10 Ways to Keep Your Precious Followers on Twitter
How much do you value your Twitter followers? If the answer is "a lot", then here are some general guidelines that you should consider following if you'd like that latest follower to continue following you for the long run.
1. Be Consistent with your Tweets
People oftentimes follow a fellow Twitter user for a specific reason. Before you begin tweeting, establish a reason as to why you're tweeting and what kind of people you want following your tweets. Then, stick to that plan, making sure to keep at least 75% of your tweets directly related to that original reason.
For example: if you begin tweeting about social media marketing, make sure to continue tweeting about social media marketing. 9 times out of 10, people are following you for your insight and news regarding the social media marketing industry. They more than likely do not want to hear about you getting ready for bed, using the restroom, going out with friends, etc. These are all very common activities that most people do, so what makes you think that most of your followers (who again, followed you for your insights regarding social media marketing) really care about day to day activities in your personal life? They probably don't.
Bottom line: If you establish yourself as a social media marketing Twitter user, then restrict yourself to talking about social media marketing. If you want to throw in a few personal tweets a week, do it, but don't go overboard. You'll lose followers, and you'll annoy your subscriber base.
2. Quality is Greater than Quantity
If you find yourself tweeting on a minute-to-minute basis or several times an hour, then you probably need to take a step back and reassess the quality of your tweets. Before you tweet, ask yourself if your followers will find the tweet useful. If the answer is no, then you may want to think about keeping it to yourself. One of my biggest reasons for unfollowing people is because they tweet way too much. Seriously, this isn't a competition. Who cares how many times you've tweeted! Lower is better, in my opinion, as it immediately lets people interested in following you know that:
- you aren't going to clog up their Twitter feed with completely useless information
- you know that quality is greater than quantity
If you find yourself tweeting as much useless information to your followers (who are following you primarily for professional/business-related reasons than personal ones) as the guy in this video, then chances are you need to reassess the quality of your tweets and slow down a little bit. Hey, I'm sure you're an interesting person - just slow down a little!
3. Separate Accounts for Personal/Family and Professional/Business
I wish more people would follow this suggestion. If you find yourself tweeting about your personal life quite often but have people following you for professional/business-related reasons, then do yourself (and your followers) a solid favor and create another Twitter account which can be used for personal use.
Separating your personal tweets from your professional tweets is a guaranteed way to retain more followers and not annoy people. As mentioned above: if people are following you for your insight on social media marketing, then they don't want to hear about each time you're stepping away from the computer, taking a walk outside, or walking your dog. Again, these are very common activities that nearly everyone participates in, usually quite often.
Bottom line: if you have people very close to you who would be interested in up-to-the-minute tweets about your personal life, then why not make a personal Twitter account to share these updates? And if you do want to make your personal Twitter account available to the public, write a brief blurb in your bio explaining the common information that you'll be sharing with this account. This way, people will be getting exactly what they want. You could even make your personal Twitter account private. Finally, add a link in your professional Twitter account linking to your personal account, and vice-versa.
4. If Posting Links, Provide Commentary
Since millions of people are using Twitter, it's important to try to differentiate yourself from the pack. All too often, people just ReTweet and post links to articles without including any commentary or information on why they posted the link. Make sure that if you're going to post links on a regular basis, provide brief commentary as to why you posted the link or what you think about the link. After all, Twitter is more than a link sharing service.
5. Balance Self Promotion with Sharing
One of the single greatest complaints I see from people using Twitter is that some users tend to promote themselves way too much. Self promotion is perfectly fine, however, don't go overboard. Use self promotion in moderation. The phrase "pay it forward" goes a long way. Promote other people (who you can vouch for) and if they know you as well as you know them, then they will most likely return the favor.
Being promoted from another reputable source other than yourself is far more advantageous and beneficial, anyways.
