Recently during a tweet chat (#DigiBlogChat), a sidebar conversation began about who to follow, what to look for, and who to unfollow on Twitter. I’d never thought about how I vet new followers; I just did it. I administrate four Twitter accounts. Every day I receive 10 or more new followers; here’s what I look for.

How to Vet new Twitter followers

The first thing I do is read their profile. If it’s too salesy, all hashtags, or poorly written—that’s a yellow flag—proceed with caution. If it’s inappropriate, such as this one I received today, “girl in thong bikini sexy scene: girl in thong bikini sexy scene. Watch more: Bikini Girl The post girl in tho” it’s a red flag. I don’t think so. Bye-bye now.

If it’s all about buying twitter follows it’s a red flag. This is a real profile; I couldn’t make this up. “Sтop looĸιɴɢ ғollowerѕ wιтн нαrd wαy, Try тнe ѕιмple ѕтep. GET 5000 Twιттer Followerѕ For $29.” What the heck is Smop? Also, anyone who has #Followback in their profile is a big yellow flag for me.

An egg (no profile image) is almost always a red flag. The only exception is when it’s someone I know, who is new to THE Twitter, and then I offer advice.

Anyone who calls themselves expert, guru, diva, genius, prince, princess, rock star, maven, genie (copied from an actual profile) earns a yellow flag. Likewise, humble brags, such as “Privileged to write for XYZ publication.”

Next, I look at their counts. For example, 2000 tweets with 10, 000 followers doesn’t ring true—it’s another yellow flag. And if they’ve posted 200 tweets yet have 20,000 followers that doesn’t add up, they’re gaming the system, and I’m done. Red flag—red is dead to me. The number of times they’re listed can also be an indicator. If they’re not listed, or over-listed, you should attempt to determine why.

Read their tweets. If they haven’t tweeted in 40 days, I’m probably not going to follow back. What’s the point? If all of their tweets are about them and what they market—red flag. I expect some marketing, but not all. If all of their tweets are the same, for example, “1st tweetThanks for the follow, 2nd – Content Daily is Out! 3rd – Thanks for the follow, 4th– Content Daily is Out! 5th- Thanks for the follow, 6th – Content Daily is Out! 7th -Thanks for the follow, 8th – Content Daily is Out!” (I’m not making this up, really I’m not, I copied this from a new follower today.) If their tweets are political, controversial, or inappropriate—red flag.

Salesy automated DM’s from a new follower. If you want to get unfollowed, send me a DM like this one I received two minutes after I followed the account, “I have helped 80 000 people. Please help me reach 100 000. I have created 4 SlideShare presentations to help you grow personally, within you…”

Profiles that don’t match the content, for example, here’s a new one I’ve received a dozen times recently from several accounts, “I am a cheerful human being that would like to be able to follow and even interact with unique individuals.” The automated posts shared on these accounts are anything but cheerful unless you find automobile accidents joyful. I guess we have different tastes.

Other points to consider

  • Do they converse with others or are they constantly shouting?
  • Are their posts of interest to you? One of today’s new followers repeated in their first five tweets why I need to invest in Puerto Rican real estate. Not interested, and aren’t they bankrupt?
  • Does the subject matter fit your needs?
  • Are there potential business connections?

Who do you follow back?

There’s a lot of snake oil and a lot of snake oil salespeople on Twitter, follower beware. But they’re tons of good people and excellent organizations as well. My point is, take your time before you click follow. I ain’t no follow back boy. How do you decide who to follow back?