The other day, a close friend of mine relayed a rather hilarious anecdote about a Twitter account she had recently unfollowed. “Every tweet,” she laughed, “was punctuated with seven to 10 exclamation marks. Every single tweet!!!!!!!!!!”
Though we chuckled about why anyone would want to waste 10 of their allotted 140 characters by violently exclaiming something, we began to think: What makes someone click the “Unfollow” button on a person’s profile? What are the underlying reasons behind a decision that is usually made instantaneously?
If you’ve ever wondered something along those lines, you’re in luck. Here are seven ways you can lose Twitter followers, and what you can do to prevent it:
Your Twitter feed is repost after repost after repost.
Whether you’ve set up your Twitter account to automatically tweet your Facebook posts, or you share every single one of your Instagram photos to your Twitter feed, don’t do it. It’s lazy and sloppy, and it’s likely your message is getting truncated (or worse, lost) beyond the point of recognition or clarity.
You have 140 characters to work your magic, so do so.
Caps lock is your best friend.
I’m a big fan of the occasional word or turn of phrase in all caps. But an entire tweet? 140 characters of nonstop screaming? We don’t think so.
Carefully consider what you’d like to emphasize and capitalize it accordingly. BOOM.
You have the word “followback” in your Twitter bio.
The word elicits a visceral reaction and sends shivers down our spines. “Followback,” and its evil twin, “#TeamFollowback,” have no place on Twitter—a platform meant for fostering meaningful relationships of substance. Just because someone follows you doesn’t mean you have to follow back. You should connect with accounts that can help you grow and learn, not because you like to see your follower numbers grow. Connect with the right accounts, and they will grow.
Shortened URLs? What’s that?
Goo.gl and bit.ly and ow.ly were created for a reason. Use them to shorten unsightly, ridiculously long URL addresses. Your followers will thank you.
You only tweet about yourself, to yourself.
If, after scrolling through your feed, we see zero interaction, we can’t help but wonder if you are a human being. All those tweets and not one directed at another Twitter user? What are you even doing on Twitter?
People don’t want to just read your tweets. They want to interact with you. Engagement is everything.
#Every #thing #is #a #hashtag.
Life isn’t an endless series of hashtags. Your Twitter feed shouldn’t be, either. Hashtag keywords strategically and conscientiously—”#a” should never be a thing. Ever.
You’re a fan of subtweeting.
If you’re not familiar with subtweeting, it’s indirectly tweeting about someone without mentioning their name. Petty stuff, if you ask us, and it truly has no place on the World Wide Web—nor on your Twitter feed.
Now go ahead, clean up your act and keep those Twitter followers you’ve worked so hard to amass.
Aimee Woodall is the founder and leader of the flock at The Black Sheep Agency, a Houston-based creative agency specializing in non-traditional public relations, social media, and experiential marketing. Check out the agency’s blog, where a version of this story originally appeared.