Lee Odden

Follow Me Follow You: WhyFollow Twitter Poll

twitter wave

With Twitter riding the social media wave to a $1 billion valuation, the attention from celebrities, usefulness for everything from real-time communications in natural disasters to serving as a profitable marketing channel, a momentum of interest has spawned in how to make the most out of spending time on Twitter. Like any tool, Twitter is what you make of it. But Twitter and social communication applications like it are a lot more than just tools. One question about Twitter best practices that often comes up deals with how people (not bots) decide to follow one another on Twitter.

I ran an informal poll (on Twitter of course, another of it’s many uses) to proof a few ideas I had on what factors weigh most heavily for people when deciding whether to follow another Twitter account. My initial influences included location, bio, offline connections and others. You can read the replies to that poll here: #whyfollow. A self-assessment in combination with the informal poll feedback are what power the potential answers in this Reader Poll.

What 3 things most influence you to follow someone on Twitter?

  • Their Tweets (30%, 225 Votes)
  • Bio (17%, 130 Votes)
  • Industry Reputation (11%, 87 Votes)
  • Connected Elsewhere Online or Offline (11%, 83 Votes)
  • Follower Count or Follower/Following Ratio (8%, 59 Votes)
  • Web site Link (6%, 49 Votes)
  • Others that @reply the person (6%, 49 Votes)
  • Photo or Avatar (4%, 31 Votes)
  • Location (4%, 27 Votes)
  • Other - please explain in comments (1%, 9 Votes)
  • Background Design (1%, 5 Votes)
  • Gender (1%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 278

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By sharing your top reasons for following others on Twitter, we can all learn how to be more useful to the communities we’re trying to reach.

If one or more of your answers are in the “Other” category, then please add them in the comments below.   Sharing this poll with others is GREATLY appreciated. Can we get over 200 responses? How about 500?

PoorSo SoOKGoodAwesome (3 votes, average: 3.33 out of 5)

Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar mariobonilla says

    Lee I am supposing that the “Their Tweets” selection means, among other things, that they contain value for us. Value would be my 'Other' addition.

  2. Avatar caralopezlee says

    I hit “other,” because I also choose to follow people who work in a field related to mine, and have to deal with similar subject matter and issues.

  3. I look for the specific industry a person/entity is in — industry reputation is one thing, but if they have experience in an area similar to mine I will follow them regardless of the perceived reputation …. Sometimes i find this in the bio, sometimes their tweets, others times you have to click through to their website or blog, or check out a linkedin profile if they provide that in their background image. I do all of this is from asking myself this question, “If I follow this person/entity, will I be able to broaden my knowledge, skills, or abilities?” That's what I look for in the people I follow for both my website twitter account and personal…
    @jeremyvictor and @btobbloggers


  5. Thanks for this Vote, I like it

  6. As an adjunct to my vote, I'd say that for me, avatar is not a reason to follow someone so much as it's a reason *not* to follow — if you are still using the Twitter default, it makes me think you're not serious about your use of Twitter.

  7. I typically follow people who are following me as a courtesy, unless they appear to be pornography. I also look for someone in the same general field.

  8. I think that's a good guideline to follow for a personal Twitter account.

  9. Good point Heidi. Reasons “not” to follow could be an entirely different poll.

  10. That makes sense – follow like-minded people.

  11. It's interesting how hard some people make it to answer that question. That's why the text of a bio is so important, right along with Tweets. Despite a low vote count, I think the information contained in the customized background graphic influences people a lot more than they realize. (provided it's useful info)

  12. That is correct Mario – Their Tweets is where value is conveyed, for the most part.

  13. Although I typically follow people that I have met in person or have interacted with online, the content they post (“their tweets”) is the number one reason why I _stop_ following them.

  14. Their tweets are the primary factor, but I also look at the ratio of followers with friends, I hate those who tweet the same thing again and again, those tweets only about their secret of making huge money.

  15. Here is the main things that motivate me to follow a certain person on twitter:

    1. Their tweets are interesting and useful
    2. They have a complete profile
    3. I know them
    4. They interact with others
    5. They share useful resources


  16. 1. Connected Elsewhere Online or Offline.
    2. Industry Reputation
    3. Their Tweets
    4. Web site Link

  17. That's a great list of criteria. I think a lot of people don't realize they do all of that in 2-3 seconds.

  18. Thanks Syam, I see that it can be more than just 3 things people consider.

  19. Someone else brought that up too, Chris. The reasons we stop following people on Twitter are not always concomitant to the reasons we follow them in the first place.

  20. Haha. Thanks! It seems that tweets are the most common criteria. So we better make our tweets interesting 😉

  21. I don't follow everyone that follows me. But sometimes I give them a try…I follow people I find interesting and people I think may leave me a positive or good input with their tweets.

    I unfollow people when they start talking to mouch about irrelevant personal stuff.


    Alex Kei.

  22. Their Tweets
    Web site Link
    Others That @ Reply That Person

  23. Their tweets is #1 for me, followed by some other way we're connected online or off, and industry rep in 3rd.

    Never really paid any attention to gender and background design can be tricky. Plenty of MLM and DM spammers from people that had pro looking backgrounds.

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