When I first started using Twitter I didn’t have to worry about bots and spammers attempting to follow me because the service although unreliable (remember the great fail whale outages of yesteryear?) was relatively clean when it came to its user base. If someone followed you, it was polite to follow them back and little to no research into that individual was performed before clicking the follow button we simply followed because we ourselves had been followed.
Today, it is a remarkably different environment altogether and while Twitter is reliable and for the most part stable we have blown past the point of no return when it comes to spam bots and other spammers mass following accounts. I no longer have the option of just blindly following back and now instead have to go through a vetting process on each individual before ever considering to following them back. The process of vetting each account doesn’t take very long and it goes a long way to ensure I keep my Twitter feed free of most spam while allowing me the opportunity to follow new and interesting people on a daily basis.
With many other Twitter users encountering the same issues with spam that I myself am, vetting accounts before following has become common practice. If you are finding that you are having a hard time gaining new followers even though you feel you are adding valuable, informative and helpful content it may be that your Twitter profile is not passing this vetting process. If it is your Twitter profile that is causing the issue and not what you are contributing, don’t fret using some or all of the tips below may improve your chances of gaining new followers.
- No Egghead Picture
One of the first things I check for is that the user is not using the default egg picture provided by Twitter. If a user can’t be bothered to change out this picture, chances are it may be a spam account and while the egghead picture isn’t a deal breaker and I will usually check into the account further it does put me on alert that I am probably dealing with a bot.
Quick Fix: If you are using the default Twitter profile picture make sure you change it. If you want to add more trust, swap it out for an actual image of you.
- Include A Bio
Something else you should always fill out is your bio and seeing as Twitter allows you to describe yourself using up to 160 characters so make each of those characters count by providing an accurate description of yourself. If a user doesn’t include a bio, I do become more suspicious and will investigate their feed for more clues as to whether they are real or not.
Quick Fix: Want to write a better Twitter bio? Mashable had a pretty good article discussing just how to do that here
- No Ninja, Guru, Maven Talk
It’s one thing to think highlyof yourself and it’s another thing to by overly annoying in describing how awesome you are. This may be a personal thing but when I see a bio lined with descriptors such as Ninja, Maven, Guru etc…and a Twitter stream full of the same I usually will not follow back.
Quick Fix: I can’t stress enough not to do this but if you want to read more about this, Ignite Social Media talks about this issue here
- Customize Your Header Image
Seeing as I use a standard Twitter Header Image, this is low on my list for vetting Twitter followers but if I see a well designed and implemented Header Image I immediately believe that a human and not a bot is behind the account making my decision to follow that much easier.
Quick Fix: If you want to learn more about creating really awesome Twitter Header images, Sprout Social has you covered
- High Tweet Count But No Followers
This is almost a dead giveaway for a spam account and one that I’ve seen many times where the account has zero followers but over a thousand tweets have been sent out. If I happen to see an account such as this it’s almost a guaranteed no follow with a high chance of reporting it as a spam account.
Quick Fix: If you’re a real person with this issue, stop right now. You need to clean up your account and then start building an actual following centred around like minded individuals. You can find others to follow with similar interest using a site such as wefollow and after cleaning up your account the hope would be those with similar interests would reciprocate the follow.
- No Tweets But Following Lots Of Accounts
On the opposite end is where a user has zero tweets sent out but are following accounts in the thousands and for me I have found this is usually associated with a spam account of some type and will usually not follow back.
Quick Fix: While a real person may be behind an account such as this and they may just be using Twitter as an information gathering tool, the fact remains being social is a large component of Twitter and if you want to get followers you’re going to have to participate in the conversations that are happening around you.
What process do you use to verify the accounts you follow are real and not spam?