Why you lose followers on Twitter

-by Skeeter Hansen and Al Ferretti

Do you wonder why you are losing followers on Twitter?

You might be making mistakes and not even know it.
Here are some of the reasons why your followers on Twitter would leave you:

Automatic Direct Messages
: These things are very annoying, and there is nothing personal about them. For example, “Thanks for following me! Be sure to check out my website!” is considered a spam. What’s worse is when people resend the same message a few days later to tell you the same thing, like one is not enough.

Blasting Tweets: Are you one of those people who send out ten or more posts at once that cover up the entire wall? You need to give others a chance to speak up. When you spam like that, all people see is a wall of your smiley face picture. If you ever wonder why you lose a bunch of followers on Twitter all at once, this could be the biggest reason.

Over Promoting: Do you only post about your website? People will think you are a robot if all you do is talk about your website and tell people to check it out. Try to connect with others by interacting on Twitter. If somebody posts something interesting, then you can talk about it, and share it with your followers.

Proper Follow Up: When people ask you questions through a “@reply” or direct messages, make sure you respond to them. You may have post something interesting that caught their attention. Connect with these people and they may recommend you to their followers later.

Keep It Clean: Many people use twitter at work. Profanity is not something they can afford to have flashing on their computer. Most people will immediately unfollow these types of users.

Just remember, tweet others the way you want to be tweeted.

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48 Responses to “Why you lose followers on Twitter”

  • The problem I have is when people use too many abbreviations and I can’t understand what they are saying without stopping to decipher it. If you have to abbreviate THAT MUCH, you are saying TOO MUCH.

  • avatar Dez says:

    The open question is: Does restricting your use of profanity (assuming you use it in conversation) make your twitter stream less personal?

    I agree, if you are a business on Twitter you should keep you stream clean for all users viewing you.

    Also, if you are afraid of your boss seeing profanity on the screen while you are working, then maybe you should be using a different method to check your friend timeline, or refrain from checking during work hours at all.

  • avatar Travelwriter says:

    I also would say tweets with a lot of abbreviations made me thinking of not to read them.

  • avatar Petula says:

    Great tips. Thanks.

  • People who are real on Twitter interest me. If I can talk to you like a human being then you are great in book!


  • avatar aaron says:

    I had used an auto-DM to explain who I am and what I’m tweeting about for our corporate Twitter acct, such as music playlist recommendations, etc. Is that still considered ‘spammy’, should I remove it?

  • avatar Clive Praed says:

    Being personal is a major problem.
    I’ve never had any “life” outside my work so I can’t comment on anything that’s not work related.
    It’s only ‘work’ that I find interesting.

  • avatar Ann says:

    Can I add 2 more?
    1 – the constant: “thanks for following me tweet” and
    2 – the affiliate marketer that disguises their sales link to look like a blog post that is for education!

    Ann Evanston
    The Warrior is Within You

  • avatar Christopher says:

    I agree – no profanity. Use profanity and I drop you, so many other words which can be used. Also agree on the pacing. If you are in a conversation – after two tweets move it to DM or email or chat.

    Thanks for the share.

  • Happy Tuesday Christopher.

    Thanks for allowing us to serve.
    Stay Tuned~ Lots of cool stuff coming
    to http://twitterwatchdog.com soon~


  • avatar Shallie Bey says:

    Thanks for some great suggestions on how to avoid losing followers. I recently had a conversation with a friend about blasting tweets. He routinely un-follows anyone who does that. After thinking about it, I have shifted to doing bulk or routine posting during late hours, such things as thank yous for retweeting. However, your post makes me think of the fact that my followers are not just in the US. I could be blanketing someone’s window in other time zones. Thanks for making me think.

    Shallie Bey
    Smarter Small Business Blog

  • We’ve generated traffic via Twitter from over 122 countries so far.
    Yes, other countries quickly come into play while on Twitter.

    Thanks for the comment Shallie~


  • avatar Lisa Logan says:

    I’ve also tracked this and seen that religious and political tweets get people unfollowed. If you want to speak your mind no matter what, so be it. But if you’re trying to build a network, the same rules apply on Twitter that are adages in polite society: avoid offensive humor, politics, and religion.


