The Top 6 Reasons No One on Twitter Is Following You Back



A very nice older man asked me recently on Twitter why people weren’t following him back.  I offered to look at his stream and see what I could see.


There were several things going on that were potential ‘turn-offs.’ He was a nice enough guy, so I went through his stream and observed about five or six specific behaviors that made him unattractive to other tweeps. When I shared my thoughts, he was genuinely shocked.

He had:


  • A link in 18 out of his last 20 tweets
  • A blurry, pixellated avatar picture of an animal
  • A vague bio that discusses religion, politics and says he quotes random stuff (aka, the Trifecta of NO)
  • No lists
  • Talked a lot about bathroom habits
  • A lot of ‘thank you for the RTs’


Let’s deconstruct.




There are really only two kinds of tweets: content (no links) and promo (links). It doesn’t matter if you’re promoting yourself, others, or RTing a news story – anything that has http:// and takes the reader someplace other than Twitter contains a call to action (and an extra click), is therefore referred to as a promotional or promo tweet. (I don’t know why people think RTs with links don’t count. THEY COUNT.)


He frequently sent people links in all caps (no) demanding they RT his book. He thought this was what authors did since he’d seen lots of other authors doing it. I explained that just because boys wear their pants around their knees with their unds showing doesn’t make it okay, does it? The old ‘jump off a cliff’ syndrome.


When you have lots of these promo tweets with links, you run the risk of fatiguing your stream, being seen as a spammer not to mention a total dork, because all you’re doing is broadcasting, not interacting. This IS social media. Not all about me media.



Your media should be reflective of who you are or what message you’re conveying. Are you a blurry animal? (There are quite a few squirrelnuts on Twitter, I’ll give you that.) If not, pick a better picture. If you choose a pic off the internet, I don’t suggest one which has a PHOTOSTOCK watermark on it. *shakes head*


And add a picture. Don’t be an egg. Eggs are seen as spammers and bots. Even if you’re not, we think you are. One fella told me he only had an iPhone and therefore couldn’t upload a picture. Valid*. And yet…I asked him if he had any friends or family with a computer. Of course, he said. Fine, then send them a pic to upload for you. Or, go to a library. {Update: You can now upload a picture directly to Twitter via any mobile smartphone. 11/2012}


There’s always a way not to be an egg. Yea, that sounds funny.




Lots of people love to discuss religion and politics on Twitter. Which is fine, great, whatever. I have no issues with your life or beliefs. But…I do caution you, if it’s part of your author platform, stating those issues in your Twitter bio can be quite polarizing for you when building your following.


By stating that you’re say, a #tcot (top conservative on twitter) means you’ve just alienated a large percentage of liberal readers of your book. Liberals have money, too. And vice versa. Say you’re a specific religion and plan to discuss your religious affiliation in your tweets, I suggest you create a separate account from your author account at the very least.


Again, I’m not in any way condemning your life choices. I simply suggest they have nothing to do with your author platform and that by including them, you’re excluding potential readers, supporters, and buyers of your work.


You want to build a tribe who will preach your gospel.


A final note on branding: when this guy wrote in his bio “random thoughts abound!” I cringed. He clearly had a book in a particular genre, he had interests, and he discussed certain topics fairly regularly. The last impression you want to give is that you’re random. People search specific topics, keywords, people, books, etc. They don’t search ‘random.’ Get rid of it. It doesn’t help you. Ever.




Having no lists is quite common for Twitter noobs because frankly, they either don’t know about them, don’t understand or see the value, or are simply afraid of them.


Lists are not vampires or clowns, people. What.


I have an upcoming post that describes the top ten reasons you should be using lists but suffice it to say that lists are an easy way for you to organize (or label) people you follow or want to follow. Think of lists as folders in Word of labels in email. That’s all. Easy.


And…you can have up to 20 lists with up to 500 tweeps each. That’s 10,000 tweeps! Even if you only follow 200 people, you can still add 10K people to lists. I can wait while you figure out the impact of that.






This might seem antithetical to what you’ve learned oh, all your life, but here it is. When all you do is say thank you to people, you’re clogging your stream with eye-glazingly, boring stuff.


Here’s what we see: Thank you for the RT Thank you for the follow Thank you for the Thank you for Thank you Thank Thank….




