that, but it’s subjective. It doesn’t have to be the account that replies to you with a random link. You or I might be considered a “spammer” based on the content we share. For instance, if we’re only sharing links for things to buy, with no purpose to share real content on our Twitter account, then we’d be a spammer.
Alternatively, a robot is a user who rarely or never posts tweets themselves, but instead relies on services to post content for them. I’m not talking about apps like Buffer – those are awesome (although they could technically be abused in this way). An example of this might be autoposting every blog post you write instead of manually sharing it and adding your thoughts to the tweet.
I'm open to any feedback on my latest article: 7 Tools That Will Revolutionize Your Music Listening Habits On The Web http://t.co/ReFAgPpXpF
— Aaron Couch (@aaronrcouch) April 17, 2013
Other examples of this might be only posting to Twitter from Facebook, or in Steve Wozniak’s case… from Foursquare to Twitter.
Here’s an example of someone who I actually know who does this from their Facebook. I didn’t actually think people posted only links to Twitter… guess I was wrong.
DO Limit The RT’s
Retweeting others is a great way to let them know you exist. Perhaps it’ll even instigate a conversation. But retweeting others shouldn’t be the only thing you do on Twitter, so be careful of that.
If you do retweet, I recommend sharing your thoughts if you can. Of course you can only do this if there’s room in the tweet or if you have anything to add. This improves the likelihood that your followers and the person you’re retweeting will engage with you.
NOTE: Twitter doesn’t currently allow you to edit retweets, so you’ll need a service like Buffer, which integrates into Twitter.
DON’T Be Self-Absorbed
This is along the same principles as it would be offline as well – do you like it when people only talk about themselves or when they always try to one-up your story? Probably not. Keep that same way of thinking online on social media platforms. People are following you to get something out of it for them – not to hear you blab about eating a muffin for breakfast. So unless you’re recommending a place that has great food and is currently giving away free muffins, why would they care about your overpriced blueberry muffin?
That said, we obviously post things about ourselves all the time. When you do, try to engage with your readers at the same time, by asking a question, using humor, etc. Below is an example of my own tweet where I’m talking about myself, but also making it funny in the process – the idea of the tweet is not to brag, but to make others laugh and share an exciting experience I that had.
Got peed on by a bat today. Which was totally worth it. Who can say they get to hand feed an Aye Aye? Just another day as a Keeper :P
— Aaron Couch (@aaronrcouch) April 16, 2013
DO Use Hashtags, But Not Excessively
Do you ever have those friends or people you follow that post tweets with fifteen different hashtags… annoying right? Don’t be one of them. Hashtags can be very useful in getting your tweet noticed by a larger crowd, and in return you can gain more followers.
If you abuse hashtags, however, it can result in the exact opposite. People will be turned off and annoyed – you might even come across as arrogant. Here’s an example of a tweet from a girl who’s excited that she got accepted into a college.
DO Ask People To Retweet, But DON’T Do It A Lot
If you’re wanting people to retweet you, you first need to ask yourself “Why?”. Is it because it’s crucial news that’s pertinent to a lot of people? Are you just asking for a favor in promoting something you’ve created?
There are many reasons why you might want your tweet shared with others, but don’t be putting “please retweet” or “Please RT” on every tweet. You’ll come across as desperate for attention and that’s when people start unfollowing you.
DON’T Be A Social Media Snob
Have you ever unfollowed someone because they never engage in any way with you? They never followed you back, and never replied to your comments and/or questions in regard to their tweets. And as you look at their profile more, they’ve rarely done this with anyone.
How do you avoid being a social media snob? Easy – make an effort to engage with your followers as much as possible and do everything else that’s mentioned in this article. Now I realize that you might not want to follow every person that follows you, and neither do I – it’s important to keep your network to people you’re really interested in, or who have shown a genuine interest in connecting with you. But I’m talking about intentionally ignoring tweets from your followers to seem like you’re better than them.
As I mentioned at the beginning, Twitter is an awesome tool and can be used in some pretty interesting and impressive ways. But there are some guidelines you should be following if you want the very best results.
Do you have any interesting Twitter stories that you’d like to share? What about any tips for others who are just beginning with Twitter or who are struggling to attract followers? We’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments below!
Image Credit: Y U NO FOLLOW BACK?