7 Reasons People Won’t Follow You On Twitter

by Bobby Gilles

in Church Communications

"Twitter Offers A Level Of Intimacy With Your Followers" photoOccasionally I hear from Twitter users who wish more people would follow them. Of course, many other users could care less about their follower count — they either don’t want to join the conversation, or they only want to follow a small group of people. But if you’re among those who either want to grow your Twitter audience or at least increase the percentage of people who return your follow, examine these seven reasons why I (and probably many others) are less likely to follow you:

No Bio, or No Photo

It is lazy to leave your bio/profile blank. If you want people who don’t know you to follow you, then give them a reason. If you’re a worship leader who wants to follow and be followed by other worship leaders online, then write “I’m a worship leader at ______ church” in your bio. If you’re a stay-at-home mom who blogs about topics that you believe would be of interest to other stay-at-home moms, then include this information in your bio.

On top of that, not having a profile photograph makes you look like a spammer. If you’re not including your photo for a safety reason, at least upload¬†some¬†kind of picture. If nothing else, draw a stickman, take a photo of it on your phone, and upload that to your profile. Even that would be better than the generic Twitter “egg.”

You Tweet About Yourself Too Much

As I said in my Social Media Marketing for Independent Music Bands & Artists, there is nothing wrong with tweeting links to your music, or blog posts, sermons, or whatever else you have. But don’t do it all the time. Don’t even do it the majority of the time. And use common sense when it comes to tweeting personal info and observances. It’s fine to tweet about a great restaurant meal, especially if you want local followers to visit the restaurant. But few people want details and photos of every meal you eat, or your running commentary on your favorite TV shows.

"Twittering Times" photo - woman tweeting on a smart phoneYou Use A Validation Service

Occasionally I attempt to follow someone who is using a validation service. I get an email asking me to complete my “follow” by signing up for the service myself, thereby authenticating my account. That’s too much trouble — it’s like those annoying Captcha services that bloggers use to cut down on comment spam.

Your Account Is Protected

Of course there are reasons to protect an account — perhaps you have safety/privacy issues, and you need to take extra measures to protect yourself and your family. But it does make it less likely that people will follow you, simply because it looks like you don’t want a following among those you don’t know in the “real world.”

You Have Almost No Followers, Yet You Follow Hundreds Of People

Newcomers to Twitter sometimes follow hundreds of people right away, before even publishing a tweet. Build your “following” list at a slower rate, or people may assume you’re a spammer.

You Tweet 10 Times An Hour

Or maybe 5 times, or 20 times. Everyone has a different “that’s too much” limit. Some people don’t even like to follow those who post 10 times a day. I enjoy plenty of frequent tweeters, but I won’t follow someone who posts so often that they dominate my feed. I’ve seen accounts that update every few minutes, for hours at a time each day. That’s crazy.

It’s another matter if you are “live-tweeting” a big event. Many of your followers may find this valuable. But few people (if any) want you to appraise them of every new song that starts playing on your radio.

You Hardly Ever Tweet

I follow pastors who provide spiritual insights. I follow communications professionals who provide tips on effective communication. I follow songwriters who give me some kind of glimpse into their writing life. I follow many other kinds of people who in some way inspire me, encourage me, challenge me, teach me or make me laugh with their tweets. Why would I follow someone who doesn’t even appear to use the service?

~~~

Are there any other reasons you can think of? Do you disagree with any of my reasons? I’d be glad to hear from you — you may even change my mind in some way.

And by the way, my Twitter handle is @bobbygilles. I tweet approximately 8 times a day (less on weekends) about the same kinds of things I write about here at My Song In The Night.

 

{ 5 comments }

Todd Agnew September 18, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Reason #8: You RT more than you T.

I don’t mind a RT’d thought every once in a while, if you really connected to it. But if I wanted to follow those people I would. I don’t need to see every single tweet you thought was cool. I especially don’t need to see the tweets that you think will make me think you’re cool. I want to hear your thoughts. That’s why I follow you. (Not “you” – Bobby, I mean “you” – random blog reader/tweeter.)

Bobby Gilles September 18, 2012 at 1:54 pm

That’s a great thought Todd. I like to RT but I agree that it’s weird when you follow someone who only or mostly RTs. You don’t really get a sense of who they are or what they can contribute to the conversation.

Todd Agnew September 18, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Reason #8: You RT more than you T.

I don’t mind a RT’d thought every once in a while, if you really connected to it. But if I wanted to follow those people I would. I don’t need to see every single tweet you thought was cool. I especially don’t need to see the tweets that you think will make me think you’re cool. I want to hear your thoughts. That’s why I follow you.

Timothy Pool September 18, 2012 at 7:14 pm

This is a great list, and Todd is spot on too. Along with everything from this list, mine would include:

1) Be yourself.
This issue seems like it might stem from a desire for approval. I’ll explain… I was encouraging my friend to join Twitter but he refused, saying “I’m not witty enough”. Hmm. There are some people I follow who are really entertaining because they are witty. However, “witty” isn’t mutually inclusive with “entertaining” or “successful”. Sometimes I have friends who join Twitter, and I get really excited to follow them because I know how insightful or quirky or just really positive they can be in person. But after a while I notice that they’ve adopted some kind of formulaic, culturally inspired Twitter-personality. It upsets me that people feel the need to become a clever cynic in order to contribute to the conversation. The forced “wittiness” causes a disappointing lack of substance in their tweets, and sometimes it’s so obvious that people who don’t even know you that well can see right through it. I didn’t want Twitter-Jake, I wanted Jake. Be yourself. I think if you allow your personality to influence what you choose say and how you say it, more people will want to listen.

2) Hashtag abuse.
This is actually more of a pet peeve, but I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way… For a while, there was a fad where hashtags became sort of a punchline for tweet “humor”. Example tweet:

“Bomb threat came in 2 hours ago but they wait til now to tell us…? #youvegottobekiddingme #seriouslyconcerned #imtransferring.”

Also, #itsoverwhelmingwhenyourhashtagsarethislong.

There was a time where I felt like I couldn’t escape this style of
humor. Although these shenanigans have faded for the most part, there
are still some people who do all of this. Repeat offenders of hashtag abuse are certainly not helping their chances of attracting more followers.

Bobby Gilles September 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Good points. Those really long hashtags drive me crazy too. Also, I think AT MOST you should use 1 or 2 hashtags in a tweet. It looks weird when people put a hashtag in front of nearly every word.

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