Three years ago Dustin Curtis blogged about the conversion rates for different ways he tested of inviting his readers to follow him on Twitter. The phrasing that he found with the highest conversion rate, “you should follow me on Twitter here”, where “here” is a link to his Twitter profile, has since been widely adopted by lots of bloggers; a search for the phrase on Google yields over 700,000 results.
However, the phrase is a complete turn-off for me. I really dislike being told what I “should” do, especially when it’s clearly self-serving on the part of the person that is saying it. If I follow you on Twitter, it’s because I think that you have interesting things to say that I might want to read; it will never be because you told me I “should” do it. Actually, telling me I “should” follow you on Twitter is pretty much a guarantee that I won’t.
I suspect one of the reasons for the high conversion rate in Dustin’s test in 2009 was its novelty. It was new, assertive, and I believe it was always found below one of his well-written and skillfully designed blog posts. Once he posted his findings people soon began to copy it, believing that he had proven that the phrasing would definitely get them more followers. Some people even go so far as to put it in their comment on someone else’s blog. But now that the phrase is in wide circulation, the novelty has worn off and the assertiveness has turned into abrasiveness. Being told by one person that you should follow them on Twitter gets your attention, but when lots of people tell you that it becomes extremely annoying.
As for me, you’ll never see me beg for Twitter followers. If you like what I say and want to follow me, great. If not, that’s fine too. But nobody, least of all me, is in any position to tell you who you “should” follow.
p.s. I know I didn’t provide any actual examples of this phenomenon, but I didn’t want to call anyone out explicitly except the comment that “broke the camel’s back” and provided the impetus for this post.