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  • Twitter Optimization Series Part 1: Top 10 Knock Out Criteria Why I Won’t Follow You Back on Twitter

    By now everybody serious about social networking agrees that you have to be on Twitter .

    OK, I’ve been on Twitter for a few months now and I admit to tweeting almost daily. I use Twitter mostly for business blogging reasons and have roughly 470 followers by now just due to my blogging and tweeting activity. So I’m not a Twitter superstar but not a newbie either.

    Twitter - SEOptimise

    Lately more and more people follow me who I have never heard of before. As I follow roughly 400 people myself I can’t follow everybody “back” in order not to lose track of my many virtual Twitter friends. There already is some serious information overload bugging me.

    Thus I have developed a quick assessment technique whether I should follow people or not. There are lots of criteria to do so but there are also reasons that prevent me from following people. These are the top 10 knock out criteria why I won’t follow you back on Twitter:

    1. No avatar image, I will assume you’re a spammer or not serious about Twitter
    2. Logo instead of avatar, unless I know you or am a user of your product or fan already
    3. No homepage link as I have no way to know whether I’m interested in you
    4. Just company name and no person behind it unless I’m already a fan, client or work with you
    5. Twice as many following than followers as it seems that you aren’t popular among those you follow
    6. No description of yourself, as I don’t know who you are and why I should follow you then
    7. Not tweeting in English, or more than 50% non-English as I don’t understand or if I do my followers won’t
    8. Below 50 followers as I assume there is no real commitment on your side
    9. Newest tweet older than a week or no regular tweets at all because you appear to be inactive
    10. Too sexy and too young female or celebrity avatar, as of course I don’t believe you that it’s you

    In some cases just one or two of those won’t make me run away, for instance if you’re an SEO or social media blogger and have below 50 followers and no description I will probably follow you anyways.

    As the headline suggest: This is part one of an ongoing Twitter optimization series that starts with this post. The big success of our 30 Twitter tools post convinced SEOptimise to follow up on using Twitter for business.

    Most people seem to agree that you need as many followers on Twitter as possible while some stress that not the quantity but the quality of conversation is crucial. That’s why I stress the reciprocal connection or friendship.

    Only if those you follow also follow you “back” you will end having a conversation. Otherwise it won’t work. It will end up being a frustrating monologue.

    In Part 2 of the Twitter optimization series we will take a look at reasons why I will un-follow you after a while.

    FOLLOW
    ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    I help people with blogs, social media & search. I help you succeed on the Web. I've been online publishing for 15 years. I started back in 1997.

    24 Responses to “Twitter Optimization Series Part 1: Top 10 Knock Out Criteria Why I Won’t Follow You Back on Twitter”

    1. David "CrazyKinux" Perry says:

      A great list, which I’ve been applying without having thought about it!

    2. Interesting list. I would be careful with criteria #8. Just because a person has 50 or fewer followers, doesn’t mean they won’t be relevant to you. If you have no information on when they joined twitter you can’t really assume they aren’t committed. They’re just new. We all were new once. But it’s certainly ones own prerogative. i am the first to say that when it comes to SM, you have the right to be picky.

    3. I tend not to follow back if all I get sent to when clicking the only url is a sales page or product pitch.

    4. [...] today, I read this post – from a blog I find very useful, SEOptimise:  “Lately more and more people follow me who I have never heard of before. As I follow [...]

    5. Scott Mckeagan says:

      Interesting take on Twitter. I will be making some changes to my page today after reading your theory.
      Makes sense.

    6. Alex says:

      Nice list, especially #2 and #4 and their brand-awareness factor is really only appealing if I use the product and if the tweets are actually relevant to the development or support of the product I am using.

      I agree with Angela about #8, you are effectively saying that you don’t give new users a chance of growing contacts. I tend to follow back provided I can see some growth and the user is talking about subjects relevant to my industry.

    7. Dave Zatz says:

      Of course some of this could be rectified if Twitter enhanced their service. How about letting us send an introductory message with every person we follow (since they likely get an email anyway). I’ve had to study some followers carefully to determine they’re interesting and/or have insight though not having a web page. Which is a lesson in itself. Not everyone worth having a conversation with has a blog.

    8. Lee Odden says:

      I agree on the “no description” – that’s like having no “about” page on a blog, which of course, is way too common all on it’s own.

