It can be really difficult to keep your following count below your follow account. Here are some tips to help you decide which accounts could be unfollowed to keep you in that sweet spot.
# Zero tweets from follower
It may be tempted to follow someone with no tweets, but they have a high follow/following number. The problem is you have no idea what their tweets are going to be like when they start. There are quite a few porn or spam accounts that will suddenly come alive once their numbers hit a set target. What you don’t want is your following feed to be full of tweets that could embarrass you or your company.
# No profile description
I won’t follow anyone without a profile description, regardless of how many follow them. It is very easy to pay for followers so you really don’t have much of clue if the account is real or not. Without a profile description you don’t know what kind of account it might be. Bots tend to use strings of letters and numbers, have no profile image and no description. I would lose any account like that.
It’s important to make sure that YOU have a profile description. It will increase the chances of someone following you back!
# Inactive accounts
My rule of thumb is ‘if you haven’t tweeted in 3 months, I unfollow’. If, like me, you’ve had your account for a number of years, you’d be surprised just how many people fall into this category. The first time I ever did this I discovered over 500 accounts that hadn’t tweeted in months… some of them hadn’t tweeted in years. I’m now in the habit of checking for inactive accounts once every month or so, using tools like unfollowerstats.com or manageflitter.com.
You may find your follower numbers take a hit after this but I think it is worth it. If they have the time to still be actively following and unfollowing… but they don’t have the time to tweet, well I’m not that interested in their account anyway.
Likewise if you’re about to follow someone, it can be worth checking how long it has been since their last tweet. If they haven’t tweeted in a year is it worth following them and will they even follow you back if their account is that inactive?
# Retweet fetish
As your account grows you start to notice patterns. Lately I am seeing an increasing number of accounts that don’t post anything from themselves, they simply get their tweet post numbers up by doing nothing but retweeting.
While it is possible that what they retweet is good, I am wary of following any account that has a 100% retweet ratio. I do follow some but I would say the percentage of accounts I follow back is around 10% if they only ever retweet. Yes, I check every account and their activity before I follow back!
If you’re struggling to lose some follows to keep in that ratio sweet spot then this is the type of account I would drop.
Some accounts will wait for you to follow them back and then they unfollow you. This is pretty common and when deliberate, is an underhanded way of keeping ratios low. I check weekly if someone has done this to me and I would say around 15% of new followers do this.
Sometimes is isn’t their fault. Twitter still has an issue where it will suddenly unfollow everyone in your list. It could be because you’re following and unfollowing too many accounts and it is taking action against you. Sometimes is just happens.
I hope this helps you manage your ratios a little better.