So what to do? You don’t want to be rude, right? People have gone out of their way to take the time to do something nice, yea?


DM them. This is the perfect solution.


But wait, Rach, you say. I want to thank them on my TL (timeline) so people see what an awfully nice guy I am, thanking people publicly.


Once again, nope. Cause all we see is a stream clogged up with snooze-inducing content, so we jet. (Conversely, maybe we come to you when we need to take a nap.)


We want to visit your TL for interesting content. We only have a few seconds to look at everyone’s content. Make it worth our while.


This is where branding and keywords becomes so important…the subject of next week’s blog.


What do you think of these six reasons? Do you agree or disagree? Please share below…


Please follow me on my personal blog, Twitter on both @RachelintheOC and of course, @BadRedheadMedia and what’s totally cool, I’m teaching the Blog To Book webinar for Triberr on Tuesday, April 17 — open to the public for just $25. Want to turn your blog into a book? Learn how!   





  1. T1theinfamous on March 30, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    I run a political blog and I try to keep the talk about politics to a minimum on most days on twitter.

    • Rachel on March 30, 2012 at 11:56 pm

      T1 — I see no issues with saying you’re a ‘political blogger’ but affiliating with one particular party in your Twitter bio can come back to haunt you. #justsayin

  2. Ken on March 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Awesome article Rachel. You have a fun way of presenting. I’m guilty of the ‘Thank you’s’. I promise to do better.

    • Rachel on March 31, 2012 at 12:13 am

      Thanks so much, Ken. So glad you’re here. Hey, we’ve all made our mistakes — that’s how we learn. It’s hard to be objective about your own stream because the view you have of it is different than ours — if that makes sense. Sometimes I click on my handle to see exactly what my followers see — how much promo, how many TY’s, etc. This helps a lot.

  3. ReGi McClain on March 30, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Thank you! Very helpful to us newbies. I will strive to apply your advice. =0)

    • Rachel on March 31, 2012 at 12:14 am

      Thanks for visiting. Even is you can’t do all of it at once, a bit here and there helps, believe me. 🙂

  4. M Chick on March 31, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks for some great advice. So much to learn here. Looking forward to your upcoming post on lists.

    • Rachel on March 31, 2012 at 7:39 pm

      I think you’ll find the lists posts helpful — at least I hope you will. Many people ignore them or are kind of afraid of them. I promise, they’re not scary. No clowns or vampires. Swear.

  5. Amy Malik aka donutsforme on March 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Well , I’m afraid to say “Thank You” but since this isn’t mt TL I guess it’s OK. We are looking forward to our conference call with you today. Your tips via webinar a months back have already paid off for John. Looking forward to taking it to the next level without boring people using links. Your advice has proven to be effective.
    Amy & John

    • Rachel on March 31, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      Amy, lovely to have you here. Thanks are perfectly appropriate and I’m honored you stopped by.

      Loved speaking with you today and can’t wait to get started on John’s campaign. Woot!

  6. Martin Lake on March 31, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    I always think that advice is great when I’ve read it and think: ‘That is so obvious.’

    This is really really obvious Rachel. Why on earth didn’t I think of it? I could kick myself.

  7. Rachel on March 31, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Hi Martin —

    It’s hard to be objective about our own work. Most of us just ‘blow and go’ — ya know? It’s when we take a step back and analyze how we come across to people (usually with the help of someone else) that we see room for change and/or improvement.

    Kudos to you for recognizing you can change some stuff. Many times, people just plow on through and lose followers.

  8. Marie Landry on March 31, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    This is terrific advice, Rachel, and I agree with all of it. As a book blogger and author, I get a lot of fellow book bloggers following me, which I love, but I don’t follow a lot of them back because 99% of their tweets are for giveaways from other blogs – ‘I want to win such and such a book from this person – insert link here’. I know most contests/giveaways give extra entries for tweets, but when that’s the entirety of a person’s feed, I’m not interested. Same as the authors who ONLY tweet about their book, or worse, pump out the same 2 or 3 tweets over and over. I actually thought of you yesterday when I was visiting someone’s feed and saw the same 2 tweets down the entire page every hour on the hour. WTF? Anyway, I guess I get babbly without the 140 character limit, haha. I’m looking forward to your post on lists, because I always forget about them and have never actually used them. Thanks for this!

