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Twitter Housecleaning | Knowing when to fold ‘em

twitter can be a lot of fun and very useful for marketing if done correctly. One of the things the budding tweetmeister learns quickly is that twitter limits the number of people you can follow based on how many people follow you.

twitter is much like a radio station where the user gets to determine who listens. Most folks who are planning on using it to promote their work start off in a sprint, following people as fast as they can, welcoming those who follow back and desperately hoping that those who aren’t returning the favor will see the error of their ways and shortly come aboard. 1000…1500…2000…only to hit a wall at 2001! Suddenly you get a message from twitter saying that you can’t follow anymore people! Thoughts race thru your mind, “What did I do wrong? Have I offended someone? Am I in trouble?” Don’t worry, none of those things are true. twitter built in follow limits to keep marketers from monopolizing the system and to guarantee that human beings would have to be involved.

OK, so you’ve hit a total follower limit, what do you do? Well, just like at home, there comes a time when you have to take out the trash!

Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with the folks who don’t follow you back. There are many following philosophies, and they are as varied as people are.
For example they might…
- only follow close friends. Often people use twitter as a mini email between friends. “let’s have lunch on Friday.”, “My vacation was killer!”, “@Bob check out this pizza!” To these users, communication with friends is the key reason to tweet. If they aren’t following you, don’t follow them- they will never see your tweets.
- not be very active on twitter. Give a prospective follower a couple weeks to follow back and if they don’t, cut them loose. There are at least 50 Million active twitter users- there are plenty of fish in the sea.
- be a celebrity. I don’t follow celebrities, period… well, unless they reach out to me, of course.
- be an expert, guru, an authority who thinks there place is to dispense advice and wisdom not to listen to it. They tend to be people you’ve never heard of that are overly taken with themselves. That may be grossly unfair in some circumstances. Winking
- be a tricky marketer who follows you, waits ‘till you follow back, then unfollows you. I’m not fond of this practice and unfollow them as soon as I find out about it. What you do is your concern, but these are often the buzzards of the twitter flock and it doesn’t do to encourage them!

So… you’ve raced forward , followed 2000 people, gotten 250 followers in return. you’ve waited two weeks to give everyone a chance to follow you back. Time to cull the following flock and start anew. It is possible to go thru your “Following” list, individually, and start removing those who have yet to discover your genius, but it is an incredibly time consuming process. Instead, consider a 3rd party twitter management software. I use JustUnFollow because it allows me to easily find those who don’t follow or have recently unfollowed me. It also allows me to look at those Who follow me but for some reason I don’t follow back, just in case I’ve neglected someone!
Oh, and it is free for most users!

Step 1- Sign in using twitter. They need to have your particulars so they can process the data.
Step 2- JustUnfollow will present you with a list from oldest to newest of those who you follow but don’t return the favor.
Step 3- Go thru the list and unfollow as desired. I usually seek out those who have a large discrepancy between the number of their followers and the those they are following. It is highly unlikely that they will ever follow me, so I hit the unfollow button. Next I look for those who have only a couple tweets but hundreds+ of followers. Third, I look for accounts that repeat the same message or a similar one over and over again. Tweeting “Buy my book” 50 times a day, is not only annoying, but shows that a human is not manning the ship here so there’s little chance that my message will get a hearing! Finally, I go to the very oldest and remove until I reach the quota. The free version of JustUnFollow limits you to 100 unfollows a day. You can opt for a very reasonable paid version that is unrestricted.

That’s it. Do a little every day and within a week you can be following more users- and gaining more followers- to your heart’s content!