Growing Your Twitter Following and Maintenance

In a recent post at The Social Ms, it explained that the heavy-hitter social influencers use a particular strategy to get the right followers and lots and lots of followers.

The Strategy

It’s the “follow-unfollow” strategy and it’s in two parts.

1. What this simply means is you follow heavy-hitters in the hope they’ll follow back. But, there’s another strategy to this, you become visible to that heavy-hitter. Following her may motivate her to take a peek at your profile.

2. Numbers matter, so the more followers you have the better. On the assumption that if you follow someone within your industry, they’ll follow back, following others is a good idea.


As you’re building your Twitter followers, keep in mind that Twitter has a Follow/Unfollow ratio cutoff. When the number of those you’re following get to a certain point above those who are following you, Twitter caps you off.

You either have to get more followers or you have to unfollow some if you want to add others.

TIP: I use It’s a Twitter tool that you allow to access your Twitter account. It shows you all those who you’re following but aren’t following you back. You simply ‘unfollow’ them as part of your maintenance.

Even if you don’t reach your limit, it’s a good idea to unfollow users who unfollow you.

You can also use this tool to find and unfollow inactive followers and ‘fake’ profile followers.

A Little Wrench in the Works

While I agree this is a great strategy, I don’t think heavy-hitters are going to follow me back.

If I follow an ‘influencer,’ I do it to make the initial connection and to be on his Twitter list. This is to ensure I have a higher probability of receiving his tweets. I honestly don’t expect Jay Baer or HubSpot or Harvard Business Review to follow me back.

Another strategy to use is to follow ‘regular people’ in your industry who are providing valuable tweets. Follow Twitter users who are adding to the conversation.

I’ve also read to follow those who Favorite and Retweet your tweets.

This is a good idea, but if you’re like me, it can be time consuming. I don’t just follow users even if they follow me first. I’m very picky about who I follow.

This means I have to check out the user’s profile to determine if they are:

  • ‘G’ rated
  • If they are in my industry / niche (or closely related to my niche)
  • If they have a focused platform and it’s quickly identifiable
  • If they tweet regularly
  • If they provide valuable information

Within one 12 hour period, I got 32 Favorites and 4 Retweets. I just don’t have the time to check each user’s profile to decide if I want to follow them, if we’re not already connected.

Breaking Down What I Look For

I mentioned I check a profile for five particular elements. Here’s a bit more information on that.

1. Is the user’s platform ‘G’ rated?

This is obviously a personal preference. Along with inbound marketing and writing, I have other online interests and businesses, a couple of them warrant that I have a ‘G’ rated platform.

It’s gotten to the point where I’ve had to ‘mute’ a few of my followers because of the images they post with their tweets.

Again, this is personal preference.

2. Is the user in my industry?

I could easily have tripled the number of followers if I followed anyone.

What’s the point of following someone who tweets about the best wines or latest fashions? My platform is marketing. I provide information that will help my followers move forward with their marketing efforts. It’s not a good idea to dilute your platform.

Along with this, followers outside my niche won’t be providing helpful information to me or my followers.

3. Does the user have a focused platform?

This should be a no-brainer, but I see so many user profiles that are vague. He’s a social media marketer or inbound marketing, maybe. He’s also a skater. He likes cars. And, his tweets are all over the place.

This is not to say there’s anything wrong with this, but for me it’s just not focused. I need to make a quick decision if I’m going to follow someone back. I’ll go so far as to check the first few tweets. At that point, if I’m not sure what the user’s platform is, I don’t follow back.

I’ve searched profiles that say they’re marketers, but the majority of their tweets are on sports. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this, I’m just looking for users who are more focused on marketing. People who add to the conversation, to my industry’s  conversation.

4. Does the user tweet regularly?

I’ve had users follow me who have ONE tweet. Others haven’t tweeted for months.

What’s the point of being on Twitter? I’m sure there’s one, but I don’t get it.

I don’t follow these users back.

5. Does the user provide valuable information?

This is kind of related to number 3 above. If the user has tweets on this, that, and the other thing, I pass.

While everyone may tweet about something unrelated to their niche here and there, it shouldn’t be on a regular basis. If I scroll down a user’s list of tweets and can’t find a focus, I pass. If I scroll down a user’s profile and there are 10 to 20 consecutive tweets thanking others for ‘following,’ retweeting, favoriting, and so on. I pass.

TIP: I retweet other’s useful tweets in-between my ‘thank you’ tweets. This way I show the appreciation I have for those who Favorite or Retweet my tweets and still offer valuable information in-between.

Please note that these are simply my personal preferences. There are other strategies that are just as effective or suit the user better.

The Simple Twitter Growth Approach All Influencers Use



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