    • Rachel on March 31, 2012 at 10:01 pm

      Marie, such good feedback from a book blogger! I wish authors would learn. I have webinars RE the difference between content (no links) and promo (links) and why and how to use them. But most people (not only authors) want to simply broadcast. I’m not really sure why that is. I love the interactions, laughs, commentary the most. But of course, everyone has some sort of something going on…if you hadn’t heard about me, or my book, we probably would never have met; I wouldn’t have heard about your site or new book, and we wouldn’t have learned how much fun we both are!

      Links are a great way to find out info — I’m not opposed. I’ve been sharing data lately to this social media scientist Dan Zarrella who has terrific objective data on when to tweet, blog, FB, keywords, etc. But all of that doesn’t matter if there’s not a real person behind it all.

      And yea, lists rock. A great time management tool.

  9. Eric on March 31, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    The base assumption here is that more Twitter followers = better. There is no evidence to support this from a marketing perspective. Twitter is actually a very, very poor source for website referrals for example. So, if Twitter is not for marketing, what is it for? @Zappos has over two million followers as of today, and they say “Twitter Is Not About Marketing, It’s About Engagement”.

    One line is particularly telling from the Zappos article. They describe Twitter thusly: “It’s a place to share the real you and your ideas.” Your blog post tells people to hide their real selves and their ideas in order to build their author platform. People aren’t stupid, and they quickly see through such tricks. If you do manage to trick someone into following you by hiding your political or religious views, this will come out, and you’ll be left with someone that feels betrayed. Besides, the only way to attract people that appreciate you is to be the real you.

    Twitter IS NOT a good source for finding new readers. It IS a good way to interact with your established readers. Your established readers want to know the real you, the unique you.

    • Rachel on March 31, 2012 at 9:53 pm

      Hi Eric, I would be careful making assumptions, given that the goal of this post is simply to help people figure out why others may not be following them back. At no point did I mention they should be getting ‘as many followers as possible.’ I don’t follow that practice myself or advise my clients to do that. In fact, I’m quite specific about the people I follow and cull through my followers list carefully on a weekly basis.

      IF you read the tips I give out on my business stream @BadRedheadMedia, I agree with you. Twitter will not sell your book. It does, however, increase exposure and create support. A tribe, if you will. People expect authors to be on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, etc. Any author at this point cannot afford NOT to be on Twitter and interacting with their readers. And I know specifically how many visitors I get from Twitter to my Amazon pages by customizing my links. The data is objective.

      Readers love Twitter and Facebook because they get to see behind the scenes of a writer’s life. I agree with you there also. I didn’t say you have to HIDE your political or religious views — I simply stated that putting them in your Twitter bio can prevent people from following you. Chatting or tweeting about them is very different from what I suggested.

      I’ve been on Twitter now for over three years and have worked with thousands of authors. These are my observations, on my blog. Thanks for visiting.

    • C. N. Nevets on April 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      I agree that there’s not some formula that correlates number of new Twitter followers to number of new readers. I do promo, but mostly I like Twitter for the interaction. That said, between my Google stats and my stats, I can see that in terms of web traffic, Twitter is the absolute number one source of traffic to my internet-hosted materials, hands-down. I know anecdotally that I have picked up at least two readers for my actual fiction thanks to Twitter RT’s. From a pure marketing standpoint this is not may not be great ROI, but since I approach my investment in terms of interaction (which I enjoy) there’s nothing laborious about it, and any return is bonus.

      • Rachel on April 2, 2012 at 2:10 pm

        It’s important that you track your stats, so well done there, sweet. I too find Twitter to be my number one source of traffic to my site & through, know exactly how many clicks I get from Twitter to Amazon (which rocks, love that little trick). You absolutely will pick up readers from Twitter — just not your largest percentage is all I or any other marketer will tell you. I love Twitter — it’s a great way to interact, it’s free market research (who likes my new cover art? character name? beta readers?) and it increases your reach exponentially via each of your followers reach.

        I think we’d all be lost without it.

