The Truth About Following Back


Follow backs. Sometimes, this is the driving force behind people clicking your follow button. It’s a shame, really. I’ve found that sometimes following back can be the fastest way to grow your network.

Is it the best way? No. Will it retain REAL customers in your target market? HELL NO.

It is, however, a nice gesture that may or may not allow you to grow your network. If you do it correctly. If you’re picky and attentive.

Still, people want the follow back. People want it SO badly, that they will track who follows them back and who doesn’t, and probably unfollow all of their “non-followers.” I don’t have to explain to you why this is absurd, right? We’re on the same page? Good.

So when should YOU follow back? That’s easy. You follow back:

1. If the person tweets content that interests you
2. If you have a common niche

These two reasons should tell you a lot about WHY people aren’t following you back (if that’s the case.) Even if the person checking out your twitter is in the same niche, has the same interests, etc., how are you letting them know that’s the case? How do they KNOW they are going to enjoy your content, and not rue the day they followed you back?

Here’s how:

1. Your profile picture hits all the marks: It’s not a blurry photo of your socks, it’s not a weird meme you found on Google, and it’s DEFINITELY not still the egg. Please, please, tell me you don’t still have the egg? A decent (not even professional, but decent) photo of your beautiful face will add a green light to the follow back button.

2. Your Twitter Bio is on POINT: Your bio has got to be short, sweet, and to the damn point. Answer these questions: What do you do? What makes you happy? What makes you Unique? What will you tweet about? I answer these questions in my bio:

Writer {Fantasy/SciFi} Reader. Passions include coffee, folklore, & sarcasm. Gif reaction expert. Blogger. Tweets about writing & marketing for authors.

I automatically tell the suspicious tweeter why they should follow me. Make it personal. Make it count. And for goodness sakes, don’t just stick a weird One Direction lyric in there and call it a day. I don’t know who you are or why I should follow you from a quote or a lyric. Be specific!

3. You have a pinned tweet that flaunts your niche: I was hesitant about pinning tweets. I tried it, and now I’m hooked. I pin my new #1LineWed every week, and it’s dramatically improved the retweets/favs and even new followers. Pinning this tweet lets other writers know I’m not some sleezy social media guru trying to sell them an e-book. I’m a real person, working on a real fantasy novel, and I want to inspire them and be inspired by them.

4. Your tweets are focused, but you’re obviously not a bot: I go on weird tangents, I talk about my personal life, I even occasionally touch on my struggle with anxiety disorder and depression. But I always bring it back to my focus. I try to find a balance between being personal, and being a resource. When the new follower comes along and quickly glances at your top 10 tweets, they should get a good understanding of what you’re about, and also know for sure that you’re not a spammer.

5. You interact with your current followers: This one is pretty self explanatory. You’re not just all talk, but you listen too. You RT (three or four times a day) and you respond to questions/comments. It’s all a vital piece to building your network.

If you’re following all these points, and you feel that you still aren’t getting people to follow you back, don’t dwell on it. Twitter is about making friends. The followers will come with time, and the more you focus on the numbers the slower they will grow. Be yourself, provide good content, and let it happen.

That being said, let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@NicoleLautore) what your policy for following people back is? What do you look for before you click the follow button?

As always, happy writing. 🙂

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  1. I remember my first day on Twitter — I started my account on mobile, and someone actually followed me when I was an egg XD (That person actually knew me on another writing site and is a lovely person all around, but to this day I have never figured out how she found me as an egg) (anyways) I’m still uncertain of my Twitter bio and pinned tweet, especially since the latter is a link to my manuscript excerpt and does look a bit sales-y, but I might change it around someday. I actually barely RT, except for those “RT if you want a black widow movie”-esque tweets, since I prefer to directly share other people’s blog posts around the Internet. Personally, I’ve found this works better than RTing since I get to figure out what works best for my audience and add my own commentary.

    1. And that’s is 100% okay! You should definitely do what is best for YOUR target market. You’re doing it right, girl! Your Twitter bio will come with time. Just make little changes when you can to tweak it. Experiment. It sounds to me like you know what you’re doing! 😉 Thanks again for your comment, always appreciated! 🙂

  2. Great points, Nicole!

    If I’m looking at whether I should follow something, I legit look at everything you point out: their photo (though it’s not a deal-breaker), their bio (give me something about you!), and then their tweets: if they seem to do much more retweeting or self-promo than anything else, I usually decide not to follow back. I love being able to tell at a glance that someone’s a real person, and someone I want to talk to and get to know, because my favorite part about Twitter is how easy it is to interact with each other, regardless of whether you’ve chatted before!

    1. Those points you list are exactly what I do, almost step by step. And that’s why Twitter is my favorite, as well. The interaction! That’s what it’s all about. As usual, you’re doing all the right things, Rae!

      Thanks for commenting 🙂 See you on Twitter!

  3. I like to have organization. I put the people that interest me in lists so that I know who they are. If they follow me and their feed doesn’t interest me then I won’t follow them. I wouldn’t want to follow someone I’d never interact with. But if that person tweets at me or comments on a post I’ll always respond. (Though I’ve noticed that people that do that are mostly ones I follow.)

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