  • Being politically correct is so true.

    Thanks for the comment Lisa~


  • avatar mercerd says:

    interesting material, where such topics do you find? I will often go

  • avatar DrKND says:

    Great list, though not universally true. When I follow someone and get a tweet that acknowledges it, I like it. And I do the same for others. It’s a bit of a formality, but it closes a loop, and most definitely doesn’t seem like spam to me. I think this is a case of beauty being in the eye of the beholder. Otherwise, the list seems great in every case.

    I particularly wish the one about replying to replies would go viral, because I’m amazed at how few people actually bother to respond to a conversation attempt! It’s like everyone is talking and no one is listening, but then, that’s probably why it’s called microblogging.

    Which is a way of saying, hi there, if you see something I post about and want to talk about it, hit your reply button! I will reply, and more than once! Interactive is my interest with Twitter, not just having another place to post!

    Best wishes,

  • avatar DrKND says:

    Oops, forgot to mention. One sure fire way to get me to unfollow someone is if they start posting about ‘How To Get Followers On Twitter.’ Give me a break, these spammy systems are a big turn off. Getting the biggest number of followers usually means the lowest level of interaction. Who needs it?

    ’nuff said

  • Hi Rick,

    You make a great point about the lack of response by others.

    We believe if more people discover the power of engaging, build relationships and providing value, that so many good things
    happen for everyone.

    Thanks for the comment~

    PS We are handing out double barrel super soakers to those that wish to help us spray down those that claim you can
    get x amount of followers in y amount of time. :-)


  • avatar snipe says:

    On #5, that’s simply not true in every case. If it’s a business Twitter account, of course you shouldn’t swear, same as you wouldn’t if you were talking to a customer face to face – but half my followers follow me because of my creative and funny ways of stringing expletives together. The big point is if it’s business, sure, be professional – if it’s personal, be who you are. You will lose some followers for it, but you will also gain some who appreciate you speaking your mind and not being afraid to drop an f-bomb.

    Is Christopher the type of person who will follow me? Nope – but that’s okay. I’m with Dez on this one. If the profanity doesn’t offend you personally but you’re afraid of getting in trouble at work, find a different way to check Twitter, or check it on your own time. (Whose boss sits over their shoulder reading everything on their screen anyway? Or conversely, who has tweets pop up in 25pt type so others can read?) If it does offend you personally, then you’re not the kind of person who will want to follow me anyway. But that’s okay – there lots of others who will, and I only want people following and interacting with me if they’ve got a thicker skin than that.

    I’m proud of my Cursebird.Com score.

  • After reading your comment. I was surprised you did not use such words haha

    Thanks for the comment~


  • avatar Lois Geller says:

    I was talking to a friend today and she mentioned that she has about 40 tweets that she keeps repeating, and that’s it.
    And, I wondered why she was a twitter bore? Well, because I’d heard it all before…many times.

  • We encourage everyone to always engage, build relationships and provide value.
    For example, be a go giver retweet other peoples tweets. Be sure to followup with
    all @replies and direct messages personally and be sincere…..

    Running robotic systems all the time is not social networking~

    Thanks for the comment Lois~


  • avatar Elissa says:

    I’m with DrKND – anyone who pushes some service that claims to increase followers is an automatic unfollow for me. This action shows quite clearly that the person just doesn’t get the point of Twitter.


  • I can deal with over promotion but I do agree, it’s definitely something to avoid. There is a difference between somebody that’s just out to post links and somebody that actually uses twitter but has their moments where they go on a tweeting spree. Just earlier today I sent out 2 tweets with the same link pretty close to eachother… it happens.

    I think the worst on that list is the auto DM. At least with the links they are actually engaging in human like interaction.

    You know what. Scratch that. I’ve had somebody not respond to me before. Even though they get much more traffic than my site, it was still pretty weak. I’ve had people send me messages with sites MUCH smaller than mine and even when i’m busy I make sure i respond. I don’t know how big of an account you would need for you not to be able to reply to somebody back. i’ve got a bit over 500 now and I could easily manage 50k if i needed to. Though, if i did need to, this post wouldn’t exist.