  10. Rhia Roberts on March 31, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    I never use this phrase but OMG! I was in the webinar with you today, Rachel and thought I’d take a saunter. I’ve learned more in this post than in my 2 1/2 months of blogging. You’ve got to factor in that I really don’t know what I’m doing (I’m a teacher and writer for goodness sake) and I thought that a Twitter account was supposed to advertise your blog and other people’s work. I really need to rethink what I’m doing…and do so by April 17 (my birthday, by the way). How do you RT your tribemates’ posts and not overwhelm your feed with links? Is it something to do with the lists to which you referred (and that I’ve just worked out to mean something than The Top 10…)? I’m just astounded right now. I feel like a newborn baby in a middle-aged body!

    • Rachel on April 1, 2012 at 12:05 am

      So happy to have you here, Dr. Rhia! There’s a wonderful way to balance your links and that’s with the content tweets I discuss in the post. These take thought & effort on your part (which is honestly why many people don’t do them) but it’s where you provide info, resources, interesting facts, humor, etc. — anything you think your followers might be interested in that has to do with your ‘brand’ — now again, your brand includes YOU of course, so I (or any marketer) would suggest you create keywords that you want people to associate with you.

      For example, for my @RachelintheOC stream, I write my content tweets around the keywords of men, women, relationships, love, sex, humor. Of course, I can write about whatever I want, but I stick to those topics primarily as my own guide as well as so people know what to expect when they visit my stream.

      Hope that helps a bit. Thanks again for coming by.

      • Diane on June 3, 2013 at 4:30 pm

        Hi Rachel. I am a bit confused about why having links in a tweet are a bad thing. If I’ve read an interesting article, watched a TEDTalk, learned something on someone’s blog post, etc. and want to send out a tweet, why wouldn’t I include the link? You say to “provide info, resources, interesting facts, humor, etc. — anything you think your followers might be interested in that has to do with your ‘brand’ ” A lot of thought goes into what I tweet (so it is authentically me) but most include a link (and a mention). Why is that a no-no? Sigh…just when I think I’m being authentic on Twitter….

        • Rachel Thompson on June 3, 2013 at 6:06 pm

          I have no issues with links in tweets. My only issue is having a link in EVERY tweet, which violates Twitter’s spam policies. I hope that clear it up a bit more?

          If you’re a fan of say, vintage birdcages, and you share a tweet w/ a link to a site about vintage birdcages, great! But if all of your tweets are links to stuff, that’s where the issue lies.

          I’m sorry I didn’t make that more clear in the article. Thanks for the comment!


        • Rachel Thompson on June 16, 2014 at 1:19 pm

          Hi Diane. Good question! It’s not a bad thing. It’s when that’s ALL there is that people feel your stream is purely automated. You need to add in interactions, quotes, quips, commentary so it’s not solely links. Does that help clarify?

  11. Mariann Regan on April 1, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Rhia has said it for me, too — I’m a teacher and writer who just started twitter, and I realize I am naive. Stay out of politics! OK, I never thought about it as alienating people, but I can see that it does. I’ll take “progressive” off my profile.

    And I really, really, need to know about lists.

    Also, I read somewhere that the thing to do was to answer the Best Blogs or the Top Blogs, and then people will comment on your own blog. Really? OK, I can do that, but how do I know what the Best Blogs are, and where do I find them? I’ve just barely learned to tell the Blogs from the Newsletters.

    And what about those people who tweet a list of others’ twitter addresses? What is that about–is that what you mean by a list?

    Also, I just got onto Pinterest and feel it’s a bit above my head–some people complain about having their images penned. So how much should I use Pinterest? Does it annoy people?

    So many questions. Will I alienate all my tweeps before I have worked out the answers to all these questions? Trying to stay calm.

    But I must say, I’ve made valuable contacts with about a dozen people with whom I really like to communicate. That makes it all worthwhile.

    • Rachel on April 1, 2012 at 1:15 am

      Hi Mariann — Welcome! You don’t have to stay out of politics, but I do suggest not including it on your bio so as not to exclude people who might be interested in your work. If you’re dying to learn about lists, Twitter has an excellent HELP section. Just click on it and type in lists. It gives a basic review to get you started. Then come back here next week for the BadRedhead version. 🙂

      Twitter addresses are commonly referred to as Twitter handles (from the CB radio days). These lists you see are typically #WW (Writer Wednesday) or #FF (Follow Friday). Anytime you see the # sign, it’s referred to as a hashtag in the Twitterverse.

