My Twitter follower count has been on the rise the last few weeks, which has been a great boost for my ego.
But I’m finding that I’m returning the favor for fewer and fewer people. That’s because people are either putting less effort into Twitter, they see it as a lazy way to market to a bunch of people, or they’re spammers who are trying to trick people into follow them. Here are five do’s and don’ts to get people to follow you on Twitter.
1. Do not mention money in your bio.
I don’t want financial freedom. I don’t want help in reaching my business goals. I don’t want to know how I can make more deals online. Actually, I do, but I want to get those things with someone I trust. Not someone who just joined Twitter five minutes ago. I block people like you.
2. Put something in your bio.
The only thing worse is to put nothing in your bio. At the very least, let me know what you do. I turned off the “New Follower” email notification, and only check that column in my TweetDeck. And all that shows me is your bio, which is where I make most of my follow decisions. If you don’t have anything in there, I don’t know anything about you, and I just won’t follow you.
3. Put a real picture for your avatar.
Not your logo, not a photo of your kid, or you as a kid. Put your photo in there so I know what you look like. If you put in a company logo, then I assume you want to sell me something. I want a relationship with a real person. Not your company, not your kid, not you 20 years ago (or 30 or 40). And I definitely won’t follow anyone who still has the damn Twitter egg as their avatar. You’re either lazy or don’t understand what “Upload Photo” means. In either case, I don’t think you’re going to be much help to me.
4. Use your real name.
Okay, okay, I may follow you if you’ve created a business account on Twitter. I like organizations like @ComcastCares and @BilericoProject, and will follow them. But if you’re using the name of your money making system in your Twitter handle, I’ll block you. I have never had good luck with people named @Money247 or @NuBizOnline. Maybe it’s a bias on my part, maybe the person was unluckily named by odd parents, but so far, I haven’t been proved wrong. If you want people to take you seriously, use your real name in your Twitter username, or at the very least, a variation of it.
5. You need to have real conversations in your Twitter stream, not news headlines or motivational quotes.
If you pass the first four steps, I’ll either follow you, or I’ll click over to your Twitter page. If I do that, and find that your Twitter stream is filled with motivational quotes or news headlines, I won’t follow you. I need to see that you’re having actual conversations with people, not just tweeting out garbage. Also, conversations does not mean retweet after retweet. Talk to people. I want to see back and forth, not just blah blah blah. Remember, people joined Twitter to have conversations with real people, not have commercials blasted at them. When you send nothing but headlines, you’re not doing anything useful. You may think you have a lot of followers, but trust me, no one is paying attention to you. Want to be sure? Go check your Klout score.
Unfortunately, Twitter has become another spam channel, which threatens to reduce its usefulness. And while I would love to build up my network to some staggering numbers, I’m not willing to do that at the sacrifice of effectiveness and real reach. So I’ll take a few seconds to look at each new follower and decide whether I want to follow them. For the most part, I’ll give people the benefit of the doubt, unless they’re blatantly trying to sell some money-making system (which, if it really worked, you wouldn’t be online pimping it out to me; you’d be on your own island somewhere in the Caribbean).
So if you want people to at least pay attention to you, put a little thought and effort into actually communicating with people, rather than trying to trick them.
My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available for pre-order on Amazon.com. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy, who I also helped write Twitter Marketing For Dummies (another affiliate link).
Photo credit: ®DS (Flickr)