Twitter follow limits – Why you Can’t Follow more People on Twitter

how to use twitterRecently we held a contest and I promised to answer as many Twitter Obstacles (that was what people had to do to enter- post their #1 Twitter Obstacle) as I could.  Today’s came from Gina who said:

My biggest Twitter problem is and has been that I can’t follow more people. I keep getting stopped by Twitter. Very frustrating.”

Twitter does have limits set in place with regards to ratios of following (who you follow) and followers (who follows you) and their preference is to have more followers than following.

They do this for one main reason – to keep spammers at bay.  If you follow 1500 people and only 150 follow you back – the first question people ask is ‘why is no one following this person?’ and assumptions are made that you are trying to ‘talk’ to more people than want to talk back to you which = SPAM ALERT!

Make certain you know what the limits are and build your twitter tribe slowly at first – without any programs that can “Get you thousands of followers in one Day!”  You want to build a quality network of people that will have an interest in you as well as your business services.

What are the limits?

  • Direct Messages: 250 per day.
  • API Requests: 150 per hour.
  • Updates: 1,000 per day. The daily update limit is further broken down into smaller limits for semi-hourly intervals. Retweets are counted as updates.
  • Changes to Account Email: 4 per hour.
  • Following (daily): Please note that this is a technical account limit only, and there are additional rules prohibiting aggressive following behavior. You can find detailed page describing following limits and prohibited behavior on the Follow Limits and Best Practices Page. The technical follow limit is 1,000 per day.
  • ollowing (account-based): Once an account is following 2,000 other users, additional follow attempts are limited by account-specific ratios. The Follow Limits and Best Practices Page has more information.

The last one – the “account specific ratios” which come into play after you reach the following threshold of 2,000 are not published as to what they are, you will find out once you try to pass your ratio limit.

So… you know what the limits are now and the reasons why they are in place, what if you have built by lost of numbers and have no idea on what kind of people you have connected with? What can you do?

Clean it up!!

  • Take 15 minutes a day and go through the list of who you are following and determine if these contacts are worth keeping. If not hit unfollow.
  • Look for people who are inactive on twitter that you are following.  Clean them up too. If someone has not posted on twitter in more than one year, they are no longer active and probably not watching their profile/contacts at all. Unfollow them too.
  • People posting inappropriate content or none at all are a target to hit that unfollow button as well.

Once you have cleaned up your following that allows for you to connect with more people, and if you are active on twitter posting good content and having good conversations – people will be more drawn to you and will click the follow button.  As you build up your contacts you will build your ability to get past that threshold of 2,000 and continue to grow your tribe.

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Have you any other tips for building your contacts in a way that allows you to continue to grow and not get stopped by Twitter and its limits?


    • says

      Glad to help Julian – I think it is a road block many hit but if you build on a regular basis your connections and then give them good reason to follow you back on twitter – they will come together and you can overcome that threshold. ~ Kathy

  1. says

    [If you follow 1500 people and only 150 follow you back – the first question people ask is ‘why is no one following this person?’ and assumptions are made that you are trying to ‘talk’ to more people than want to talk back to you which = SPAM ALERT!]

    isn’t that rationale backwards? doesn’t your tweet go to your followers, not those you follow? so if you have only 150 who follow you back, you can only spam those 150, not the 1500 you follow. spam is self-limited by people not following you. the follow limit prevents people from reaching you. it doesn’t stop you from spamming. how am i wrong?

    • TimeBlack says


      It is the intended behaviour that is looked upon as spam-typical. Many people follow others to take advantage of settings for auto follow back, or people just following back others that follow them… so spammers follow, follow and then hope those people follow them back. Agreed it is not exactly how the system works, because your tweets only get seen by those who follow you, but it is the intent they are looking at.

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