      Triberr is running a Pinterest webinar this Tuesday for $25. It’s quite informative and very helpful. If you’d rather not pay, there are plenty of youtube vids that explain why and how to use Pinterest. It is a nice option to increase your exposure and interact with others. I typically pin my images mostly to Facebook as I’m always conscious of my content to promo ratio.

      If you click on the WEBINARS tab here on my page, I do offer a Basic Twitter webinar for $35. I’ve been teaching it for a few years and people love it. Or simply follow me for free daily tips on @BadRedheadMedia — hope that helps!

  12. eden baylee on April 1, 2012 at 3:52 am

    Brilliant Rachel!

    • Rachel on April 1, 2012 at 11:09 am

      Thx sweet Eden.

  13. Maryellen on March 31, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    I am guilty of the thank you’s but try to make it more personal, will do better in the future.
    Love your posts!

    • Rachel on April 1, 2012 at 11:16 am

      It is important to thank people for their efforts on your behalf and DMs are great for that. You can also add something funny or interesting if you thank them on your TL. Think about it though — when you see nothing but a string of THANK YOU FOR THE RTS on someone’s TL, you move on. You don’t want to be that person. 🙂

  14. Elyse on April 1, 2012 at 6:31 am

    I had no idea about the Thank you for the RT’s – had thought I was being a nice person – I will change that immediately to DM’s. You’re right, it must clog up my stream. Very good point.

    • Rachel on April 1, 2012 at 11:17 am

      You ARE being a nice person — of course. That’s wonderful. And as Maryellen said below, you can personalize them or even add humor or a statement that adds to their comment…anything to deviate from the string of Elvis-sounding “Thank you very much.” 🙂

  15. charity parkerson on April 1, 2012 at 10:35 am

    I completely agree. There are several times
    that I’ve picked up a new follower and after reading their bio thought, “Well, they won’t be following me for long”

    • Rachel on April 1, 2012 at 11:18 am

      Ha, so true Charity. To each their own, obviously, but some just don’t get the SOCIAL in social media. That’s who I hope to get through to. If not, oh well.

  16. Justin Bog on April 1, 2012 at 10:48 am

    I love your presence and authority on Social Media. Your tips and Lists are very helpful to me ever since I started a Blog and then joined Twitter. I also love the snark and other humorous tones you bring to your writing life. Definitely worth sharing with my peeps on Twitter.

    • Rachel on April 1, 2012 at 11:21 am

      Sweet Justin — your presence is what makes me look forward to checking my email & social media daily (& Skype & text & voicemail haha). We all deserve someone as lovely as you in our lives. But lala, you’re mine. I’m not sharing. Okay, with a few lucky peeps. But that’s IT. {{hugs}}

  17. Desiree Cook on April 1, 2012 at 11:39 am

    I’m new to Twitter and never heard of lists. Thanks for the tips, now to figure out a few things.

    • Rachel on April 1, 2012 at 11:49 am

      Hi Desiree — lists are great. If you go to the Twitter help section, there’s a nice explanation and you can even google it for video instructions. Honestly, it takes one click (Create a list) and it’s pretty self-explanatory. But the uses and advantages of lists goes quite deep. I discuss them in my upcoming webinars and will have a breakdown of lists in my next article. Thx for visiting! Best of luck.

  18. Kimberly Kinrade on April 1, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Hey Rach,
    Spot on, as usual! I’ve been in a twitter slump lately, and I’ve been lazy in getting content tweets up. Thanks for the reminder. Gotta get my game on again! 🙂 After all, I met my fiancé on twitter, so I know how powerful the ‘social’ part of social media can be! 🙂

    • Rachel on April 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      That’s right, you did! Content is the good stuff, too. Sure it takes more thought, but it’s what shows who we are and allows us to be writers and creative writers at that. Have fun with it. Thx, KK

  19. Ciara Ballintyne on April 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    I thank people for following, but I spread them out and I do bulk thank yous – more than one tweep per tweet. There’ll be days and days when I do none. Somehow I seem to have developed a brand that at least partly relates to ‘being genuine’. I guess it’s easier to be cool online than offline. As long as you’re not a douche anyway!

  20. Arla on April 1, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Thank goodness someone is out there looking out for us noobs. So helpful, thank you. I love the way you write, keeps it fun. Lists, lists, lists….looking into it.