    Just as Skeeter Hansen and Al Ferretti said, tweet people how you want to be tweeted

  • Good basic post. Enough for me to RT you, which is the hurdle a blogger wants to jump. Yes, any kind of automated welcome DM is unwelcome to me and I refuse to autoDM across a variety of accounts. Politics, if it expresses a polarized opinion, needs a separate account for sure.

    Still, I won’t unfollow for any of the above reasons unless the over-promotion is not levened with even 1 interesting (and unique – not used before) non-promotional tweet in 10. I say that because I am good at refusing to follow anyone in the first place who follows me but tweets nothing but promotional stuff.

    So yes, sure, I unfollow about 5 people per week who send out third party ads like teeth whitening links, which are totally unacceptable, but 5 isn’t a big number.

    What causes me to specifically unfollow more – and this is a VERY serious infraction – is not following BACK.

    That is just plain rude.

    I don’t care how interesting your tweets are (if they are that good, I will unfollow and specifically visit now and then). The Twitter 2000 follow rule makes it so non-mutuals are boxing their followers in, which is like stamping their foot down on the hands of the person climbing the ladder below them. To continue to follow a Prima Donna would be to be unable to follow someone who actually wants to read what you have to say.

    Those who haven’t reached the 2000 follow limit should try it. It wakes you up.

    There really is no excuse not to follow back. One can read a limited stream using a filter app or with another account that takes 30 seconds to create.

    There is too much written about how “Twitter is great because there is no pressure for mutual follows”. This is patently untrue and not only because of the math behind the 2000 Follow Rule. It is just bad business to tell potential customers “We’re special and you peons are boring”.

    Pepsi and other corporations understand this. Other corporations do not.

    I do follow about 50 accounts non-mutually because they are simply too important and I will RT someone before I give up on them.

  • BTW, the “Filling up the wall” phenomenon is something I understand as a technical thing. It often happens when someone transfers content from one account to another, which is fair if you don’t have more than 3 accounts. I won’t punish that unless every single post that is filling up my stream is promotional or repetitive garbage (if you ever post “Twitter is the theater of the mind. TV is the theater of the mindless” you WILL get unfollowed by me).

    So the “Filling up the wall” scenario only exposes you to a more detailed analysis of who you are.

    Good advice for Round Table Pizza: you got too repetitive. It got old. I would advise the company at the least to syndicate content because the same-old non-promotional tweets got tiring. You have to think of something new all the time or retweet interesting content. Retweet the news if you have to, but don’t be fake about “having a conversation with Jamokie”. It is obvious that they are scared to let a real person tweet what they really think. It is the kiss of death for a company on Twitter to worry about letting an employee write freely or not. You either let them do that or the account gets unfollowed.

  • Actually, there is a good excuse (there are several innocent reasons) for not following back and that is not logging on for months.

    Someone needs to develop software for people to unfollow such people but to follow the moment they finally sign back on.

    Does anyone know if such software exists? I follow hundreds of such people but would prefer they didn’t count as follows because of the 2000 follow limit. I’d prefer to unfollow but follow when they finally sign back on.

  • What about people that only tweet quotes? I just wrote a blog post about how annoying these people are and how important your first impression on twitter is. But anyways, besides what everyone else listed above, quotes have to be the lamest/annoying/boring tweets and lead to automatic unfollow in my book.

  • avatar Al Ferretti says:

    Hi Billy~

    We have discovered that people like quotes for the inspiration and other reasons too

    Like anything else, quotes probably work best in moderation.

    Thanks for sharing your comment my friend..


  • avatar Jake says:

    The number of followers you have is no big deal. I once came across an account which had 5000 followers and about the same number being followed with NIL tweets. Obviously the person kept following, then un-following those who didn’t follow back and built up a follow list. So people will follow BLANK accounts too.

    I’ve experienced people following me, then unfollowing me once I followed them for no reason at all. Obviously they were only after building up their followers. Some people do that. That is why I have SocialOomph to make my account automatically UNFOLLOW anyone who stops following me.

