3 Reasons Why Your Twitter Following Isn’t Growing

Nobody is following me! writer frustrated

My Twitter growth is going backward, not forward.

What am I doing wrong?  Nobody likes me. I must not be funny enough. 

Any of these statements sound like you? I hear these daily, especially from authors who want to sell more books and a) aren’t sure Twitter will do that for them (more on that in a moment), or b) Have a Twitter stream but no idea what to do with it or how it relates for marketing and selling books.

Let’s deconstruct.


The number one way to grow your Twitter following is so obvious, people often miss it: follow others. Follow people back. Pay attention. I’ve always aggressively followed people — typically I follow 500/day on my @RachelintheOC stream, and 300/day on my @BadRedheadMedia stream. Following begets following. It’s really not a difficult concept, but so obvious most people either don’t know or forget to do it or just aren’t sure how (I recommend using ManageFlitter).

What’s difficult for most people is how to go about following that many people, how to keep track of so many (more below), and if it’s even worth the time. Right?

You can read the same articles I can about whether Twitter (or really, any social media) is worth it, but what I can share here is my personal experience: 90% of my blog traffic comes from Twitter. And while Amazon doesn’t provide any sales or click data, I do know exactly how many people are clicking over to my book Broken Pieces on Amazon from Twitter — even though Twitter doesn’t provide that data either.

How? Easy: I customized and shortened my book’s link from Twitter to Amazon using bit.ly. I can tell you exactly the number of clicks per day, week, month, or year. The only information missing from that equation is how many purchases are made from those clicks. Looking at sales data provided by Amazon, I can tell you this: I still have no idea!

But I can see that I had 100 clicks on Tuesday, and I sold 10 books on Tuesday. Does that mean they all came from Twitter? Nope. Maybe. Who knows? But I do know for a fact that people are heading over to my site (and I have a bit.ly link for Broken Pieces for my site that’s different than the Twitter one). Make sense? If you mind feels boggled, come back to this. And really check out all the bit.ly offers (no, they don’t pay me to say any of this). I just really like the tool.


I usually find that when people’s numbers are sliding backward, it’s one of two reasons:

  1. They aren’t following people back or
  2. Their content is too random, scattered, unfocused.

If you’re going to participate in social media with the hopes of growing a following, you absolutely must follow people back. Don’t get caught up in the numbers and ratios. All that will sort itself out as you grow. Yes, there’s a ratio limit cap at 2,000 (you can’t follow beyond 10% of who is following you), but it’s easy to move past that using ManageFlitter to dump eggs, inactives, and nonfollowbacks, as well as utilizing Lists – you can list over 1 Million people without following them. Cool, right?

With regard to content, this is a bigger issue, but for now, let’s discuss what you are sharing. Do you have some sort of theme (beyond hawking your books)? You need to discover what is most interesting to you (cooking, wine, books, bicycles) and combine that with whatever it is you’re selling (book, music, service) in a way that’s natural and not forced or hard, and most importantly, connects you with readers. And remember, above all else, treat others on social media how you wish to be treated, and go from there. Be generous, give back, stop making it all about you.


I don’t have to like an author to purchase their book (though I make an exception for Jonathan Franzen, who is such a pompous ass I swore I’d never purchase another one of his dirges again in this lifetime, but I digress). As an avid reader, I want good books. I don’t care if the author prays to purple aliens or wears rainbow tube socks (though I will question their fashion sense but again, I digress). As with many readers, I’d love a chance to interact with a famous author. Twitter allows us to do that. It’s the ‘great equalizer’ I like to say, because you can engage in discussions with practically anyone, famous or plain old regular folks like you and me.

You don’t have to be funny. You just have to be yourself. Decide which parts of yourself you want to share, and share those parts. Ask questions. Do what people do in regular conversations — listen, ask, engage.

Make a friend, make a sale.



Do this tips help you? Please let me know what works (or doesn’t work) for you.

Interested in learning more about my services or books? Click here. 

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About RachelintheOC

Rachel Thompson aka RachelintheOC is a published author and social media consultant. Her three books, A Walk In The Snark, The Mancode: Exposed and Broken Pieces are all #1 Kindle bestsellers! When not writing, she helps authors and other professionals with branding and social media for her company, BadRedhead Media. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut.

Buy Now : A Walk in the Snark * Mancode: Exposed * Broken Pieces


  1. I’ve been taking advantage of your tweets about the guest post I wrote on editing. I saw that many people had retweeted it, so I followed most of them. A lot of them have followed me back. Now I need to work on making my Tweets more interesting. Most of my Tweets are about my most recent blog post, or I Tweet that someone else’s blog post is really great. And as I wrote the preceding sentence, I think I came up with a theme I can use for Tweets. I’ll see how it goes. Maybe it will help my editing business grow.