  21. Dee on April 1, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Good places to start! I’m guilty of the no lists thing for sure, and probably a few others I haven’t noticed yet. Thanks for the helpful hints.

  22. Erica Lucke Dean on April 2, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Awesome info Rachel. I personally need to get back to tweeting things other than my triberr stream. I’ve just been so crazy busy lately. It can be a full time job managing social media…but it beats digging a ditch I suppose (not that I’m dissing those who might enjoy digging ditches…just sayin’)

  23. […] The Top 6 Reasons No One on Twitter Is Following You Back ( […]

  24. KT Hall on April 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    While I agree that people should never “publicly” thank people for following them, I find DMs like this to also be a huge turn-off. If you’re an author, chances are I can figure that out from your description or your tweets, and if you DM me a link to your book, I’m very likely to unfollow you right then and there.

    • Rachel on April 2, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      I agree with you KT. That’s why I recommend people put their book links on their Twitter bio. If you like us, you’ll click there. Or, as you said, on one of our tweets. I never send someone a direct link to my book unless they ask for it. It’s too presumptuous. Good points.

  25. Gregg Ghelfi on April 25, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Thank you for the information. I tend to add links to interesting articles I find. I will limit those in the future although I did find this blog in a Twitter link.
    I will also learn about lists and am looking forward to reading your blog on them.

    • Rachel on April 25, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Gregg. Yes, there is that irony of how you found me :). My point is not to have exclusively links. I did post the lists article already here, and a more flushed out version over on @CatalystPart’s blog. Jorgen has lots of helpful content. I did a Part One and Part Two. Thanks for visiting 🙂

  26. hellen on April 26, 2012 at 6:06 am

    Hello, I like to say thank you to people who RT because I know it makes me smile if someone thanks me.
    I take on board everything else you say though and thank you for making me stop and think.
    You see, I just can’t stop saying thank you.

    • Rachel on April 26, 2012 at 8:08 am

      Thank for the comment. I agree you should always thank people. My suggestion is simply to either make it a bit more interesting than a simple ‘thank you for the RT or follow’ or take it to DM. You’re still thanking people which I agree, is critically important in creating connections and just using your manners. Great points! Appreciate the visit and comment.

  27. Mariann Regan on April 28, 2012 at 1:15 am

    I’m looking for your post on lists. I just want to know the nuts and bolts. When you click on lists, and get that box to fill in, what kind of thing goes under “Name” and “Description”? Do you just put FF under “Name” and the addresses of tweeps you follow under “Description”?

    The lists I see (I think they are lists) on my Tweets are just a series of Twitter addresses with FF in front of them. What’s that? Sometimes I see a series of lists, one after the other, by the same person. Is that advisable?

    I’m a relative newcomer. Thanks for all your advice.

    • Rachel Thompson on April 28, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      Hi Mariann — I wrote that post a few weeks ago. You can just scroll back through or hit the SEARCH and type in lists (for future reference). Here’s the link tho:

      In the post, I give you specifics. You can also go to Twitter’s HELP section and it gives you the basics. Finally, YouTube gives video how-to’s also. Lots of easy info out there.

      Hope that helps!

  28. […] The Top 6 Reasons No One on Twitter Is Following You Back( […]

  29. […] The Top 6 Reasons No One on Twitter Is Following You Back ( […]

  30. […] The Top 6 Reasons No One on Twitter Is Following You Back ( […]

  31. Caroline Gerardo on July 12, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Recently I started thanking publicly just to test if it really is boring – strangely the Rt’er then comments more. I tend to agree, however, that it is a log jamming overload. I’m big on testing theory.

    I have to read your “lists” tips. I started out using lists but struggle with clumping people to be farmed by some bots- can they see my lists?

    In the last month I noticed the egg bots are leaving me alone. Wonder what I’m doing – I guess I don’t mention iphone, sex, or Mitt Romney much. Those three topics bring them out of the dry rot.

  32. Joe Hefferon on July 16, 2012 at 1:32 pm


    I am confused a little by this article. That’s not to say it wasn’t helpful – it was. But it raised questions. How do people get like 100,000+ followers who aren’t celebrities? They must be buying followers. I follow a guy, who I actually like, who has 140,000 followers, but his youtube videos only get like 200 views. Something is not adding up. His views should be in the thousands. And I’ll work on that list thing. And thanks once in advance for all RT’s DM’s OK’s BTW’s and WTF’s

    • Rachel Thompson on July 16, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      HI Joe. As for the hundreds of thousands of followers: people use automated following services like TweetAdder, for example (which incidentally was recently named by Twitter in a lawsuit against spammers). You pay an amount, put in follow criteria, and off it goes.

