We have talked many times about how to increase your followers and the number of people you engage with on Twitter and other social networks. The problem is, we may be doing all kinds of great things to attract more followers, but then sometimes those people unfollow us! As a “what not to do” list, there are several mistakes you may be making on Twitter already that are costing you followers.
1. Spam Links
Your Twitter feed should not be a non-stop barrage of links back to your website. You can certainly include links in tweets, but the tweets should also have a message of some kind, whether it’s the title of the article or a quote or opinion, and the links need to be shortened whenever possible. Similarly, do not fill your tweets with Hashtags. Use Hashtags sparingly and appropriately. Tweets that contain nothing but Hashtags contain no valuable information at all.
2. It’s All About Me
Do not make your Twitter feed all about you and what you’re doing at any given moment. There’s a distinction between having a personality and being overly personal. As a business, if you’re going to post commentary on Twitter, always ask yourself if you would be interested reading what you’re about to say, if it came from someone else. What value are you providing?
3. Always Asking for ReTweets
This advice comes with a lot of debate. Statistics have suggested that putting “Please RT” or some other variation in your tweets will generate far more retweets and engagement on Twitter. However, it’s been suggested that such activity appears unprofessional, perhaps even bossy, and that in general, most Twitter users don’t actually appreciate it. I suggest adding “Please RT” only when you’re sharing information that you think friends of your fans need to know and would appreciate.
4. No Conversation
While Twitter conversations are restricted, they’re still conversations. Twitter is a social network after all, so be social! If someone follows you on Twitter and all you ever do is share news stories, there’s no engagement. I will be more interested in what you have to say if we’re able to “connect” in meaningful ways through conversation and interaction. Thank people for retweeting you or mentioning you, answer questions and ask questions in response.
5. Don’t Ever Follow Back
This is another area of debate within Twitter, but the idea is that if you don’t follow back, people will unfollow you. While that may be sometimes true, I advise my clients not to blindly follow everyone that follows them, but to be strategic about it. If you don’t ever follow anyone, you will certainly be perceived as some kind of elitist who thinks they’re a celebrity. It also means you’re missing out on half of the value you could be getting from Twitter. Instead, follow leaders in your industry, news sources, contemporaries, colleagues, and anyone who fits within your target demographic and market. You must be willing to follow your customers and potential customers and be willing to interact with them.
If you work on providing value to your followers, and seek to engage and interact with them, you’ll not only keep the followers you have, but also present a far more interesting and compelling business and Twitter presence that other people will want to follow and engage with. If you haven’t already, please follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Mike_Allton and I can engage with you there!
Image courtesy of screenpunk, Flickr.