An often regurgitated, un-credited tweet states that ‘Twitter makes me want to have a drink with people I’ve never met and Facebook makes me want to throw drinks over people I know’. A great analogy, I’m sure you’ll agree. Wouldn’t it be great if we could keep it true?
Type ‘how to use Twitter’ into your favourite search engine and you will be bombarded with low quality articles written by self-proclaimed ‘social media gurus’ that claim to know the secret to limitless followers, earning potential for your business or some other golden-egg-laying goose for ‘winning’ Twitter.
If you ask me, it’s all snake oil, as often these so-called experts appear to work with a ‘do what I say, not what I do’ attitude, offering advice that warns you not to do things like over share the same link, but if you follow them, you end up with your timeline bombarded with exactly the automated, impersonal, spammy tweets they were down-talking and steering you away from.
So forget social media ‘gurus’ and their SEO pieces, here are the common Twitter behaviours that repel actual, genuine, non-bot, got-the-app-on-their-phone-and-check-it-regularly users that may explain why your unfollow-rate is irritatingly high.
Is yours empty? Not follow for you then. Do you have #teamfollowback
or any variation of it in your bio section, there is no chance I (or any self-respecting grown tweeter) will be going anywhere near that follow button. ANYWHERE NEAR IT. It’s follow-poison. Most people on Twitter need a reason to follow someone- witty updates, useful links, conversation. A hashtag demanding a follow? Nah.
Same if you fill it with symbols rather than words. You may think those hearts and squiggles are ‘cute’ but they’re not. Honest. Unless you’re thirteen. In which case- haven’t you got some homework to be doing?
Use your bio to tell us a little about you- what you do, your interests, ANYTHING- that’s what it’s there for.
I love me some football (that’s soccer, not the one where only one player on each side is allowed to kick the ball… Crystal Palace, thanks for asking) but a little while ago, I had to unfollow every footballer whose account I kept track of. The reason? People begging for retweets. I follow zero ‘celebrities’ for the same reason. Seriously, people- when your favourite singer/actor/athlete does retweet your message, their followers just see your cloying, sycophantic plea… Yay? I must be missing something...
Do you find yourself writing loads of updates that stretch across multiple tweets in order to tell a long story or express a strong opinion? How about writing a blog post and sharing it in a single tweet? After all, that’s what blogs are for.
I’ve also noticed, over the last year or so, that it has become popular to finish every tweet with two or more hashtags. But not regularly used hashtags, like #amwriting or #smallbiz, just something random. Want an example? Here’s one: I could eat a hamburger right now #feelinghungry #ilikeburgers
WHY? Just because you can use hashtags, doesn’t mean you have to every time. Combine these with inane updates about food, being bored or reality television and you have my cursor heading for that unfollow button. I know I’m not the only one.
Automated Tweets and DMs
If I follow you and I receive an automated DM (direct message) mechanically welcoming me but aggressively directing me to your website at the same time, I’m not sure our e-relationship will ever get off the ground.
Maybe you have connected your account to an RSS feed that automatically tweets news stories featuring a few carefully selected key words. A tweet every few hours is great, I may even click a few and have me a read, but one every few minutes and the only clicking I’ll be doing will be to remove your presence from my timeline. You know the phrase ‘everything in moderation’? It still stands.
When I get a new follower, the first thing I do is click on their profile and have a good ol’ snoop… Read the bio, have a look at some recent tweets- the usual. But what’s that? You follow in excess of 95678 accounts and have a suspiciously similar number of followers? Hmmm.
I’m no detective, but something tells me you’re not following me for my witty observations and obscure YouTube finds…
So there you have it. No promises, no boasts; just a few suggestions for retaining followers that want to engage, rather than just get their follower numbers up. Each to their own and all that, but wasn’t social interaction the reason sites like Twitter were created in the first place?
Have I missed anything or do you think I’ve been a bit harsh? I’d love to hear from you.