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Disclaimer: The views expressed on stopthinksocial are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.
Sunday
Jul032011

« How NOT to get Twitter followers »

My Twitter stream is an essential part of my business and my life (yes I have the S.A.D disease where there is no cure). I have put an extraordinary amount of time into identifying the right knowledge flows that are both inspirational and informative to me and my business.

Whilst building up my Twitter stream there were certain idiosyncrasies that instantly put me off following someone. I thought I would share these with you in the form of How NOT to get Twitter followers, as I am sure I am not alone here in my thoughts.

Disclaimer: These are based on using your Twitter account for business purposes not for personal use (though many of the idiosyncrasies would still come into effect for personal use too!)

How NOT to get Twitter Followers

1. Don't use your own Human Face as your Twitter Avatar

These are just some of the classic examples I came across:

  • Using your pet - People do business with people not with their pets. Am I really going to take you seriously if I am tweeting with Mr. Snuffles?
  • Adding funny clown hats and fake moustaches - Why on earth????
  • Using your company logo - unless you are a well established enterprise, then I would not recommend this. I am more likely to build a relationship with you when I see a human face than a nice company logo
  • Using the default Twitter Avatar - To me this shows you don't understand how social media or business works. Therefore I am unlikely to contact you....ever
  • Using a cartoon image - Hahahaha but I am not going to contact you...
  • Using a picture of your loved one or baby - Awww isn't that sweet....still not going to contact you.....
  • Using a provocative picture - Yes I may contact you but not for the reasons you would like me to....

2. Starting your Twitter Bio with Personal Stuff

Yes, you maybe a proud dad of two and a wonderful husband, but don't include that in your bio. Your Twitter bio has a limited number of characters - use it wisely to give a good impression of you and your business.

If you MUST add that info, add it at the end never at the beginning. I'm busy, I might only read the first 5 words of your bio before making a decision to follow you or not.

3. Having an Animated Twitter Avatar

If the thought is that you will stand out from the crowd, you succeeded. But not for the reasons you would like me to think. You want your tweets to stand out from the crowd not your Avatar!

(I saw one recently with a rotating head - WHY????)

4. Using Strange Twitter Names

Having Twitter names like "ILuvSocialMedia" or "Ifollowbaccc" is an immediate put off for me. I want a face and a name to do business with. Which leads me nicely on to my next idiosyncrasy...

5. Including Follow Back in your Twitter Bio

Adding "I'll follow you back" in your bio is a big no no. I don't want anyone to follow me back just because I follow them. I follow people because I hope they will be inspirational and informative in their tweets to me and I continue to follow when they do. I hope my followers think the same of me.

(btw If you are that desperate for friends, go down to your local pub and buy everyone a drink!)

6. Adding words like "Expert" and "Guru" to your Twitter Bio

Only other people can call you an expert or guru. If you include it in your bio it suggests you need convincing of the fact not others (bit of Sigmund Freud deep thinking here...)

7. Not Tweeting Regularly

If you don't tweet regularly you either have nothing to say or you don't understand social media. Either way why would I want you in my Twitter stream?

8. Tweeting about Personal Stuff

Some personal stuff is ok, it shows a human side to you and your business. But if you do it regularly I will unfollow you. My advice is to use Facebook for your personal stuff, or at the very least have a separate Twitter account for personal stuff so if people are interested they will follow your personal account.

9. Not Listening or Engaging with Others

If you are just constantly pushing out your own content and not listening to, or engaging with me then why would I continue to follow you? (see my previous post Twitter: Learn to listen and stand out from the crowd...)

10. Ignoring your Klout Score

Ok, this might be a contentious inclusion here whilst it is still in beta mode, but I believe Klout will play an influential role on Twitter when it comes to business (see http://klout.com/). Where there is an over-crowded market in what you and your business have to offer, what is going to make you stand out from the crowd?

Klout will show how other people perceive you and how influential you are when it comes to your area of expertise. This could be the deciding factor when all other things are equal.

Some Final Pearls of Wisdom

Remember, your Twitter account is just an extension of you and your business - a great social communication channel in a very public arena. Take Twitter seriously and treat the people that follow you with respect. Who knows where that next lead or opportunity will come from...

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Reader Comments (4)

You have made me question how I use Twitter. Well you and Google+. Whilst I am social rather than business I agree with the majority of points. Still trying to decide whether to change my Twitter avatar to my photo or not. I tend to look at the avatars in my feed and prioritise reading my favourites if short on time. If I lose the whole Geeky Mummy branding, not sure what impact that might have as my logo is quite distinctive but photos do get lost. hmmmm food for thought.

btw - didn't know you can have animated Twitter avatars - spinning head would worry me too.

July 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGeeky Mummy

Great post. Here are my thoughts

- as well as not tweeting regularly, tweeting too much can be a put off. It's important to strike a balance. I think an average of 3/4 updates (not including @reply conversations are about right)
- engagement is vital. If I look at a Twitter account that has hardly any @replies then I tend not to follow it.
- I've had a look at Klout and my understanding is that they are tinkering with the algorithm at the moment. I do think this has huge potential as an indicator of who are the best people to follow. I've also recently becoem aware of something called Empire Avenue which I think has the same aim, although I still need to spend more time in it.

Overall my recommendation is that people should experiment with different approaches and find out what works best for them. At the end of the day you're never going to please everybody all the time.

July 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Bradley

Yep, good selection. I would add @peerindex to @klout, by the way, in your #10.

July 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Walker

@steve - Thx for the comment. Not heard of @peerindex but i guess it's another way to measure influence?

July 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterDavid Christopher

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