How I lost 1,390 Twitter followers in one month… and here’s why I’d do it again!

Before you start (or continue) to use Twitter regularly to promote your brand you need to ask yourself a few questions about why you’re here. Would you like to interact with existing customers or convince other users to invest in your product or service?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to either (or both) of these I have great news for you… you can do both on Twitter and reach audiences in a unique and productive way brands of yesteryear could only dream of.

A word of warning, though. If you’re thinking Twitter is a quick fix with instant results then look away now. I can help you find someone who’ll provide 5,000 followers for a fiver but you’ll quickly become bored and frustrated and you’ll waste your time.

Still here? Great! I’m now going to give you the lowdown on one of Twitter’s most hollow quirks, the ‘vanity’ followers who can swell your ego and your follower count, but not your bank account!

Who are ‘vanity’ followers?

Without getting too Ghostbusters about it, not everyone on Twitter is how they appear. Many accounts are merely ‘bots’ sitting behind a human profile. Some are easier to spot than others.

Don’t be alarmed – being followed by these accounts can do your reputation no harm. But it’s dangerous to form an opinion on a brand’s credibility based on their follower count alone. The purpose of Twitter is to interact, so I’d rather have five followers interested in my brand than five thousand who couldn’t give a monkey’s.

It’s easy to pick up vanity followers on purpose or by accident. You can block them if you like, though I don’t think there’s a real benefit to this unless it’s for distancing yourself from undesirables. Instead, just be aware that the success of your account doesn’t depend entirely on how many followers you have. It’s the amount of relevant followers that matters, and your worthwhile interactions.

Why should I try to cleanse myself of vanity followers?

One way to grow your audience is to follow other relevant accounts, as many will reciprocate and follow you back. This opens up a line of potentially beneficial communication. Tools like ManageFlitter can easily help you to identify who to follow, such as followers of the Twitter accounts of your competitors or other industry influencers.

Is this practice cheeky? Hmmm… a little. Is it simple and effective? Absolutely! What you need to do to make this properly work, however, is to ensure your following-to-follower ratio doesn’t get out of proportion. If you quickly follow a lot more people than follow you, Twitter doesn’t like it (they have limits for this and will suspend your account in a heartbeat).

What’s more, to users with a basic grasp of Twitter, it can make you appear desperate for any cheap follow. To gain traction you need to keep your ‘Following’ figure under control which, as I’ll describe, means losing your pointless followers.

How can I make sure my follows and followers are more relevant?

First of all, be brave and ditch some meaningless relationships. For me, using a tool like ManageFlitter can really drill down into the detail efficiently and easily. Their ‘Not Following Back’ option means you can get that ‘Following’ figure quickly and safely back down again so you can repeat the process of hunting for new, relevant accounts to follow.

Then take further steps. ManageFlitter shows you all the accounts who look like they might be ‘spammers’ (they have a proven formula to identify them). You can safely unfollow these accounts, too. If you’re feeling ruthless, unfollow accounts who are recently inactive, have a high follower-to-following ratio or a low influence.

Always keep a careful eye out to make sure you’re not accidentally unfollowing people you know or trust (use ManageFlitter’s ‘Manage Never Unfollow’ option for an easy safeguard). The aim of this practice is to reduce the number of unnecessary people you’re following. The less people you follow, the more reputable you look, on the whole.

But isn’t the point of Twitter to attract followers, not to lose them?

Yes. One of the consequences of this process is that you will definitely lose followers. As many of the accounts you unfollowed were bots, they’ll automatically unfollow you as well in time. But look at it like this: would you rather wave goodbye to one of your best friends or 5,000 mannequins?

It’s a brave person who actively kisses goodbye to followers. Just remember: you would have gained zero from those you just lost. Vanity metrics are totally useless and serve only one purpose… shallow ego inflation. You’re after the sort of followers who want to read your tweets because they’re interested in them, not just for a ‘follow back’.

You’ll definitely benefit from having a more modest number of relevant people you can actually relate to and cooperate with. Take the time to patiently grow your audience the way I’ve described above and you’ll find your Twitter experience is much more enriching and worthwhile. I just lost 1,390 followers… I challenge you to beat that!

If you’d like to take these steps to make your account more productive, I’d definitely recommend taking a look at ManageFlitter. I can help out, and could even run your account for you. Give me a shout!

Categories: Twitter News

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