      I’m personally not an advocate of those types of autofollow programs only because it ends up you have to go back through to unfollow or block (ie, pornbots & spammers) who don’t help you sell your product or service via engagement.

      I do like Pluggio because it searches for specific followers based on keywords you enter, but you still have to review each one individually. ManageFlitter can also follow and unfollow but again, there are limits in place based on the Twitter API.

      Bottom line: follow 25-50 people every day in your target demographic and you’ll build a robust following.

  33. Joe Hefferon on July 16, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    And as to my last comment. I used ‘like’ like twice in a short paragraph. I was like, what was I thinking about? Must be watching too much disney channel with my son, who calls me a noob. I promise I won’t use ‘like’ for like an epic amount of random comments.

    • Rachel Thompson on July 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      Ha, no worries. Saying ‘like’ is extremely common here in the OC. (My 6yo son explains Ninjago to me frequently :).

  34. Tony Tovar on August 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Hello again,

    Rachel, this was a great post, ’nuff said.

    I started looking for a few folks to follow that I think may be great people to connect with, it’s a lot harder work than I thought. I searched for different niche marketing hashtags and found so many folks out there bombarding their followers with tons of links and shitty pages once I clicked through some of their links.

    Anyways, after spending the last few minutes looking for folks to follow, I realized how NOT to appear if I want others follow me.

    I do have one question for you though … My bio uses hashtags, is that a bad thing? I think I have like 4 hashtags on there. I’ll probably change those later once I realize which hashtags I want to associate my profile with.


    • Rachel Thompson on August 25, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      Thanks Tony! It’s a good idea to analyze tweets and other tweeps how you have — so many people think Twitter is all about broadcasting which is so off the mark, it’s scary.

      As for hashtags in your bio, I recommend no more than three. It’s a great idea to use them to get your point across quickly — but a bio full of them is annoying.

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  38. Rachel Thompson (@BadRedheadMedia) on December 6, 2012 at 9:55 am

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  39. Rachel Thompson (@RachelintheOC) on December 6, 2012 at 11:50 am

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  40. on January 16, 2013 at 10:01 am

    I actually seem to agree with almost everything that ended up being authored throughout “The Top 6 Reasons No
    One on Twitter Is Following You Back – Bad Redhead Media”.
    Many thanks for all the tips.Thanks,Buddy

    • Rachel Thompson on January 17, 2013 at 8:45 am

      Thanks for reading, Buddy. I’m glad you agree — doesn’t mean my suggestions are the only ones to follow of course, and I’m sure some disagree. But it works for me!

  41. Rachel Thompson (@BadRedheadMedia) on March 28, 2013 at 5:40 pm

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  42. Rachel Thompson (@RachelintheOC) on March 29, 2013 at 9:10 am

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  43. @VirtualLefty on March 29, 2013 at 7:44 pm

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  44. Alexandria Constantinova on April 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Another brilliant blog.

    When I see non-stop promos (especially self-published authors who claim they’ve gotten yet another 5* review for their book), I think of it like an Informercial on TV. Boring real fast. Also, those who keep putting the same commercial, i.e., automatically, show me that they don’t even care enough about their followers to actually write a different commercial/Pitch each time: they just have some app doing it for them. #Unfollow

    And as for the “TY 4 RT” and “TY 4 follow” is more effective than a sleeping pill or an informercial at putting me to sleep. (ditto for “My Daily Stats” tweets)

    When someone follows me, I always read their BIOs, tweets, look at if they’re having conversations with others, see what they RT. (Unless they have the EGG as their photo: then I don’t even bother. If they can’t bother to upload a photo, I can’t be bothered to waste my time looking at the tweets of someone who undoubtedly auto followed me.) I have to like what I read before I follow back.

    Also, to continue following, I engage the person in a conversation from something in his BIO or tweets. I try it once, maybe twice if I think I may have forgotten. If I never get an answer of any kind, I unfollow. (oops, end up in the “My Daily Stats” tweets: those are exciting).

