Decrease the Twitter Drop Out Rate & Increase Retention

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More than 60% of Twitter users in the U.S. fail to return the following month, as recently reported by Nielson Wire. Quite a negative statistic with all the hype and publicity Twitter has been receiving as of late. So why are new users dropping out? How can this be avoided?

A Background on Bailing

The general public has become accustomed to a loosely universal expectation of what is considered social media. This includes the ability to create a personal page complete with pictures, ‘wall’ comments, personal information such as interests, etc. MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn among others, have been so widely adopted because they are all socially acceptable platforms to vainly promote and brag about yourself. Oh, and also to communicate and network.

Although Twitter offers the ability to link out to pictures, and the flexibility to communicate interests and talk about yourself, its simplicity and focus on content is forcing users to actually produce quality updates and walk the walk by not just stating an interest in a given topic, but illustrating passion through a continuous dialog.

And this is the roadblock. For many, expectations come crashing down when the realization sets in that Twitter can be hard. It’s no longer this one time deal of creating a profile page, slapping up some pictures, adding some friends and calling it a day. Twitter has managed to create a platform that truly forces its users to engage with quality thoughts, content and to actually serve a purpose and add value. It is what you make of it, and without dedicated participation, Twitter kind of sucks.

A Resolution for Retention

Now that we know that Twitter requires some thought and participation, how can you avoid becoming a statistic?

Step 1: Formulate a Game Plan

  • Why are you even on Twitter? Please have more of an idea beyond that you know that you should be and because everyone else is.
  • What are you going to make yourself or your brand known for? In other words, have a STRATEGY. Some people use comedy, others use stats, and more people post news related to their topics of interest or brand.
  • Nobody cares that you had eggs for breakfast.

Step 2: Don’t Seek Followers. Yet.

  • Wait until you have a page full of quality updates. A big fail is to seek followers without providing them a reason to.
  • Find a tool that works for you. TweetDeck is an essential that helps to keep organized, follow topics and monitor updates.
  • Don’t follow just anyone; create your own topically relevant community.

Step 3: Maintain

  • The most critical aspect. Once the participation stops, the visibility and engagement from your followers stop. So keep it coming.

Twitter isn’t to blame for the new user poor rate of return. More likely, pre-conceived notions coupled with a lack of strategy and dedication to quality content leads to a basic misunderstanding of what the hype is all about.

AnvilRachel Andersen works for the Portland based SEM agency Anvil Media, Inc. She has expertise in all aspects of search engine marketing and specializes in SEO for large sites. Andersen has been responsible for the development and execution of dozens of search and social marketing campaigns over her time spent with Anvil.

Rachel Freeman

Rachel Freeman

Rachel Freeman works for the Jive Software, the pioneer and leading provider of social business solutions. She has expertise in all aspects of search engine... Read Full Bio
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  • Nick Stamoulis

    I think this is good. People need to use the social platforms not just park on them and expect results.

  • Gary

    You hit the nail on the headwith this comment, Rachael.

    “Twitter has managed to create a platform that truly forces its users to engage with quality thoughts, content and to actually serve a purpose and add value. It is what you make of it, and without dedicated participation, Twitter kind of sucks.”

    Thankfully its only the people that can’t grasp that concept and make it work for them that jump ship.

    At the end of the day… Twitter is what you make of it!

    Nice article… Thanx 🙂

  • Gabriella

    Bravo well said. This was a topic I spend hours talking to clients about. Some just don’t get it.

  • Hannah_Bo_Banna

    I’m struggling a little with this post. I think in terms of using twitter commercially (i.e. a business account – whether said account is in the business’s name or an employee’s name) then your comments are spot on.

    For an individual who’s just there for fun – I’m not so sure.

  • Rachel Andersen


    I do agree that this post is especially relevant for commercial users, although I feel like it still holds true for many Twitter drop-offs.

    Seems to me that if you’re just on Twitter for fun, a loose strategy is still in need so that the whole i-had-eggs-for-breakfast thing doesn’t happen.

    For a select few, Twitter makes perfect sense for personal reasons. But for the masses, I think many people are still struggling to figure it out, especially when Facebook has the status update feature in addition to the social media interface they’ve become accustomed to.

  • Noah Weiner

    Super insight, Rachel. Twitter’s reduction to the need for thoughtful thought communication is a huge distinction, and is no doubt, its own blessing and curse.

    When the dust settles, perhaps we’ll be left with a community of real communicators.

  • chauhan

    Its good for get their twitter backgrounds and increase brand aware etc.

  • Marcy

    Great advice on not wanting millions of followers…YET. 🙂 You should make sure that you’re ready to share ideas and make conversation with people before you can actually have followers.

  • Walt Webb

    Some valid points here and I fell into some of them. I started following to get followers without realising I needed to search my niche first. Now I have maxed out my following with maybe 10% who are actually interested in my niche which is sports.
    I don’t know how to solve this delema other than to blow things up and start from scratch, lol. Any suggestions?
    My twiiter user name is All_Sports

  • Boston SEO

    Agreed. Twitter is a social media network that is not really being utilized correctly by business people. By not staying consistent and posting intelligent/intriguing information in a certain niche, how does one expect to get the followers who are also interested in that market. If you are posting something once in a while, why would anyone want to follow that. I am not surprised by that statistic of 60% do not come back.