5 Reasons People Aren’t Following You Back on Twitter

There are a few cardinal rules of social media that many business still fail to embrace. I spend a lot of time looking through the individuals and brands that follow me, and decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not I’m going to follow them back. There are a few reasons I avoid following people back, and I would guess many others aren’t for similar reasons.

Here are 5 Reasons People Aren’t Following You Back on Twitter:

  1. You blatantly ask them to follow back. Unless this is someone with whom you have some sort of relationship and they know you want to get in touch for a specific reason, you shouldn’t be explicitly asking for someone to follow you back. Most people who do this are arbitrarily asking everyone to follow them back, when, really, who wants to follow a Twitter feed that’s polluted solely with tweets requesting follows? There’s no value there. Some even place #FollowBack in their bio. When I see any sort of messaging like that, I steer clear. This could also be broadened to asking for favors before you’ve established relationships, even if a solely Twitter-based one. Don’t target people who have larger followings and ask them to support or share about you if you’ve never once supported or shared their content.
  2. Auto DMs. Auto DMs are direct messages that can be automatically sent to any new person that follows you. This practice, overall, is not perceived well. That said, there are a few people who do it “fine,” by sending a personalized and relatively neutral “thank you for following” message. Nevertheless, 90% of people who send automated DMs do so with some sort of general sales pitch: “Thanks for following, be sure to like my Facebook page, too!” We don’t follow people with the anticipation of being sold. We follow them to attain useful information. Build relationships with people before thrusting your brand upon them. I’ve often heard that receiving an auto DM from someone constitutes an automatic unfollow.

    Fail Whale

    All Hail the Fail Whale

  3. Too much automation. This tends to be an iffy subject, but I think there’s a very defined line between scheduling content and completely automating content. With scheduling, I have specifically read and chosen information to post (even if I schedule it for a later time). With automation, content is automatically fed through to my Twitter feed from (whichever site I’ve chosen) before I’ve gotten the chance to filter, or adjust any frequency of distribution. This is risky because it can overwhelm your readers with too much at once, and/or be something that is irrelevant or inappropriate. I see so many Twitter accounts that are 99% automation, and I’ll never follow because I know it’s info I can get elsewhere, and that’s not what Twitter is about.
  4. So much talking the talk, but not enough walking the walk. Many brands and individuals these days call themselves social media marketers (or experts, or gurus, or ninjas), and there are definitely a lot of legitimate ones out there, but make sure you’re practicing what you preach. An alarming amount of these individuals have entirely automated accounts. They’re taking an industry with “social” in the title and not doing much socializing. They’re rarely actually sending out tweets themselves. They’re breaking silly rules. They say they have x, y, z experience but can’t actually show it. Be credible for your brand, whether it be a company one or a personal one.
  5. Not enough variety. You should be sure to have an array of posts, from original content (whatever that may be), to RTs/sharing the content of others, to conversation and consistent engagement. Likewise, while it’s okay to mention your accomplishments, it can get a little overwhelming you’re constantly talking about yourself, or portraying yourself as though you/your company walk(s) on water. Overdoing it tends to come across as desperate. Let your work and social media presence speak for itself (like #4 suggests), and you won’t need to make as many blatant declarations.

Are there any others you’d add?

Debbie Miller
Debbie is the Founder and President of Social Hospitality where she assists clients with social media and content marketing. She is also the Digital Communications Manager for HyperDisk Marketing. When she's not online, Debbie enjoys spending time with her spoiled dog children; watching movies; reading; and drinking copious amounts of coffee and wine.
Debbie Miller
  • Boom!

  • good stuff thx

  • Good talking points here!

  • We often wondered about the #followback in bio’s and in general.  Thanks for the great tip!

    • My pleasure. Thanks for the comment. My thought is you shouldn’t have to ask for people to follow back – they should want to do so naturally due to the value in the info your provide.

  • Great points!  Not enough variety is sooooo true.  There’s nothing worse than seeing a Twitter feed with a one sided conversation or (even worse!) only automatic feeds!

  • Stephen Kane

    There are two great reasons to like this post. First, the 5 Reasons People Aren’t Following You Back on Twitter could just as easily be – if reflected in a mirror – 5 Dynamite Ways To Get Followers. Second, you don’t have to be a social media expert or tech geek to understand, It’s in plain language that any business person can understand.

    Bottom line: there’s no fast, easy way to build meaningful relationships.

    • Thanks for the insightful comment, Stephen! You’re so right about the mirror image being true as well. Your second point and bottom line hit the nail on the head, too. 

  • @dbsalk

    Funny… a while back I started a blog post on this exact same topic. My problem is that I don’t actually manage a blog, so I didn’t have a place to post it.

    Good to see that we agree on a few points. 

    •  Glad to hear that! Let me know if you’d ever like to guest post here 🙂