With a sudden flurry of tweets and blog comments for my original post of the same name over at my Executive Resume Branding blog, I decided to take a second look at my “won’t follow” criteria four months later.
Let me first say that these are not hard and fast rules that I even follow myself all the time, so I don’t mean to imply that you should adhere to any of them.
Follow people based upon your own goals for communicating your personal brand and leveraging Twitter. If it’s important to you to have a huge following, then by all means follow back everyone who follows you and follow anyone new you come across.
But, if you feel you should be selective, consider my criteria to prompt your own list, depending upon your own purposes with Twitter.
Here’s my somewhat revised list of things that will keep me from following you, along with a few caveats and thoughts, followed by recent contributions from readers in their blog comments on the original post:
1. You have no photo.
Personal branding is about creating emotional connections. People are drawn more to tweets that are accompanied by the author’s photo. And a photo helps me know you’re a real person.
Don’t worry if you’re not good-looking. Like most people, I won’t judge you by how handsome or pretty you are. Choose an appealing photo that strikes the right image and professional tone for your industry and niche.
When it comes down to it, even a poor quality photo of yourself is better than none.
2. You have no Twitter bio.
How can I know who you are, what you have to offer, and whether we may be able to help each other?
I have to admit though, that I will follow people without photos or a bio, based upon the company they keep. If you’re following a lot of people I know and respect, who are in my sphere, I’ll probably follow you anyway.
3. Your bio and tweets are loaded with glaring typos or grammatical errors or don’t make sense to me.
I do make allowances sometimes though, especially if it appears that English is not your first language.
4. Your bio is loaded with unrealistic claims about yourself or your company.
The tweets of these Tweeple usually follow suit, with promises of making easy cash, getting whiter teeth in minutes, etc. YAWN!
5. Your profile has no link to further info about you.
I want to know who you are and if you’re legitimate.
6. Your tweets are mostly chit chat that doesn’t interest me, or teach me anything, or inspire me.
Another big YAWN! But that’s just me. I know lots of people who do very well meeting their own Twitter goals and connecting with lots of people in this way.
7. Your tweets consistently pound me with self-promoting blog posts and information.
If you have to talk about yourself all the time, you’re probably not that great.
8. I really don’t like your politics.
I generally shy away from politics all together on social networks, except if it’s an issue very near and dear to my heart.
9. Your niche and tweets are completely unrelated to mine.
I usually stay within my own sphere. But I’ll pretty much follow anyone who RTs me, especially if it’s a blog post I’ve written. I greatly appreciate it when people take the time to read (hopefully!) my posts and RT me. Heck, just like everyone else, I love a pat on the back.
10. Your tweets tell me over and over that I can get 1,000 new Twitter followers a day if I follow your simple rules or buy something from you.
I doubt that the people you’re going to help me find are those I want to have follow me.
11. You haven’t tweeted in, say, over a month or so.
This isn’t terribly important, but I have to wonder about you. And I can’t get much of a feel for who you are with such infrequent tweets.
A big exception to this is if you’re someone who’s obviously struggling with getting a handle on Twitter and you’ve just started following me. I figure, maybe watching someone like me, who’s fairly active on Twitter, will be encouraging and help you get a feel for what you can do with Twitter.
12. You follow and are followed by hundreds or thousands, but you’ve only tweeted maybe a dozen times all together.
This is suspect to me. You’re not using Twitter the way I do, so we’re probably not a good follow fit.
13. Your profile in any way smacks of spam, pornography, violence, or anything against my sensibilities.
I don’t care if you RT every one of my tweets, I’m not interested in aligning myself with you or your world.
14. A lot of the people you follow are shady, as in #13.
I do pay attention to the company you keep. Following these kinds of Tweeple means that you follow back everyone who follows you, or you practice that kind of tweeting yourself, or both.
And here are suggestions for criteria from some of my readers, preceded by their Twitter handles, so you can follow them on Twitter:
@HeidiSiefkas — Tweets that say “take this X quiz, I did.”
@kayross — I’ve seen lots of people suggest that we “should” follow back everyone who follows us, because that’s “polite”. If I’m followed by spambots, wannabe porn-stars, idiots, time-wasters, pushy hard-sellers etc., I don’t feel at all obliged tofollow them back. And I don’t follow people who tweet nothing but inspiring quotes by other people.
@JoePritchard — If you can’t type anything without text-speechor teen-speak. English works well, even within 140 characters, text-speech or teen-speak used in excess just results in gibberish. Oh..and for me….and I know it sounds snobbish and ageist…I’m the wrong side of 45. I’m rarely going to follow anyone on teh young side of 20 because although you’re probably very nice people I’ll probably share little in common! :-)
@amandarykoff — If your entire Twitter feed consists of links back to your blog, I won’t follow you. Twitter is about engagement and communication. Simply linking to your blog does not promote either.
What are your Twitter “won’t-follow” criteria?
Compilation of Twitter posts: Twitter Help and Strategies for Executive Job Search and Personal Branding