  • avatar Felicity says:

    I disagree with the comment about quotes. To me, the best thing about the Twitter is how so many wonderful and interesting quotes are shared every day. I try to follow as many people (who post quotes) as possible. If it wasn’t for the quotes, I would have no use for Twitter. And that’s the truth.

  • avatar Rose says:

    I find it funny that you yourself are making one of these mistakes that have caused you to loose a follower. You are over promoting your website.

  • avatar Al Ferretti says:

    Thank you for sharing your opinion Rose.

    I hope you have a great weekend :-)


  • avatar Pia K says:

    interesting stuff!

    i’m not at all with allen above, i only follow someone back if it’s a person/company i’m truly interested in. and i’m fine with others who not return my following. i can’t see why that should be rude really. but, what i do find rude is the not replying to comments at least now and then. i like interaction and ‘dialogue’, the me-me-me of twitter is rather annoying. one of the reasons i don’t use it that much i suppose…

  • Great post! There’s a reason it’s called “social” networking. Just tweet like you want to be tweeted!

  • avatar Skeeter says:

    Hi Martha,

    You said it very well, just tweet like you want to be tweeted to. When you read this leave me your Twitter username so I can follow you.

    Thanks again,

  • Thanks Skeeter! My twitter username is the name I use for everything. . . my own! Martha Giffen

  • avatar charlotte says:

    I would agree and disagree with all or some of the statements here in this post and the comments.

    Depending on why you tweet, or what your tweeting for may or may not impact what you should or should not do. Twitter to me is a joke, because 90% of followers or people on twitter don’t tweet. They automate their tweets pushing and selling rubbish no one wants to buy. Most of the stuff they are pushing are “Known online scams” Personally Twitter to me is a place to get 100 or more free visitors a day to your site.

    Its nothing more. I have been experimenting with twitter, From my tests, twitter users prefer to read interesting articles that are useful over clicking spammy sales tactic and or links, I have tested both.

    When I wrote articles about what i was promoting “and did not sell but rather provided a testimonial- 2 things happened 1. the time someone spent on my site increased by 80% and they actually clicked on my affiliate links within my articles.

    However the time spent on twitter and writing the articles versus the amount of money made were not significant enough to consider a long term investment. Facebook and other social media sites yielded the same results.

    However twitter is uncensored, not like you-tube and all the other social media sites where paid users get more preference or certain statements are cut out. If you tube does not like the views you express it could be taken down. On twitter this is notthe case.

    Cussing, profanity and really obscene political or religious statements, will not cause you ti be unfollowed, in fact it does quite the opposite. I tested this as well.

    When I first started tweeting I was midly mannered and appropriate tweeting in a professional manner, my following was zilch. Than when I started cussing tweeting disgusting, both humorous and offensive, I tripled my following,

    I really have no preference in whether someone will or will not follow me, I dont really care its more of an experiment to me, I despised twitter at first and thought it was pretty stupid.

    But what i learned from twitter is this : You tweet what you want no one can tell you what to tweet- those are your thoughts your feelings its you expressing yourself on the world wide web. With that being said none of you have a right to tell these people what they should or should not tweet.

    Do you think its fair that someone telly you what you can or cannot tweet? And Id like to address the person who tweets while working. If you are tweeting while you work than you are stealing company time, you dont deserve to keep your job.

    Most jobs restrict sites on the internet, especially social media sites. Lately its the number 1 thing that will get you fired, so I wouldn’t tweet at work I wouldn’t even tell anyone your professional with that you tweet. Because they will read everything and if you tweeted something they don’t like it could get you fired.

    Dont give your enemies ammo. If your tweeting on the companies behalf Im sure they understand that twitter is uncensored and therefore a potential customer who just happens to twitter the word fuck in every other sentence is not going to matter.

    I don’t care what religion social status color or political views they have, because all i care is if they will visit my site. The only way I will unfollow someone is if they continue to push or sell something that I constantly or repeatedly tweet that ” I cant stand” for example “haiti” no one could get anyone to donate anything to America and help out with the souring economy, all the charities were crying for donations. Haiti which has nothing to do with america, all the sudden gets billions of dollars in aid, in the mean time Americans have no jons money and the housing market is in shambles.

