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Bad Twitiquette: 10 Ways To Lose Your Twitter Followers, Fast!

Every now and then I like to tidy up whom I follow on Twitter. The process of deciding on those accounts that I no longer want to follow always raises some interesting questions: why do we decide to unfollow people on Twitter? And what behaviours encourage people to decide not to follow you anymore? Here are my ten ways to lose your Twitter followers, fast:

1. # Spamming people

Spamming is the number one way to get unfollowed on Twitter. According to Twitter here are some common tactics used by spammers:

  • Posting harmful links (including links to phishing or malware sites)
  • Aggressive following behavior (mass following and mass un-following for attention)
  • Abusing the @reply or @mention function to post unwanted messages to users
  • Creating multiple accounts (either manually or using automated tools)
  • Spamming trending topics to try to grab attention
  • Repeatedly posting duplicate updates
  • Posting links with unrelated tweets

2. # Blatantly self-promoting

The problem with self-promotion of course is that it is almost worthless. Twitter is great for engaging and getting involved in conversations with other people, yet many continue to use it solely to broadcast about how much they love themselves.

3. # Tweeting too much

How many tweets are too many? It’s difficult to define because too many tweets can mean a different number to different people. None the less, over tweeting is one of the main reasons that people stop following, try:

  • Not to tweet multiple tweets right after one another
  • Use the @ and DM functions where  possible to make sure you are not clogging up other people’s streams.

4. # Tweeting too little

Less of an issue perhaps than over tweeting but if you are not active on Twitter you risk losing followers. In some respects at least, not being active is the same as not being there.

5. # Not engaging with your followers

Following on from not tweeting, if you not conversing with or not replying to your followers, many are understandably going to decide to click unfollow.

6. # Getting the professional vs. personal tweeting balance wrong

If you are using Twitter in a professional capacity, then tweeting too many personnel tweets can get you unfollowed. In saying that, many followers will prefer a mixture of tweets believing that this gives them insight into the personalities behind a business. This can sometimes become a difficult balancing act to get right.

7. # Unprofessional conduct and tweets

Unprofessional tweets stick out on Twitter and will get you unfollowed, so refrain from bad language, airing your dirty laundry in public, bullying other Twitter users, the list goes on and on.

8. # Robotic tweeting

Messaging or using software that employs automation is another sure-fire way to annoy people and lose followers.

9. # Network marketing

Network marketers seem not to have worked out how to market on Twitter, need i say more? 🙂

10. # Offering to show me how to get me thousands of new followers

Telling folks about your thousands of followers and offering to show them how to get thousands of their own, might seem like a good idea but it’s really not.

  • While many continue to obsess about it, the number of followers you have has a very limited value.
  • Instead try to focus instead on building relationships with the followers you already have.


In reality, there are not many hard and fast rules when it comes to using Twitter, what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. On occasion, I know that I have broken some of those rules above. It’s difficult to keep all your followers happy all the time, the best that you can aim for is that you continue to bring value for most of your followers, most of the time.

So what makes you unfollow someone?

Thanks for reading,


“Image from mkabakov/Shutterstock.”


Digital expert, top 10% influencer with over 10 years’ senior management experience - including managing projects and teams, and growing companies in the Irish, international and online marketplaces. Co-founded one of the largest B2B blogs in the world, helped grow a B2B social media to over 1,000,000 members, created the strategy for one of the most effective SME Facebook pages in the world and have grown 3 business websites (, & to in excess of a 100,000 unique visitors per month. Have consulted and worked with both corporate and SME clients on leveraging digital to drive business KPIs. Speaker at industry events, have authored several industry reports on the Digital Economy and appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Business Insider and other leading online and offline business publications. Specialities include: Entrepreneurship Business Development, Start-ups, Business Planning, Management, Training, Leadership, Sales Management, Sales, Sales Process, Coaching, Online Advertising, Blogging, Online Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media Strategist, Digital Strategy, Social Media ROI, User Generated Content, Social Customer Care.

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  • Spot on Niall. I did a cull of my Twitter followers this week and weeded out those who don’t tweet regularly and those who follow but then don’t engage with me.  For me Twitter is a virtual conversation, and I don’t want to feel as if I am talking to myself all the time.My other reason for unfollowing is your # 7 point – I find bad language and slagging off others distasteful in the extreme and I will immediately hit the unfollow button – I don’t care how prominent they may be in certain SM circles.

  • Anonymous

    Great post Niall. I usually unfollow someone if they dominate my feed with too many irrelevant tweets.
    I learned, the hard way, that it is best to set up a second account to tweet if you are planning on broadcasting the details of a tweet up or a bloggers event you are attending. Then I notify others of my new temporary handle that I am tweeting from and the # tag associated with it. That way they have the choice to follow if they are interested in the topic. 65 tweets in one hour at a social media event cost me 10 followers……I was a young tweeter back then.

