If you want to use Twitter for personal gain, a certain amount of popularity is very much required. Without followers, you don’t have an audience. It’s therefore not surprising that most Twitter marketers obsess over how to boost their follower numbers.
What is somewhat surprising however is that many of those same marketers don’t worry about the second part of the follower equation, how to keep those that you already have. And as many eventually realize, this is equally important, if not potentially more so.
Should you find yourself with a few hundred, thousand or even million followers that you’d rather not lose, here are eight things not to do on Twitter.
Use Excess Hashtags
Like just about every popular social network, there’s no shortage of spammers on Twitter. And as a result, one of the first rules of attracting, and keeping, a following is that you must make it very clear that you’re not one of them.
Unfortunately, packing every one of your tweets with endless hashtags is a perfect example of how to do the opposite. There’s nothing wrong with using hashtags but you must do so sparingly.
Keep Repeating Yourself
If you’re looking to get the word out about a product, service or blog post, there’s nothing wrong with tweeting about it more than once. Considering international time zones, it’s perfectly understandable.
What’s not understandable however is sending out the same tweet on an almost hourly basis. This is how you lose followers, not sell to them. Never tweet the same thing more than three times.
Try to Hard Sell
There’s nothing wrong with signing up to Twitter solely for marketing purposes. Everyone knows that big corporations aren’t on Twitter to make friends. It’s important to realise however that nobody follows an account to be sold to.
And if that’s all that your Twitter account provides, you’re going to find it impossible to keep followers. For every promotional tweet that you send out, you should be sending at least five that have nothing to do with your product or service.
Tweet All at Once
Most people don’t have time to sit around all day sending out appropriately timed tweets. The temptation to write five and send them all out at once is therefore perfectly understandable.
Unfortunately however, nobody wants to hear from you five times in a minute and sending out tweets in batches is therefore a surprisingly easy way to see your follower numbers careening. Visit bufferapp.com to learn how to space out your tweets.
Use Auto DMs
While automation tools such as Buffer can help you keep followers, other automation tools can help you lose them. And a perfect example of this can be found in auto DM tools.
When somebody follows you on Twitter, there’s nothing wrong with thanking them. But if you want to do so, you must do it manually. Twitter is populated by humans and humans don’t take kindly to tweets that come from robots.
Go Off Topic
If you’re a famous celebrity, you can skip this section but if not, you need to understand the importance of relevancy. Let’s say you have a Twitter account that promises to cover the latest video games. You can generally assume two things:
First off, most of your Twitter followers are video game fans. And secondly, they followed you because they wanted to receive entertaining tweets about the subject that they love.
If you start Tweeting about sports, politics or your relationship with your girlfriend, you are always going to lose followers, and fast.
You don’t need to be an optimist to be popular on Twitter but when you’re having a bad day, it’s generally best to keep that fact to yourself.
The occasional moan never hurt anyone but if you keep filling your followers feeds with negativity, it won’t be long before you start to lose them. Be a positive voice on Twitter, not a negative one.
Finally, if you’re really getting tired of all those pesky Twitter followers, why not say something political? Just ask Katee Sackhoff of Battlestar Gallactica fame.
About a month ago, she took a pro gun stance on Twitter. She suggested that guns would never be banned in the US and that perhaps gun safety is the solution. The result? 100,000 followers lost in a matter of hours.