5 Clues Affecting Twitter Follow Back

A Little Bird Told Me
Image by mattknow

After seeing a few folks with #hashtag after #hashtag in their Twitter bios, I asked what people thought of that. Along the same lines, I tweeted, “‘I follow back’ in a twitter bio does the opposite of what is intended … at least for me. How about you?”
I don’t follow back because this tells me they’re about numbers not quality. OK … OK … I admit following back one person with “I follow back” in his bio because he posts great quotes worth sharing.
What folks say …
“I follow back” comments

AshDHart: “I follow back” generally = I don’t engage I just build up a collection of followers.
rachaelgk: Agreed, and, I DID follow you because of your tweet that you don’t. Haha.
Booklorn: It suggest the person has no discretion/standards in who they follow, so yeah, not a good thing to put in profile.

#hashtag abuse in bio or tweets comments

zerocattle: if it’s funny, great! If it’s clearly spamming, boooo! (to both cases)
mmonsen7: I try to keep my hashtags to 3 or less per tweet. Often, it’s just one. Looks better, I think.
ZBzacbrown: I think it’s sort of a rookie move and an attempt to make their handle associated with the hashes..advertising..

Aside from those who follow everyone back, users rely on a few visual clues to decide whether to follow someone.
Clues Affecting the Twitter Follow Back Decision

  1. Avatar picture. Default or original? Person, logo or other image?
  2. Bio. Info, length and format. Format refers to whether the person uses a bunch of keywords or #hashtags. (Unless done with a sense of humor.) You only have 165 characters for your bio. Yet, some people use few words that reveal nothing about themselves. “I follow back” usually gets no follow.
  3. URL. Some folks are suspicious of those whose URL uses a URL shortener service like bit.ly, tinyurl or is.gd. Most legitimate URLs should be able to fit that you shouldn’t need a shortener. No URL is also no good even if you don’t have a website.
  4. Stats. Tweets, follower, following and listed numbers. People look for unbalanced numbers unless you’re Ashton Kutcher or  Oprah. High numbers don’t necessarily mean the person is popular or a good tweeter. With all the automated tools available, it’s not hard to drive up your numbers.
  5. Tweets. Is there a variety of tweets? Or do you see all quotes? (OK, I follow some who do nothing but quotes — there are exceptions.) All “Title of article or blog post” followed by same type of link URL? Do you see other Twitter user IDs mentioned like @merylkevans? Some people look like they’re talking to no one like a “whaling wall” (Credit: Robin Dickson) when they never mention anyone. A sign they’re not listening.
Initially, I had six with the last being “background” because many spammers use Twitter’s default backgrounds, but decided against it after tweeting with others about it. The other elements are more important. Besides, I follow a lot of great tweeters with plain or default backgrounds.

What clues do you look for when you decide whether to follow someone on Twitter? If you look for these traits, what do you consider for each?

1 thought on “5 Clues Affecting Twitter Follow Back”

  1. Turnons: Willingness to engage in conversation, tweet links to interesting content, funny, insightful, comprehensible
    Turnoffs: Blatant and continuously self-promotional, nonstop tweeting, hashtag crazy, snarky


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