    For some Americans its offensive to hear about helping haiti when we cant even help ourselves. Thats like my husband telling me honey I know were starving but our neighbor just lost his job so I have to give him all are food. Sorry sweetie your just not as important.

    This is the only reason I will unfollow someone and if they directly offend me, like sending me a nasty in a mention. Other than that I dont care what people say or do. BUt Im really pissed off about donations to haiti because were in a recession, but obivously were still spending like we got lots of money to burn and if so than why not rebuild America, instead of rebuilding haiti.

  • avatar Silvia says:

    omg! I have been cleaning up who I’m following on twitter based on the criteria you listed… prior to having read the article! I was having a bit of remorse too, b/c I was thinking, “well they are following me, it’s only fair to follow them” This just reinforced my original stance! Thanks!

  • avatar Skeeter says:

    Hi Silvia,

    Thanks for the comment about the article. It’s great when people like you find value in the articles we write. Keep up the great job with your Twitter account.

    Thanks again for the comment,

  • I think everyone that states they don’t mind the “Thanks for the follow” or “Direct Auto Reply message” must be doing the same thing to their recent followers.

    I also want to add the boring person. They start off with random funny quotes, but then, just like a pop radio station we begin to see duplicates.

    What goes with that annoyance, is the posters that schedule 4 or more tweets an hour, EVERY HOUR. Like they never sleep.

    But I will 2nd the notion said my many others. I do not want a link to your online book on every tweet. I don’t want to know that you can get me 10,000 followers in 1 hr. I Don’t care how bright my teeth can be.

    Finally, if I added you, and we go back and forth on topics, and etc, and then I see you don’t even follow me, POOF, be gone. I am not here just to feed your ego so you get a lot of replies. I see Twitter as a site to share and discuss. Not just to look for instant gratification responses to EVERYTHING you babble.

  • avatar Lori says:

    So true, all of these! I’ve un-followed people who respond instantly to my follow with an automated message. Get personal, for crying out loud!

  • avatar Diana says:

    What a wonderful array of comments I have learnt a lot from all of them. Just to throw my 20 cents worth in, I joined twitter before it became a household name and LOVED the human interaction without having to write chapters.
    So many different people, and I still have many of them as twitter friends and connections. I have met a couple from overseas and shared some excellent information.

    twitter will be a different experience for different people and its use will reflect that. One of the reasons why it is such a democratic system of social networking.

    I used to follow everyone BUT I found that I never read the ads and different languages were difficult too. Some people were on a different planet. So while I follow back most, I am more discerning now and I have started to unfollow those that who followed and then unfollowed UNLESS i find their tweets add something and can understand their reasons for keeping their follow back levels low.

    there are different scenarios why people follow or unfollow and we need to be careful not to assume too much. For me I like to keep it real

  • avatar AskTheOz says:

    OK… I’ve enjoyed reading your Posts. Terrific! However, I am siding with two (2) people on here. The Quotes are DISGUSTING! If they are ones original Quotes, OK. Copious quoting all day from someone who you know is using the Quotes to get followers is boring. Case and point! Two guys in particular starting following me (because I did not know any better, I decided to follow them too) heck I’m new to Twitter. Anyway, they started Tweeting more than me. I thought, oh, these guys are only Tweeting to get my followers. Once I unfollowed them, they disappeared which validated my point. I don’t need to follow people. Now I am only following 1 person. I am not on Twitter to follow people. I am on Tweeter to be followed because my Articles/Blogs are worth reading and to be followed. I am not about to promote other people’s Websites and Twitter pages unless I assess they are worthy to be followed. To this day, and I’ve only been on Twitter a month, I have yet to identify anyone worth following other than one person! I am currently being followed by people with whom I have some things in common. For example, all-Natural health, organic, and wholesome living. Yep, that’s it! Hope this input helps anyone who seeks out what I have to impart. All the BEST!

  • very nice, but I don’t do that very often, I think there might be another reason why I am losing followers.

  • avatar Rachel says:


    Just my two cents here…I read somewhere that Twitter may be cleaning house and getting rid of the spammers. That is yet another reason you may be losing followers.

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