Using Twitter to promote your blog or merely grow your personal brand is great, but one thing a lot of new (and veteran) users don’t realize is that following too many people too quickly can bite you in the rear end. You may have noticed that once you reach about 2,000 followers, you’ll be cut off from following more users until your follow/followers ratio is back in what Twitter considers a reasonable balance.
Blame it on the spammers. They would follow so many new users in hopes of receiving followers, so that they could spread their spam messages across the Twitterverse. It’s not nearly as effective as most other spam methods (i.e. email, social networks) because of the “follow” nature of Twitter itself. There’s no mutual relationship needed to simply post spammy updates to your own profile, and it’s even more difficult to spam other users when they can simply unfollow you.
Nevertheless, Twitter took it upon itself to curb as much spammy behavior as possible by instilling this follow limit. If you’re following 2,000 users and there aren’t nearly that many users following you back, Twitter will block you from following anyone else. If you are seeking more followers, however, this limitation can really hurt you.
One major downside is that you will even be blocked from following new Twitter users that decide to follow you. This seems a bit harsh on Twitter’s end–if it’s spammy behavior Twitter is looking to stop, then there’s no reason to restrict private messages between two users that have mutually agreed to follow each other.
On the flip side, the follow limit really encourages you to better engage other Twitter users. You’re forced to rely on public Twitter communication in order to converse with existing followers, as well as gain new followers. Yes, Twitter is forcing you to use its service in the way it was intended.
So if you’ve hit this glass Twitter ceiling, what can you do?
- As I mentioned, rely on public communication for engaging other Twitter users. That means finding users that have similar interests, and using @replies in order to get their attention. Reply to their updates, and reference them when sharing links and ideas they may be interested in.
- Unfollow any of those users that didn’t follow you back. This will help bring your follow/follower ratio closer to 1:1
- Get other Twitter users to reference you. This can be through retweeting, recommendations such as #followFriday, and more.
- Just keep tweeting. The more you establish yourself as a reference for your topic of interest, the more your tweets will appear in search engines that others are using to find important people to follow. Getting your name up in a recommendation service or search engine can really help you get a lot of followers without you having to follow them first.