Your Twitter following isn’t growing. You don’t know why. You’ve tried everything, and you have no clue what to do next. But, what if the problem exists because of what’s already there? Are you even getting the basics right? Before you delve into growth tactics, there are simple things which may be getting in your way. Perhaps the signals you’re sending out aren’t inviting people in. Time to stop and take a good, hard look at it before you go any further.
Twitter is kind of my thing. It’s been the easiest platform for me to grow. The beauty of Twitter is that there’s such an active community on there and, better yet, despite some of it’s annoying features, there are no algorithms to hold you back.
The result of my fast growth on Twitter is either people thinking I’ve bought my followers (which I’d never do because I can think of 1001 things I’d rather spend money on) or people asking me how I’ve done it. They’ll come to me and ask if I can take a look at their account and tell them what they’re doing wrong.
Let’s kick this off with an important message.
What I’m about to share isn’t the be all and end all – it’s based on my opinions and the reasons I choose not to follow people. I’m fairly generous with following, especially when it comes to other bloggers. That said, there are some things I see and they immediately make me think twice. Others may think completely differently to me, and that’s fine. I don’t believe in trying to assert rules of a “right way” and a “wrong way” of doing things, so the following are just suggestions.
You might read through this list and think “crap, I do that!” So, listen: just because you’re doing some or all of these things doesn’t mean you should feel bad about yourself. It is, in no way, intended to do that. It’s meant to inform you so you can make tweaks and, hopefully, get your account off the ground.
You came to this post because you wanted to know why your Twitter following isn’t growing, so let’s have a look at some possibilities.
1. Your account is purely promotion.
Brand, blogger or business, if you’re shoving what you have on offer down people’s throats, they’re not going to want it clogging up their timeline.
Do I use Twitter as a tool for promotion? Of course I do. Five or six tweets a day are to promote my blog posts. But, I actually get quite uncomfortable if I don’t get the chance to tweet or retweet other things in between. Looking at my own profile being full of promo irritates me as much as seeing it on someone else’s.
We get it – you’re using social media as a marketing tool. That’s cool. You just need to remember that there’s a fine line, and if I come to your profile and you haven’t done anything else for days, I’m not clicking that follow button. This covers purely promoting your blog, your product or your other social media profiles.
Once you’re mixed into my timeline, you’re maybe thinking it won’t matter. They won’t be consecutive, after all – the content from others I follow will mix in and it’ll all be good. You’re not wrong but, right now, this is the first impression I’m getting of you.
Treat Twitter as a behind the scenes. Give people snippets of your life beyond your blog or business. Share your thoughts about random things. Provide little nuggets of wisdom. Terrifying as it is sometimes, be you! It’s the best way.
2. All you do is retweet other people.
I am the first to shout about how important it is to support others. One of the best – and easiest – ways to do this is to retweet them.
Yet, if that’s all you’re doing, is there any point in me following you? If I follow you, it’s because I want to see YOUR personality, and what you’re about. It’s great to be generous with your retweets but if that’s all I can see – how am I supposed to find you in amongst all of that?
Worse still, if all you do is retweet celebrities, I’m out.
3. You have blatantly obvious automated tweets.
By this, I don’t mean scheduled tweets, but rather the ones along the lines of “I’ve had x amount of unfollowers this week.” What this tells me is that you’re a little hung up on numbers. If you want to know that information, no worries – just don’t broadcast it for everyone to see.
Often, I think people simply forget to turn it off whenever they sign up for these services, but I’m not going to follow you and hang about until you’ve done it. What if you never do?
4. You don’t have a Twitter bio.
Come on. Stick a few lines in there about how AWESOME you are…
…Okay, maybe not. I can’t imagine bragging will do you any favours. I can tell you what will, though: showing people a little bit of spark. Or, at the very least, give people an opportunity to think “hey, we have something in common.”
I see the words “cat lady” in a bio, I’m sold. Similarly, when the words “mental health advocate” make an appearance, I’m tempted to follow this fabulous person who is fighting for a cause so close to my heart. These are personal things which instantly draw me to the account owner. If you’re going for a more professional vibe, then at least let people know what it is you do.
Writing bios is hard, especially when they’re so short, but give it a go. You can always edit it, but give people something to work with. If you need a hand, take a look at this article for some guidance.
5. Your profile picture is a logo, or something else impersonal.
I actually have mixed feelings on this. The reason I’m including it in this list is simple: other people have told me they don’t like it. Who is behind the account? Who am I connecting with?
Social media is about networking, connecting and building relationships. Whether those are personal or professional, people still yearn to know who is at the other side.
I get that not everybody is comfortable with having their picture on there, which is why I’m a little more forgiving – especially if I can tell it’s a blog logo. Yet, if it’s a generic stock image or what looks like clip art, I’m less keen because it doesn’t really tell me anything about you.
6. You only use it to share Instagram links.
I see this a lot less often than I used to, but if this is the case, I might follow you on Instagram, but following you on Twitter? Pointless.
Again, maybe this is automatic and you haven’t turned it off. The message it sends is that you’re more active over on Instagram than Twitter, so why should I bother following you on both?
7. You’re not original.
Don’t panic – this is a very specific example, and I’m not about to pick apart personalities.
What I mean by this is, if your timeline is full of thoughts and quotes that are not your own, I’m not interested. The occasional one is cool, and I’ve been known to do it myself.
I’m talking about tweet after tweet of words that you didn’t write. Perhaps this is because I’m fascinated by other people and utterly intrigued by who they are, so I want to know about them. Not the same old quote I’ve seen a thousand times. If I wanted to read this stuff, I’d follow accounts specifically for that.
8. You hashtag every word.
This could be a personal pet peeve of mine, I’m not sure, but when your tweets are exclusively hashtags (or near enough), I quickly lose interest. It’s excessive and unnecessary.
Up to now, I haven’t decided what irks me more – when people create a sentence with hashtags, or when it’s just random hashtags thrown together.
I understand the logic. You’re trying to reach as many people as possible, but you don’t need every single word to be a hashtag to achieve that. Personally, with the exception of retweet accounts, I don’t see hashtags as overly important in general. You can search a normal word or phrase and still find what you’re looking for. But, if you want to use them, then by all means, do so – just pick a few specific ones.
Now, if you’re not doing any of these things and your Twitter following isn’t growing, then I’d like to point you in the direction of this post. It’s pretty much the flip side of this post, and has 8 suggestions for how to grow your Twitter.