    Thanks again for publishing my guest post.


    • quite welcome! It can take a bit of two steps forward, etc., to find our rhythm. Glad you’ve found your audience! Actively following makes a huge difference in growth.

      Thanks, Janie!

  2. Hi Rachel,
    Thanks for the great advice. I know I will always learn something new or relearn something forgotten when I read your posts. If it’s something forgotten it means that the timing wasn’t right the first time around. Maybe it will be this time. Hopefully! A few small steps forward.
    One thing I am really struggling with is finding the time to read and comment on blog posts and follow people on Twitter (actively I mean by replying, retweeting etc). Any suggestions or advice you have in that area I’d really appreciate please.

    • Hi Norah!

      So glad it’s helpful for you. to answer your question about replying RTing, etc., it’s really just a matter of setting aside the time to do so. I find that I do the most commenting on Mondays, since I started #MondayBlogs last year (share a post w/ that hashtag, RT others also using it). It’s only on Mondays so that frees up the rest of the week.

      As for RTs, you can do a few each day, as the mood strikes, as you find something interesting, or simply his the FAV (star) button and come back to it. Lots of options.

      Hope that helps?

      • Hi again, Rachel,
        Thanks for replying with great suggestions, I will have to check out the #MondayBlogs next week. I like your suggestion about favouriting also. I have been doing this. Found out the hard way that flagging is not the same as marking to return to later on Twitter! Wrote a post about this. Will add you to my list of suggested resources when I get to my computer this week.
        Thanks once again. Much appreciated.

  3. Joe Hefferon says:

    Hi – are all red-heads hard workers?
    Bizz Ques: How many is too many to follow? I get followed by people who are following in the tens of thousands; there’s no way they are reading those tweets, so what’s the point? I don’t follow them back. I realize that’s an extreme example but – is there a point of diminishing returns? I follow over 1800 and I know I miss an awful lot of stuff, but if someone follows me I feel obligated to follow back. I guess we need to find our own manageable level. Thanks – glad we had this chat.

    • Yes.

      A: No such thing as too many to follow. Here’s why (as I mentioned above), LISTS. If you add each person to a list of some sort (writers, readers, birdcage cleaners) you can then just click on a list and scan the tweets of only those folks on that one list. But you have to list them in the first place to do this, which is about 2 clicks.

      A: According to Twitter ‘Power Users,’ no, there is no such thing as diminishing returns. The goal with Twitter (as with any social media channel), is to help you gain visibility. In order to do that, you need to know your brand (do you tweet about trucks or helicopters, but your book is about birdcage cleaners? Then your branding isn’t consistent). Cause here’s the thing (what’s the thing, Rachel? you ask): you never know who is a potential reader.

      Glad we had this chat, too.

  4. Thank you for sharing about your approach to follows and following back. I like to think of my twitter timeline as a news stream, a window into what other people are doing on twitter that I can keep track of when I want and when I have time. I don’t try to keep track of everything that flows across the timeline. I only keep track of what I find interesting.

    When using twitter, I think it’s important to keep perspective. As your following grows, so will the ways you use twitter.

    If you have 200 followers and are following 100, you may care keenly about eggs, inactives, and nonfollowbacks. However, as your number of followers grows and the number you follow grows, you’ll likely care less and less about that kind of stuff.

    Part of that is time management. I’d rather use what precious little time I have for social media on things that matter and whether someone followed back just doesn’t matter. Additionally, you can’t expect someone with thousands and thousands of followers to follow back everyone who follows them. It’s impossible.

  5. Ha, I have shortened all my links using goo.gl. I have different short links for Twitter, my blog, my website, and one for guest blogs. It’s interesting to see where clicks come from (most Amazon US clicks come from twitter, hardly any from my blog, but heaps of Amazon UK clicks from my blog) but what’s frustrating is that so many people are looking but hardly anyone is buying.

    At least now I know I’m not the only anal one tracking all my clicks.

    • No, we’re both insane, LOL.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Ciara. It can be frustrating, yes. But the data at least helps us know where best to spend our time, and where readers are coming from. We can only help them to find us — we can’t make them spend their money!

  6. Thank you for your Twitter tips!

    I have noticed a big improvement in my online sales since I started to develop my Twitter account 6 months ago. For me personally, it it works much better than Facebook.

    I love your idea of creating bit.ly links to monitor click-throughs. Thank you!

  7. How in the world do you deal with the people who use true twit validation? Just erase and ignore them? That’s what I do. Maybe I shouldn’t?

    • if I follow them and get a DM validation, I unfollow.

      If it’s someone whom I really want to follow, I’ll send them a quick message on the public timeline that I’ve followed them but will not click on the truetwit validation — just a friendly ‘heads up, I’m real’ tweet (tho that’s rare).

      Not worth my time. or yours. xx


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