Twitter users often make a split-second decision whether to follow you, which means you have to make a positive first impression to gain new followers.
While some prospective followers may click to see your full profile, the lion's share make their determination based solely on your summary screen -- your personal avatar, the background image you've selected, your bio, your location, the web address you choose to promote and your stats. Featured stats include the number of tweets you've made since creating the profile, the number of Twitter users you're following, and the number following you. Since this is all most users will ever see about you before deciding whether you're "follow-worthy," make each element count and be sure to avoid these top Twitter turnoffs.
One of the fastest ways to turn off a potential follower is by not uploading a photo of yourself for your avatar, which leaves the default Twitter "egg" as your image. Users want to get a quick snapshot of your personality when viewing your profile. Since your avatar is so small, be sure the photo is just a headshot where your face is clearly visible, even on a small, mobile screen.
Are you an over-tweeter? Twitter is roughly seven years old. If you created your profile on day one and tweeted five times a day ever since, you will have sent about 12,000 tweets. If your count is 100,000, some followers may question following you for fear you'll clog up their feed. In contrast, if you've sent only twenty tweets and are following thousands, you might be viewed as a social stalker.
When viewing your summary profile, users will see your last two tweets. If you appear to have an automated service tweeting on your behalf or seem void of original thought, you're less likely to get followed.
If you have a third-party program set up to automatically send a promotional direct message to any new follower, there's a good chance you're going to get unfollowed fast. No one likes spam. Even an auto message that thanks someone for following you and encourages them to visit your website is promotional and considered by many inappropriate.
Your bio can only be three lines long, so it better be power packed and show your personality. If your bio bores a user, they'll have trouble imagining that your Tweets will have much more to offer.
If the number of people you follow is significantly higher than the number following you, your profile may look like a spam account. If you're new to Twitter, pace yourself and resist the temptation to over-follow before you create a decent following of your own.
Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and CEO/Founder of RedRover, a sales training and marketing firm based in Memphis, Tennessee, www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).