Monday, January 6, 2014

Social Media Monday—Clean Up Your Twitter Ratios and Get Rid of Excess Weight

by Edie Melson

Twitter is great social media tool for growing an online presence. But like any good tool, you have to take care of it, to keep it preforming in tip-top shape.

Today I’m going to share how you can clean up your twitter ratios and get rid of excess weight to keep your account working efficiently.
The first thing you want to do is look at your ratio of the accounts you follow and the accounts that follow you. Below is a screen shot of my ratio:
My ratio is 12,685 following and 12,544 followers.
This is a healthy ratio AFTER you go past the 2000 ceiling.

You want this number to stay pretty close, especially as you reach the 2000 follower ceiling. This is important because Twitter has certain hard and fast rules about how many people you can follow. This makes following more than 2000 accounts tricky. Here is how Twitter explains it:

…every user can follow 2000 people total. Once you’ve followed 2000 users, there are limits to the number of additional users you can follow: this limit is different for every user and is based on your ratio of followers to following.

The best way to avoid hitting this ceiling is by keeping your ratio close. But if you hit this limit, you can use a free program I recommend to unfollow people who are not following you back. I’ve looked into a lot of programs and is by far my favorite. It allows me to unfollow a large number of accounts in one sitting.

SPECIAL NOTE: Twitter has strict guidelines about aggressive following and churn. BEFORE you work with ManageFlitter, know the rules so you won’t be penalized.

Aggressive following: Twitter defines aggressive following as: 
indiscriminately following hundreds of accounts just to garner attention. However, following a few users if their accounts seem interesting is normal and is not considered aggressive. 

Aggressive Follow Churn: Twitter defines aggressive follow churn this way:
when an account repeatedly follows and then un-follows a large number of users. This may be done to get lots of people to notice them, to circumvent a Twitter limit, or to change their follower-to-following ratio. 

I am giving you an option to explore if you hit the 2000 Twitter limit, but it’s important to be very careful how you do it. It’s better if you keep your ratio close enough that you don’t have problem when you hit the 2000 ceiling.

How to Safely Use ManageFlitter
1. Go to the ManageFlitter website and click START. (See screenshot below)

2. Now Click CONNECT TO TWITTER. This will take you to a screen and you’ll have to give the ManageFlitter app permission to access your twitter account.
Now you’ll have to wait for it to load all your date. Depending on how many followers you have it may take a few minutes. The developers at ManageFlitter have a great sense of humor, so be prepared to be entertained. (See screenshot below) 
It takes about five minutes for me. Below is a screenshot of all the people that I follow who don’t follow me back. You’ll notice there are six pages. At up to one hundred people per page, that’s 542 people who don’t follow me back.

Actually I will keep up to about 200 who don’t follow me back. There are certain celebrities that I follow who I know will never follow me back. And that’s fine because I get value from the tweets they send out.

It’s the average people, like you and me, that I want to weed out. I try to do this logically. So the first thing I do is go to my last page. Because those are the people I’ve been following the longest, so they’ve had enough time to follow me back if they’re so inclined.

On my account, since I use this program regularly, I know that page six is full of celebrities that probably will never follow me, so I don’t go that far back.

3. As I hover over an account, a pop up window appears with all the relevant information I need to make a good decision about whether or not to unfollow the account. Here you see the account info on MacGregor Literary. I won’t unfollow them because they are a valuable source of industry information. (See screenshot below)

4. Now I continue going down the list and clicking UNFOLLOW to everyone I want to stop following. Below is a screenshot of what that looks like. I make it a policy to NOT unfollow more than about 190 accounts per day. This keeps me under the radar of the Twitter police.

NOTE: I also don’t bother with checking the first page on my ManageFlitter account because those are people that I’ve followed within the past couple of days and I want to give them a chance to follow me back before I decide to unfollow them.

5. Once I reach the number of accounts I want to unfollow, I just close the website. I don't have to do anything else. ManageFlitter gives you quite a few options to unlock more unfollows, but since I don't unfollow more than 190 per day, I haven't found that necessary. 

How did I get into this mess? 
Now you’re probably wondering how it is that I’m following so many who don’t follow me back. About fifty percent of these are people that I ran across on the Internet and I thought would be interesting to follow. The other fifty percent are accounts that have followed me and then unfollowed me. That happens quite a bit, so it’s important to keep close watch on your account.

I try to clean up my ratio about twice a month with ManageFlitter. But I check for new Twitter followers on my Twitter account almost daily. I want to make sure that if someone has found my account valuable enough to follow, I return the favor and follow them back. But that’s another lesson—on Twitter Etiquette.

Any questions? Be sure to leave them in the comments section below.

And don’t forget to join the conversation!


Is your Twitter account following too many accounts? tips from social media mentor @EdieMelson can help with that.  (Click to Tweet)


  1. Great tips, Edie. I've used several unfollow apps in the past, but ManageFlitter is a great one that seems like they're here to stay.

    1. Susan, you're so right. There are tons of unfollow apps out there. Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

  2. Edie, I hit the dreaded 2000 mark last summer. (Actually, I didn't know there was such a thing until I hit it.) I had always followed back because I thought it was polite, which is why my ratios got out of balance. After I learned my lesson I unfollowed 423 people at one sitting. My "loyalty" gene was in pain! One of my followers had advised me to do that and then to wait patiently. It was a painful couple of months because my numbers fluctuated everyday with people unfollowing me. Then it started to balance out with gain 5 followers, lose 6 followers in a day. Drove me CRAZY! But, I held on and now I'm on a steady increase again. I've learned to be very selective and strategic in those I follow, especially as I work to close the ratio gap. There's still a difference of about 250 followers. I'm scared to hit the 2000 mark again - lol! Thanks for this post. I going to check out ManageFlitter after I get Morning Glory written. Bless you! Nan

    1. Nan, I didn't know about the 2000 ceiling until I hit it either. Hang in there, you'll get past it, I did! Thanks for sharing your experience, Blessings, E

  3. I had no idea about the 2000 cieling. Don't suppose this app looks for innactive accounts as well? It would be nice to clean those out. Or do you think it's better to have them add to your "follower" numbers?

    1. Ron, it gives you that info when you hover over the account. It tells you the date of the last tweet and how often they tweet and lots of other important stuff. But it only looks at the people who are not following you. If you have an inactive account following you, don't worry about it. Leave well enough alone.Thanks for stopping by, Blessings, E

  4. Edie, what extraordinary timing to read this segment with Twitter now saying I can't Follow anyone. When I have a few extra minutes next weekend I'll have to give this a shot. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Elaine, I wish I'd posted it a week ago! Let me know if you need help, Blessings, E

  5. Wow Edie, thanks for the heads up on how to manage Twitter. It was one of my questions for you... I love this column because it always seems to know what I need.

    1. Laurie, thanks for the encouragement! Blessings, E

  6. Thank you for a great post Edie! I didn't know about the 2000 limit on Twitter either until a few people I know hit it and ran into problems. I already use ManageFlitter to help me clean up my account. I also use for a daily clean out of recent in followers just to keep me within the ratio of people I am following and followers. Highly recommend ManageFlitter though!

    1. Kaye, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad we've got the chance to connect! Blessings, E

  7. Edie, I've been pushing against the 2000 follower ceiling for awhile and never considering using an app like ManageFlitter. This has been extremely helpful and I'll get to it right away.
    And congrats on having such a huge Twitter following!

  8. Hi Edie, I'd love to re-post this blog on my site one Sunday in April, would you be open to that?