      However, “Below 50 followers as I assume there is no real commitment on your side” doesn’t account for new Twitter-ers or Tweeple that ARE smart and have interesting things to say and resources to share.

      In fact, I don’t see that as a reason on the list: “Nothing interesting or useful to say” and isn’t that the real reason to follow someone on Twitter? :)

    9. Dave Zatz says:

      Oh, and as far as the description goes… 140 characters isn’t nearly enough to describe who I am and what I do, so I don’t have much of one. If it means a few less followers, so be it. Twitter for me is not an SEO tool, not a business tool, just having fun in the asynchronous group chat.

    10. KellyMixlister says:

      I think #5 is hard to get around in the beginning. You have to start following people since you are just learning about twitter, but chances are that not everyone will find you interesting right off, thus, you are following quite a few people with not near as many following you back. Even if you’re searching twitter looking for interesting people by keywords that should direct you towards the people that you find interesting. You still end up following more people then follow you…at least in the beginning.

    11. Saad Kamal says:

      #10 Too sexy and too young female or celebrity avatar, as of course I don’t believe you that it’s you

      I wish Jessica Alba was on twitter then I could prove you wrong on this one! LOL

      Gr8 article! Stumbled!!

    12. I think, as earlier commenters said, the below-50 rule is not fair. Another one I’m not sure about is the English tweeting part. I’m Dutch and try to tweet as much as possible in English, but sometimes my Dutch followers want the Dutch language. Does that mean you won’t follow me?

      I think that if someone tweets 100% in a foreign language it’s no use to follow them, but sometimes you can also make an effort as a only English-speaking follower and for example use Google Translate. Why should only non-English speakers make an effort? For all you know that person who speaks only 30% or 40% in English has 100% better quality of tweets.

    13. Tad Chef says:

      @all Thanks for the feedback!
      I really had to to think about an apt wording for the “below 50″ reason but I certainly will re-check the other criteria facing a below 50 follower I don’t know. Sometimes I especially follow new people back as being just one out of 50 or less people is better than being one out of 500 or 5000.
      So it’s more of a re-check criteria and depends on other factors. I will try to rethink this one.

    14. My method is just look at the first page of tweets. If they look good, 50% there. I then use factors similar to yours to make the final decision.

    15. [...] Last week we have covered the top 10 reasons why I won’t follow you on Twitter in the first place in case I, @onreact_com, don’t know [...]

    16. yvonh says:

      #5 huh this is your case…
      #7 I tweet in 3 languages, I wish Twitter had filtering feature based on languages
      #9 I ve been on vacation in some remote place for more than 3 weeks with no or limited internet connection (for real !), I think you should go into more qualitative factors than your 10 quantitative factors as I ve been tempting to do http://www.yvonh.com/twitter/how-follow-twitter-users-get-followed/
      Very informative post anyway.

    17. [...] you can gain some overview and make sense f it. Then part 4 and 5 will follow. Make sure to read part 1 and part 2 of the Twitter SEO series. Due to the big success of this series, SEOptimise, the [...]

    18. Econs.net Blog » 5 Steps to Twitter Success - Twitter Optimization Series Overview says:

      [...] Twitter Optimization Series Part 1: Top 10 Knock Out Criteria Why I Won’t Follow You Back on T… [...]

    19. Christine says:

      Interesting post but not sure about numbers 8 & 10. I often do follow people with small numbers of followers for that reason – they are starting out and maybe could use a hand. And number 10 – we all have to present ourselves in a certain way, and if you are prefering a photo well then, some people are gonna be rockstars right? ~

    20. [...] then I had to change my strategy on whom to follow. Before, like described in this post of mine on SEOptimise I followed quite [...]

    21. vinny says:

      Very good tips for using Twitter. I am in agreement with all of them.

    22. Mark Waterfield says:

      I see that in your 10 points you write that you will not follow someone who has their company logo and yet the illustration here is of your company logo. Is this just an illustration or ?

      So the conundrum is what do you do if you are a start up with a blog.Do you use your face on twitter and on my blog log or do you use your logo on both?

    23. […] week we have covered the top 10 reasons why I won’t follow you on Twitter in the first place in case I, @onreact_com, don’t know […]

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