Dealing with people that follow then unfollow

A question by tweet:

@TweetSmarter How do you recommend dealing with people that follow then unfollow? even DM-ing before they do? I’m exhausted.

The best solution is to have a good strategy for following people. Following people only because they follow you is a bad strategy, for example. It will attract too many low-quality accounts, many of whom who will follow & then unfollow. I mention this because they can’t have DM’d you unless you followed them. Getting a DM from someone you follow is meaningless in and of itself, since so many DMs are automated spam.

For quality, it’s better to find or attract followers, rather than putting too much attention on people finding you randomly. You don’t have to follow back people who follow you. You don’t have to thank people who follow you. Try these strategies for finding or attracting followers. Of course, you don’t want to ignore people! But if all they do is follow and make no other kind of connection, you can make dealing with them a lower priority.

Besides strategies, look through some of the Twitter follow management tools. They semi-automate a variety of strategies, saving you time. But don’t expect to find any tool that unfollows anyone that unfollows you:  Twitter expressly prohibited that feature some time ago since it contributes to making following/unfollowing a game.

Otherwise, review people that follow you carefully before following back. Good things to check first are:

  1. Did they tweet or retweet you first? Do you recognize them from comments on your blog?
  2. Are they asking for help?
  3. Do they look like they could be a good resource for you?
  4. Read their tweets: Do they converse with others? Do they tweet too frequently? Do they have too many retweets?
  5. Read their bio: Do they have one? Does it include a link? Does it make you want to follow them?

These are all things tools can help you with, or that you can check manually. Some folks simply don’t check followers for several days, knowing that any that are just looking for a follow back will often unfollow after a few days of not being followed back.

And of course autofollowing back anyone that follows you can be a real pain, besides that you attract low quality accounts by using it. For example, I have known new Twitter users who learned of this feature early, and then one day found they were following 2001 people and only a few hundred were following them back. Because of this, they were blocked from following anyone else! (See the “How Twitter stops follow churn section” for why Twitter blocks some users from following once you reach 2001.)

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