    I am on Twitter for the connections – what a concept.

    So, plain and simple, if they don’t connect after I’ve made a comment directly to them (not a sales pitch), then I figure it’s like being at a party. You say hello to another guest, make an interesting comment about something s/he’s said. If there’s no response, you take your glass of wine and walk away.

    Without feeling obligated to excuse yourself.

    • Rachel Thompson on April 22, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks so much and all great info.

      I agree with you about follows. Sadly, many people never check their follows so they can’t be bothered to check people out in detail. Hey, it is what it is — Twitter is what you make it.

      As for sharing 5-star reviews, I am a self-pub’d authors with lots of reviews. I share both the good AND the bad (good tweet fodder) but certainly not every day and certainly not to sell my book. I created a Twitter/FB/website header that has the Midwest Book Review (a line, anyway) which is much more of a ‘passive’ sell and if people want to click on the link to learn more, great. But it’s not in their face.

      Thanks for sharing your insights!

  45. R. K. MacPherson on April 22, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    I absolutely agree with everything but the lists. I don’t use them personally, but I don’t decide against following someone because they do or don’t make use of them. A bigger factor in my decision to follow someone is if I can see them engaging people. Do they talk with other tweeps or do they just “Rah, rah, I’m so cool. Look at my Instagrammed sock!”?

    I follow engagement, and I try to engage people in return.

    EXCELLENT article. Kudos!

    • Rachel Thompson on April 22, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      Wow, thanks so much!

      Lists are convenient for some, but they aren’t a deciding factor for following. As your following grows, lists simply make it easier to filter, if you will. They’re a nice option, but simply that — just an option some folk like. Others, not so much.

      I appreciate your kind comments!

    • Rachel Thompson on May 12, 2013 at 9:47 pm

      thanks so much! Yes, lists are simply an option for filtering tweets. It’s useful but certainly not necessary.

      Thanks for sharing about engagement. It’s so important.


  46. Bryan Jacobson on May 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    These points ring true – great list. It gave me some ideas on how to improve my Twitter presence.

    • Rachel Thompson on May 12, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      thank you, Bryan. That’s always my goal — happy to help.


  47. IndieBookPromos (@indiebookpromos) on May 17, 2013 at 4:35 pm

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  49. Rachel Thompson (@BadRedheadMedia) on May 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm

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  50. Rachel Thompson (@RachelintheOC) on May 20, 2013 at 1:31 am

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  57. Rebekah Grow on May 20, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Thank you for posting this Rachel! I have been putting off doing lists because I have had so many other things to get done. I know I need to add them and you explained them perfectly. Thank you.

  58. Count Gregula on May 20, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    How about if I AM a vampire? Should I still be afraid of making lists on Tvitter…er…Twitter.


  59. Cassandra Page (@CassandraPage01) on May 20, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    This is @RachelintheOC. She is my twitter guru! MT: “The Top 6 Reasons No One on Twitter Is Following You Back”

  60. @ljpr on May 20, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    “There’s always a reason not to be an egg” Great post on why people don’t follow back on Twitter via @badredheadmedia

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  63. Arjun Kanuri on May 31, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I really
    appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your further post thanks once again.

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  65. Alex Taylor on June 16, 2014 at 4:32 am

    Hey Rachel,
    I have to say that we’re guilty of auto scheduling and stuff but even when we didn’t there’s no one really appealing anyone on Twitter. I’ve put up personal stuff on my Twitter and it’s like talking to a wall really and I’m not the only one.

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  68. Sfinds on December 2, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Loved your article. Now this one is something that burns my but: the folks that have 100,000 followers but they only follow 200. When you check who they are following, they are usually celebrity or friends. But their tweets are to garner more and more followers. It’s the celebrity syndrome. Thus far I found one celebrity who has six figures in followers and she follows many people back. Of course even steven games aren’t great either.

    But I definitely don’t like the celebrity syndrome: usually these people pay big for advertising on other platforms, but come to twitter and select only a few to communicate with, yet want you to give up your time and follow them. They aren’t there to socialize but for Free advertisement. I really think this is contributing to Twitter’s downfall. While people don’t want rules about who to follow in proportion to followers, there should be some type of recommendations for how not to blatantly advertise vs. socialize.

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