Way back in August 2012, we wrote a blog which suggested that Twitter was a numbers game. Fast-forward to today, and although the platform has undergone some cosmetic changes and social media marketing has grown, based on the latest statistics, Twitter is still a numbers game.

According to the latest statistics, businesses are likely to lose between five and 15 percent of their new followers within the first three weeks; whilst individual Twitter users can expect to see a higher rate of unfollowers during the same period; if they fail to engage.

The research from which the statistics are based on, has also suggested that as businesses look to stay ahead of their competitors by increasing their reach, and therefore their follower list on Twitter, more businesses are turning to social advertising.

However, at JE Consulting we think that it is not the quantity but quality of followers (and those you’re following) which counts when it comes to effective social media marketing; but we also think there are alternatives to “paid for” social advertising which can be just as beneficial in retaining followers – and below we share some of our tips.

Follow Back:

Don’t get us wrong, you should not follow everyone that follows you. For starters there are some people who try to “play” Twitter by following accounts just to get a follow back; once this has happened, they’ll click the unfollow button.

Instead, when someone follows you, have a read of their Twitter profile, read their last handful of tweets, and if they’ve provided a website address, visit this too. If they all add up to be of interest to you and your industry or you think that networking with them can help you in both the long and short term, follow back.

But don’t stop there, make sure that you engage with them from the outset, such as a quick (personalised) tweet thanking them for following you, to responding to any tweets they may have posted recently asking a question.

N.B. as a rule of thumb; when it comes to the following / followers ratio, we recommend 1:2 – for everyone you’re following, you should try to get two followers for your account!


When an industry specific news story breaks, you’re likely to see the same tweet a handful of times from various sources; the Budget on March 19th will highlight this further.

However, after reading it once, you’re not very likely to read it again, so if you are tweeting about a popular story, personalise it by adding your opinion or directing followers to a blog which offers a personal touch on the news.

For business Twitter accounts which a number of staff have access to, it is also important to personalise the tweets by adding a name or initials at the end of each tweet, so that users feel like they are engaging with a person and not a corporate robot!

Ask Don’t Tell:

No-one likes being told what to do in person, and it is the same on social media platforms; yet we understand and appreciate that sometimes businesses need to “tell” their followers of important dates (i.e. changes in employment law, tax deadlines) or of new services they’re offering.

But we also believe that a Twitter account for a business should not just be about “telling” followers of services and products available, it should also be used to ASK questions and opinions – after all, how else are you going to gauge information about what your followers want?

By asking questions or for opinions, not only will you open new avenues of engagement with your followers; but there is also the potential to open up doors to new business. Don’t believe us? Give it a try!

Pictures Sell:

Whilst there are dedicated image-based social media sites such as Pinterest, Instagram – and to some extent, Snapchat; pictures on Twitter also help “sell” an individual, as well as a product or service they are promoting.

This is because tweets including (relevant) images are more likely to be retweeted and favourited; helping the original tweet to reach a wider audience. So if you cannot find the words for your tweet (or the words exceed the 140 characteristics) try a picture – or go one step further, and include a short Instagram / Vine video.

Don’t Over Do It:

Whilst all the above tips will help individuals and businesses to engage with, reach and retain followers via Twitter, one of the quickest ways to lose them is to tweet too much.

It’s therefore important to ensure that what you share via Twitter (and any social media platform for that matter) is relevant, insightful and useful – and that you are not tweeting just to tweet.

Categories: Blog