Why Nobody Follows You On Twitter

One thing about Twitter – out of all the social media platforms, Twitter is one of the hardest to figure out.

If you’re on Twitter and you’d like to use it to build yourself a following, well, it’s not easy, especially if you’re new and have no idea what to do to get started.

If you’re a Twitter newbie, the first thing you should know is that building a Twitter following is not about “follow-backs”. #NoFollowBacks

Just because someone follows you doesn’t make you obligated to follow them back. And vice-versa. It’s not like adding a Facebook friend. But while you don’t have to be as picky about who you follow, you don’t have to follow back every single person who is following you, either.

The second thing is that Twitter users often make the decision about whether to follow someone or not in seconds, meaning that you have very little time to impress.

So if you’re wondering why not many people are following you on Twitter – you might be making one of these mistakes:

1. You’re not making the most of your on-screen real estate.

When people find you in their Home stream, or click on “Who to follow”, the Profile Summary pop-up will show what your potential audience will see of your Twitter presence.


Right up top and center is your Twitter display picture, followed by your name (or your business’ name), your username, and whether or not you’re following the person. Then there’s a brief 1-2 sentence biography, your location, and website URL, and at the bottom are your Twitter account stats.

Now, the thing to keep in mind here is that not everyone will click through to view your full profile. Most people will make up their minds from your Profile Summary screen – about whether or not you’re worth following.

So if you don’t make the most of your screen real estate by making sure your bio reads well and your tweets, display pic and header image are all attractive to potential followers, then you’re going to lose a lot of people right here.

This is your Twitter front door, so make sure people want to knock on it.

2. You’re an egg.

This happens especially to those who are new to Twitter. They start following people and figure, “Hey, I’ll just upload an avatar later.”


This isn’t a good idea.

Would you think someone is interesting, engaging and all around awesome if they have a default image representing themselves? And of all things, it’s an egg.

You only have a few chances to engage people visually on Twitter, so don’t waste them. Users will be seriously dissuaded from following an account if they can’t see the person or personality behind it.

My advice? Go upload a kickass picture of your awesome self right this minute. Not the egg, not a celebrity or someone who isn’t you, and not a GIF, which might not display correctly on some viewing platforms.

Remember, the best Twitter avatar is a genuine picture of you, especially if you get creative with your Twitter header photo and background along with it, because people want to connect with other people.

3. Your following ratio is disproportionate.

If you have a lopsided ratio of users you follow to users who follow you, it’s often a red flag to Twitter users that your account is spam.

It’s understandable and expected that you’ll follow more accounts than those following you, but having too large a disparity in these numbers just makes your profile look suspicious.

Try to get some followers before you go wild with the “Follow” button, or people won’t want to join if you have way more people you’re following than followers.

4. Your bio is in third person.

Apparently there’s some advice going around that says if you write your bio in the third person – you know, as if someone else wrote it for you – it will sound more professional and objective.

That’s… really bad advice.

Writing your bio in the third person just makes you look pompous. It’s obvious you wouldn’t ask someone else to write your bio for you, so it makes you look like you’re humblebragging.

Imagine you’re looking at my Twitter summary and see “Peng Li is an amazingly awesome person whom you need to be following. Now.” Now, even though it’s true – I kid, I kid – it makes me sound pretentious and self-centered, doesn’t it? Considering that you would know I filled in my bio myself.

Even if you’re using it for professional reasons, Twitter’s a personal, social platform and your bio is free to reflect that. A simple, modest bio, or a funny, lighthearted one will get you more followers than trying to make yourself look grand.

Like Tom Hanks’.

screen shot 2013-06-21 at 4.52.56 pm

5. Your Twitter account is set to private.

This should be a no brainer, really.

If you want to reach new people, it’s not going to happen if your account is set on private.

Some people might recognize your name, business or blog name, but most likely people won’t know who you are, so they won’t take the effort to “Send Follow request”.

Go to your settings and make sure your account is public. It might have been accidental, but now you know the problem so you can fix that right away.


By the way, Twitter’s recently rolled out a new Twitter profile… check out how that affects your Twitter profile design here. Still, the fundamentals remain the same, and the tips I’ve given above are still relevant.

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