Why do people follow and then unfollow on Twitter?

Have you ever wondered why your follow ratio hovers around a certain number, even though you have quite a few new followers? It’s a common problem with a few answers…

# Your content

There are several things you can do that will harm your ability to gain or keep hold of new Twitter followers. This include:

  • Endless automated “Thank you for following” tweets
  • Nothing but re-tweets
  • Sending out automated DM’s
  • Other automated tweets like “XX people unfollowed me today”
  • Your following ratio being well above your follow ratio
  • Endlessly re-tweeting the same tweets over and over
  • Your pinned tweet is months, or even years old

So let me go through these with you…

Endless automated tweets

Any type of automated tweet sticks out a mile. The majority of people on Twitter know it’s automated. On some of the automated tools it even links to their own website to promote their tool.

If your timeline is mostly ‘thanks for following‘ or ‘xx people unfollowed me‘ people will be much less likely to follow you or stay with you.

A much nicer way of saying thank you is to ‘like’ some of their latest tweets, or re-tweet their pinned tweet, or even some of their other good tweets. Yes that can take time but you’re much more likely to keep a follower if you’ve taken the time to look at their account, rather than automating a reply that the majority know is a bot doing the work for you.

Endless Re-tweets

There is a ratio of tweets and retweets that works well. The ratio is 80% tweets and 20% retweets.

Some people use retweeting as a way to buff up their tweet numbers, with nothing but constant retweeting. This can stand out as something fishy.

There are tools that automate retweeting so again, it can make your account look fake or spammy.

If you’re struggling for content then RSS feeds and Google alerts can be a good way to source fresh content relating to your business or interests.

People are more likely to be interested in your opinions, rather than retweeting others. I tend to check the last several tweets of new followers and won’t follow them back when they have nothing but retweets in those last several tweets.

Endless tweeting the same tweets

I do tweet out content I’ve tweeted before but I do so with long gaps between them, usually three to four weeks apart, and at a different times of the day.

I do have one self-promotional tweet that sometimes goes out once a week and occasionally it gets commented on, even though they are days apart.

Don’t constantly retweet the same tweets over and over. If you’re using scheduling tools, make sure the rescheduled tweets account for just 10 to 20% of that days tweets.

Automated Direct Messages (DM’s)

There is nothing worse than logging in each day to see dozens of automated DM’s from people thanking me for following them, asking if I can also like their Facebook or Instagram account or telling me I must immediately download their latest whatever.

I have several accounts I manage. The DM’s from all of them are fed into a single column on Tweetdeck. For every 200 direct messages I receive, only 1 or 2 out of those 200 are not automated, bot generated spam that simply put, wastes my time. If you really, really have to auto DM, then give me a reason to follow you on other channels, tell me why I need to download or check out your latest product.

On Twitter chats someone will ask for more followers and I will follow them from several accounts. A few minutes later I receive the same automated spam several times for each of the accounts I followed them with. I will immediately unfollow from every account and block that user.

Setting up any type of automated direct message will affect your follow rates.



Simon Day

If you have a wedding, portrait, event or festival coming up please contact me. Likewise for portraits. Check out my social media channels: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter