8 Reasons No One’s Following You On Twitter

by Marian Schembari on May 28, 2010

I don’t want to be that person. That person who has more followers than followees. I’ve been getting a lot of Twitter requests lately though from people who aren’t spammy, but act like it. Um. Dear People, I don’t want to follow you when you’re this oblivious.

This post is about how your profile first looks to potential followers. This post is about looking like a newbie even if you’re not. This post IS NOT about content. I’m just going to assume you’re sending out quality shit, with a fair amount of conversing and retweeting in there for funsies.

Want to know if you’re one of them? Curious if what you’re doing is hindering your Twitter success? The title’s a little self explanatory, so let’s just jump right in, shall we?

Don't do this...

8 Reasons You’re Not Getting Twitter Followers

1. Your profile info isn’t complete.

If I don’t know your real name, who you are and what you do, I won’t follow you.  I’m also much more likely to follow people who have a link to some sort of website, blog or – at the very least – a LinkedIn profile.

2. You’ve only tweeted one or two times. Or worse, never.

How will I know whether or not I should follow you unless I know what kind of stuff you tweet about? TIP: Before you start following anyone, make sure you’ve tweeted enough times to fill the page. HOWEVER. Don’t do it all at once because then when someone does start following you you’ll clog up their home feed. And no one likes that. To time your tweets I highly recommend HootSuite.

3. No photo! Dude, only spammers and newbies leave their Twitter avatar as the generic image.

There’s an interesting graph on Fresh Networks showing that users with a photo have around 10 times as many followers as those without. In my personal opinion (which is in no way based on fact), photos should be photos of YOU. Not of your dog, your logo or a cartoon image of yourself. Look at Pete Cashmore of Mashable. The site is a Giant but he still makes it personal by using his own image.

That being said, I know plenty of great Twitter profiles with tons of followers that use a logo. So I’ll cut you some slack there, but only a little.

4. Your background is either a) generic, or b) cheesy as hell.

A generic background says you don’t care enough to do something cool. A cheesy background (like, a really dorky photo of yourself Photoshopped over a panorama of your hometown) says your trying to sell me something. Use a favorite photo relevant to your industry or design your own background.

5. An inappropriate follower ratio.

If you follow hundreds of people at once without having any followers yourself, you start to look like a spammer. First, follow a few people you know personally and who will most likely follow you back. That way you can build up a little following so it doesn’t look like you’re a TOTAL newbie ;-)

Also, if you use a program (that-which-will-not-be-named) to get followers and use an auto-following system so you end up following 50,000 people and 50,000 followers, you’ll look insincere. So no funny business, okay?

6. You haven’t tweeted in ages.

Listen up friends, this post isn’t just for newbies and people totally out of the loop. This is for you too! Even if it’s only been a week, you’re not going to get new followers, so don’t start complaining that it “doesn’t work.” I use HootSuite to schedule tweets for when I’m busy or won’t be in front of my computer, but I tweet at least once a day, usually around 5 or 6 times. Before you start bitching that it’s too much it’s 140 CHARACTERS YA’LL! Mmm-kay?

I’m following so many people that I want to weed out the boring and inactive ones on a regular basis and I’m not the only one who does that. Once a week I use a program like Twitter Karma or Tweepi and unfollow anyone who hasn’t tweeted in the last week. So make sure you tweet semi-regularly to keep your followers and so you can keep a recent date at the top of your feed so new followers know you have your shit together and are consistently contributing new content. Find out how often you tweet here.

7. Your bio says absolutely nothing useful.

Okay, I know I mentioned an incomplete profile, but I wanted to put this separate in case you added a famous quote or, perhaps, “lover of cheese” to your bio. Irrelevant facts can be funny when called for, but you’ve got 160 characters, baby. Use it well. Read my post on About Pages to read more ranting about personal info.

8. Your profile is private.

I actually totally get why some people have private profiles. My Facebook is private because I only use it for personal reasons, but if you’re trying to use Twitter to network, do not, I repeat: DO NOT, set your profile to private. Seriously? Why in the name of God would I follow someone when I can’t see any of their tweets or info? I wouldn’t. The end.


For those of you who have this stuff and lots and lots of followers, leave a comment and tear me a new one. But before you cry because I’ve insulted you, take a good look at how you present yourself.

Click. Do it now.

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  • http://twitter.com/agostini_cf/status/91838747146072064 Francisco Agostini

    8 Reasons No One's Following You On Twitter http://t.co/eDeADpa #amwriting #writing

  • http://www.riccoauto.com ติดแก๊ส

    great post.

  • http://twitter.com/coriemichele corie

    One thing that I really look at when deciding whether or not to follow someone new is, do they actually connect with other people other than posting links.  The content of the link bares little importance most of the time.  But if they don’t have actual responses to people then I am less likely to follow them.

  • http://www.Makeanddogirl.com Make and Do Girl

    I’ve typically felt lukewarm about Twitter, but these insightful tips make me think it doesn’t have to be the bland sea of yapping that I think it is. Thanks for the helpful post.

  • Angela Daenzer

    You crack me up….each of your posts giving advice for newbies and oblivious people (for blogging and tweeting) could be written directly to me….yet I am somehow never, ever (even slightly) offended.  this fascinates me, because I think I might a bit (hopefully secretly) egotistical in other aspects of my life.  I am even currently making many (perhaps most) of the biggest mistakes you seem to commonly write about.  I don’t plan to stay oblivious….so for now it really makes me laugh.

    I’ve been blogging since summer and tweeting for about a week (following you on twitter without, luckily (because I think my style of obliviousness so far may just be the type to make you cringe), having solicited you to follow me).  There are few to no people in my area on twitter and amazingly few people I know in real life….two people in my entire email/facebook contacts lists, which statistically is pretty interesting in this day and age…so I have two real life followers and one stranger, and it just might stay that way.

    I appreciat the tools you’ve shared so that I have an avenue for gradually becoming less oblivious.

    Cheers, Angela  

  • http://twitter.com/cfidsangel/status/129618429668896769 Angela Daenzer

    Funny blog by a funny author….though I seem to naturally gravitate toward a lot of obnoxious newbie mistakes… http://t.co/wKTpvavn

  • http://twitter.com/johnpackerassoc/status/133835038981750784 Jennifer Meech

    @bam_bam_8 read this ;) http://t.co/aCaFoeRE

  • http://twitter.com/russleehansen/status/174736618647851008 Russ Hansen

    8 Reasons No One’s Following You On Twitter — Marian Schembari http://t.co/lQD9eV0m

  • http://twitter.com/lfairbrother100/status/241110566033317888 Laura Fairbrother

    8 Reasons No One’s #Following You On #Twitter, http://t.co/lVBIn6Ks

  • http://twitter.com/katneves/status/242838570778370048 Kathleen Neves

    RealTime Social Media Talk right here: Must Read! RT @MarianSchembari: 8 Reasons No One's Following You On Twitter http://t.co/Im6gdvEm

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