Twitter No-No’s

I have a short, negative post today, but I think it will help people get more out of Twitter and increase their follow-back potential. In no way am I a Twitter expert or a perfect Tweeter, but I see some people make glaring Twitter errors. I’m here to help.

I noticed that I have quite a few more Twitter followers than I follow back. This is not because I am a snob of any kind. I want to follow back everyone who follows me. However, when I get a follow notification I click over to the follower’s profile to “meet” him or her. If I find or do NOT find the following things, I often do not follow. Understand that while most of this is personal, I see large amounts of people on Twitter complain about these very items, so they might be worth a look. They also might be worth a look if you are following three times the amount of people who are following you.

Here is a list of reasons I do not follow based on the first impression:

  • You don’t have a description or website.
  • You don’t have a picture or graphic of some kind.
  • Your picture suggests violence or pornography.
  • You have nothing to do with writing.

If you pass the first impression, I scroll down and read your tweets. I will not follow you if:

  • Every/every other tweet is a link to purchase one of your books/ebooks.
  • You quote often from your own material.
  • You only RT.
  • You never RT.
  • You list yourself as a writer but your feed is full of posts about, say, football.
  • You have more political tweets than writer tweets.

If you pass the “feed” test it’s almost guaranteed I’ll follow you. I will immediately unfollow you, however, if you DM with a “Thanks for the follow. Check out my book/blog/website at www….

I hope I don’t seem harsh, but I’m actually posting this to help Twitter newbies. Again, I am not the authority on Twitter and I’m absolutely certain I do things that annoy others and lead them to unfollow me. I just think that some writers think of Twitter as a marketing tool but it isn’t unless you don’t use it as a marketing tool. You know what I mean?

How about you? What makes you automatically follow/unfollow someone on Twitter?


18 thoughts on “Twitter No-No’s

  1. For me, it’s like how I conduct myself in life: to be nice and polite and kind… and professional in this case since it’s a writing platform. Still, it’s all so personal! And, in addition to following many of your guidelines, I would also add this: I won’t stay a follower of someone who tweets excessive swears.

  2. I am so in agreement I could have written this post myself, Erika. Hope everyone reads this and learns something. Ditto for the DM situation. So not cool.
    This is NOT a negetive post. Just honest. 🙂

  3. I love this and I do it too. Don’t forget the spammers, just the link to a video that you can’t escape without closing the window. Ah well. I actually enjoy checking out the new folks.

    Thanks for a great post.


  4. A third person in agreement. Great post, Erika. Have also received the DMs with the thanks for the follow and suggestion to check out person’s book. Don’t care for those either, but I don’t do an immediate unfollow.

  5. Hope says:

    Thanks Erika, you’re my Twitter guru. So what about True Twit? Nothing makes me want to unfollow someone more than having to validate myself. If they can’t take the time to check out my profile why should I want to follow them in the first place?

  6. I completely agree, Erika, though I, too, have a lot to learn …
    What really is difficult for me is found in 2 things: 1) a person uses no real name and tweets 1000 times per day (instant unfollow), and, 2) when a person comments on everything I post. I’m a little torn about the latter, still, and have not resolved how to handle it well. But 2 things I love on twitter: 1) Normal, real people with a smiling photo, and 2) Real people who are informative, personable, and interesting. Thanks for the great post! -JK

  7. Nina says:

    I’m with you on all of these! Also agree with comments above about unfollowing people who OVER-tweet!

  8. Not harsh at all. I follow a similar checklist and have found myself tweeting people to say, “hey you have a great blog, but I almost didn’t follow because … ” and note the reason. If I hadn’t had the time to look at the blog, I probably would have ignored the follow request.

  9. Erika Robuck says:

    Nina–Over tweeting is a problem.

    Thank you all for your comments!

  10. This was a perfect and not negative at all. Anyone that tweets in excess will get an unfollow from me. Anyone that engages me in thoughtful, funny, original, and sincere tweets will get a follow. Also, no eggheads allowed.

    So glad you posted this and forgive me, but I may have to break the rules and tweet this to excess! 🙂

  11. Gwenelle says:

    Really enjoy this post! It’s not negative; actually, I’d call it more of a positive, honest guide of how to improve your Twitter experience. And obviously, many people – myself included – agree with you wholeheartedly 🙂

  12. Nina Badzin says:

    Erika–you’ll like my two-part Twitter post for Writer Unboxed. I wrote them a few weeks ago and they won’t go up for a few weeks, but I cover a lot of this ground and then some. You were probably nicer than I was.

  13. You nailed my biggest pet peeve…constant self-promotion. Ugh. If you help out others they’ll return the favor, and you won’t beed to become the Twitter equivalent of an infomercial!

    I’m also turned off by those who ONLY talk writing. I like my tweeps to be like book characters– well-rounded, thought-provoking and a bit introspective.

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