Originally published on AdWeek
On Friday, you happily signed off Twitter, noting that you hit the 1,000 followers mark sometime that day. But on Monday—shock!—you sign back on to see that you’re now sitting at a paltry 850 followers. You lost 150 in a single weekend! How could that have happened?
There are plenty of reasons why you may be losing followers on Twitter. Some are because they’re bots (in which case, good riddance), or they’re genuinely not interested in your tweets (fine, let them go), but there are reasons for losing followers that you can work to fix. Here’s five.
Reason #1: Your followers feel that you aren’t “listening” to them. You’re not following them back when they follow you, so they use a third party tool to identify and unfollow you.
What to do about it: Start following new followers back! Automatically following everyone who follows you might not be the greatest strategy, since you’ll end up following irrelevant or spam accounts. However, you might want to consider checking in on your new followers once a day and following the relevant, interesting ones back to avoid losing them.
Reason #2: Your tweets are unfocused. Many of your followers want to hear from you about one or two topics—likely, the topics you touch on in your bio. If you’re consistently tweeting off-topic, they will get fed up and unfollow.
What to do about it: Refocus your content. A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule: stick with tweeting about your main area of interest/industry 80 percent of the time, and use the remaining 20 percent to tweet about your other interests. This will help you stay on topic and retain your followers, while letting your personality shine through.
Reason #3: You haven’t tweeted anything in weeks, or even months. Your followers will often do some Twitter spring cleaning and get rid of the inactive accounts—and that’s you!
What to do about it: Set up a Twitter schedule so you’re tweeting more consistently. Sure, maybe you tweet a ton during one or two big annual conferences, but that doesn’t mean your account should sit dormant the rest of the year. Try to tweet at least once a day so that your followers don’t write you off as an abandoned account.
Reason #4: You are too promotional in your tweets. The majority of your tweets are about your own product or service, and your followers are sick of hearing about you.
What to do about it: Twitter is a social network—not a billboard. Using it to push purely promotional messages is a quick way to lose followers. Instead, focus on sharing other people’s content, in order to network, show that you are listening to your niche or industry, and give your followers more value.
Reason #5: You don’t engage. Despite retweeting you, replying to you and involving you in their tweets, you’re followers are fed up with your lack of engagement.
What to do about it: Give and you shall receive! When someone retweets you, thank them. When they ask you a question, respond. Share their content with a quick retweet. Even a small bit of engagement can go a long way in retaining your followers.