6. Maintain Good Twitter Etiquette
Just like in the real world, most people are immediately turned off by people who exhibit and practice poor etiquette. Here are some ways that you can practice a top-notch etiquette on Twitter:
- Observe your Follow to Followers ratio: People who have a few followers but are following hundreds or thousands of people immediately come off as a spammer. Ideally, you should have more people following you than the number of people you're following (this really applies to a professional/business account; a personal account with friends and family does not apply to this rule as much).
- Don't Twitter in an altered state: Unless you're a known drug/alcohol user and people generally expect raunchy, misspelled, and offensive tweets, avoid tweeting when you're under the influence. You can inadvertently hurt your image which may lead to people losing respect for you which then may lead to people unfollowing you.
- Small conversations should be kept private: Embrace direct messages over using @ when transmitting information that only a single person needs to read (for example, making plans to go out to eat with someone). Again, most people don't care that you're going out to eat, unless you're going to a really interesting restaurant (a restaurant that your followers would find interesting, that is).
- Generally, what's rude in the real world is rude on Twitter: If your tweets are not private, then anyone in the world can view what you are saying. If you're being rude, mean, or just plain nasty to people, eventually people are going to catch on and start calling you out on it. Trust me, you don't want to be a public enemy on Twitter. Just be nice. If you disagree with someone, just tell them that you agree to disagree (or say nothing) and move on.
- Avoid correcting small accidental tweets: If you make a small spelling mistake, avoid following up with a brief tweet correcting yourself. People generally accept and understand the simplicity and speed behind tweeting and will more than likely just dismiss (or completely miss) the spelling mistake.
- Try to keep within the character limit: If you're new to Twitter, the limited character limit can take some getting used to. That being said, try your best to send a complete thought in one tweet. Spanning a thought across multiple tweets can oftentimes confuse (even annoy) followers.
Here is a great article I found on Twitter etiquette that lists a few more important points that you should try to follow.
7. Avoid Controversial Topics
A great way to lose tons of followers very quickly is to tweet your opinion about a very controversial topic - especially if your opinion lacks any factual information, maturity, or intelligence. Share your controversial opinion over DM. I have unfollowed a number of people simply because I wasn't following them for their political insight, but for some reason, they felt compelled to share it. The one exception is if people are specifically following you for your opinion on controversial topics.
If your Twitter account is primarily used for professional/business-oriented use, then you most certainly want to avoid tweeting your opinion about controversial topics. Not only may you lose followers, but your professional image/business may be tarnished.
8. Interact with your Followers
I make an effort to respond to every person who contacts me via Twitter. For some people with tens-of-thousands of followers, this may be unrealistic. However, if you only have a few hundred/thousand followers and/or receive a few @'s or DMs a day, then it really isn't too difficult to respond to everyone. Most people are using Twitter as a tool for interaction. If you're not going to interact with someone when they initiate communication that warrants a response, then what's the point of them following you?
9. Direct Message Etiquette
First impressions are everything. If a stranger decides that he/she wants to follow you (and you follow them back), send them a brief DM thanking them for taking the time to follow you. Also, let them know why you decided to follow them back. If you're really serious about following someone, then I believe it is extremely important to take a second to communicate with them. Briefly get to know who and how they are. It will make their tweets much more interesting to you. In addition, the follower will be less likely to unfollow you in the future - especially if you, from time to time, engage in conversation with them via DM.
Avoid self-promotion during the first few DM's. Twitter users are very skeptical of people who promote themselves via DM within minutes/hours of following someone.
10. Try to Tweet on a Daily Basis
As with blogging, tweeting on a fairly consistent basis is important. This isn't to say that you want to tweet just for the sake of tweeting (remember, quality is better than quantity). However, people tend to unfollow people who haven't tweeted for a while ("a while" is completely subjective; to some people, "a while" is a few weeks; to others, it's a few days).
If possible, try to tweet one relevant, interesting, quality tweet a day. Can't do it? No big deal. But quality tweeting done on a consistent basis will help you build quality followers over time.