  • Here are some of the reasons I click “unfollow”: Auto Dms when you follow someone suggesting that you visit their website or like them on Facebook.Endless 4 square check-ins. (Hate them. really hate them).
    Retweet (RT) the RT of their tweet. RT of every #FF (#followfriday) that mentions them. Actually, any RT metioning one’s twitter name. Unless it’s funny, or ironic. Or very occasional.Endless mentions of the fantastic work they are doingName dropping (ok – , now that I think of it, kinda did that yesterday. *Hangs head in shame*)
    I would forgive odd transgressions, and am guilty of the odd one to be honest.  

    But these are covered already in your most excellent list above Niall. Just delighted to be able to list a few of my *Faves* as I spotted a virtual soap box here. Feel bettter now….. 🙂
    Thanks Niall!
    ~ Helen

  • Great post Niall. And I really hope some people take note and alter their Twitiquette. Over the last year I’ve tended to only follow back people who converse with me or that I find their tweets interesting. Like Helen I hate the 4square tweets, auto dm’s, bad language/bullying and retweets of #FF. I also don’t like constant “profound” quotes. I have unfollowed a few people recently because of this or I just move them from my Good Friends column on Tweetdeck into the All Friends column so I’m less likely to see them then.

  • Great post Niall, I too have broken one or two of those rules at one time or another, in fact at the moment I’m not tweeting enough, this post has given my the ‘kick’ to go and do some tweeting – Thank you 🙂

  • lol, and I too carry the acares of the early days, we live & learn. 

  • Thanks Marie, Twitter is a virtual conversation, just remeber that others are having to listen so take it offline as soon as is suitable.

  • I think we all get a bit more picky as time goes by 🙂

  • Great points as always, Helen. An odd sin is forgivable but constant stuff, well!

  • Glad to hear I’ve helped to get you back on there, Catherine. Thanks for the comment!

  • Anonymous

    Overtweeting (same as flooding IMO) generally does it for me.

  • Great pointers to ponder by twitter account owners.. good ways to get organic traffic.. keep it up

  • Great summation Niall – I’ve watched several of these and there is fantastic content in each. Well done to the team.

  • Paul Anderson

    Hi Sian,

    Thanks for your compliment. If you need any help about CRM system, please contact me 🙂



  • Donncha Hughes

    Eric. Is this too extreme? I have over 50 accounts with passwords and usernames at last count. I formulate passwords as you suggest and have variations of about five different passwords. I use a laptop, mobile and iPad. If I turn off remember password, how am I supposed to remember all these passwords across my devices.

  • Remembering passwords are a bitch,I have so many that I’ve lost count. I use Robo-Form everywhere to save all of my passwords, and I have also got my passwords written down in 2 note books

  • Donncha Hughes

    Paul – Robo-Form looks good (watched the video animation which was very good). My ‘system’ is to record all password in a password protected Excel sheet that is available on my cloud and therefore accessible on all devices. I also use a Master Password on Mozilla Firefox which I have to enter when I open my internet browser. It means that all my passwords and usernames are remembered by the browser. Recently I set up the Firefox Sync feature so that all passwords are automatically pulled across to my browser on my android phone also (but not the iPad). I suppose I am favouring accessibility over security but I think this solution works as security is not compromised.

  • Thanks for the opportunity to speak about this Sian!

    @Niall For me one of the big advantages that cloud gives accountants is actually the ability it gives them to grow their business outside of their local business environment. Collaborating with clients online really means that it becomes less important where the accountant’s office is in relation to their clients office / shop / van / spare room! Yet they can still maintain really effective working relationships.

  • Sure is Niall. Are you a Mac man yourself?

  • Sian Phillips

    Thanks for the clarification of a monopoly Lyceum – the word was just a description of Paypal being the most powerful and well known in the market

  • Really glad that my article made it to the top 10. I think this is my second time. Congrats to others who got featured 🙂

  • Velly Angelova

    Thanks, Nishadha! It’s always satisfactory to see your efforts are highly rewarded! Congrats to you too!

  • Velly Angelova

    Thanks, Niall! And this fact motivates me even more!

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  • Hey Sian, thanks for the great comment 🙂 I wished I knew these things a couple of years ago as well, hehe.

  • Loana, thank you for this great article!

    When I started as a voice over talent I remember having too much month left at the end of my money. Looking forward to your next posts!

  • Great tips Ioana, my favorite is “emphasizing perceived value” it helped me in increasing my rates with clients, I simply tell you more ways I could help and increase my rates without adding too much work for myself.

    Thanks once again!

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