Have you followed 2000 people on Twitter and can’t follow any more?

Have you been proactive on Twitter about following the right people and following back people who follow you?  And suddenly you find that you can’t follow any more people?  Have you followed two thousand people?  This post is for you.

Here’s why

Twitter has rules to prevent aggressive following.  For example, you may not follow hundreds of people or unfollow hundreds of people in a single day.  This is stop spammers and automated systems from harvesting followers.  Did you know that some people buy followers!?

  • Twitter has a rule that you can follow up to 2000 people without anyone following you back.
  • Once you have followed the 2000 mark a ratio kicks in.
  • Although Twitter don’t actually say what the ratio is, it seems to be 10%
  • You cannot follow more people until at least 90% follow you back.  So to follow more people you will have to have at least 1800 people following you.

So what do you do?

When you have followed 2000 people and you keep getting messages that you can’t follow people you really want to, this is what you do:

Have an assessment of your ratio

Divide your followers by the number of people you are following and times by a hundred to get a percentage.

If your percentage is dramatically less than than 90%

You have been spending more time concentrating on building up followers than building relationships.

Twitter is not just a free channel to broadcast your message, you need to listen as well.  You also should look at the quality of your tweets.

If your ratio is close to 90%

Time to declutter!

There is a good chance that many of the people you have followed are not following you back.

The reason for this is

  • No one HAS to follow you just because you have followed them
  • the person who followed you wasn’t that interested in what you were tweeting and they unfollowed you.  Don’t take it to heart, you aren’t going to appeal to absolutely everyone and it is their choice
  • the person is following you on a list.  See 5 Ways to use Twitter Lists
  • You were followed by a bot (not a real person, but an automated robot), you followed them back and they unfollowed you a few days later because they were collecting followers to spam or to sell.  Read How to Spot a Bot

The best tool I have found to declutter is ManageFlitter.com.

They will quickly show you the people who you follow and aren’t following you back.

This how my account looks.

I don’t mind that some people don’t follow me back because

  • they are thought leaders
  • they are authors of books I have read and admired
  • I’ve met them in real life
  • they are local to me
  • I have just followed them and they may not have had a chance to follow me back

If someone is interesting, it doesn’t matter whether they follow you back or not.

@AthenaNetworks followed me yesterday, I followed them back, received an automated response from them and now they have unfollowed me.  This means that they only followed me so they could spam me.  So they are an obvious one to unfollow.

ManageFlitter makes it easy by showing

  • the person’s bio
  • their activity level
  • their last tweet

It is easy to sort people by when you followed them or whether they have profile pictures or not.

If you are have reached the two thousand mark

You need to start thinking about the following:

  • How much time do you spend reading the tweets in your stream
  • Have you sorted your followers into lists? Read 5 Ways to use Twitter Lists
  • If you are not paying any attention to the people you are following, why are you following them?
  • Is it worth cluttering your stream with people who just broadcast at you?

Another reason to be more discriminatory:  Any measure of influence will rank you higher if your followers outnumber the people you are following.

Let me know if you found this useful by leaving a comment and retweet and share this post with people who might be in a similar situation.



Nicky Kriel

Nicky Kriel is a Social Media Coach & Trainer inspiring, educating and empowering Business Owners to use Social Media more strategically. She is also the author of How to Twitter for Business Success. For more information visit http://www.nickykriel.com or to find out about her courses that she runs in Guildford visit http://www.nickykriel.com/courses

Armi Niemi - 14th January 2012

Thanks for the useful info. I’m in that situation currently when I can’t follow more people. I counted my % it’s 90.3%. Anyway I will unfollow some people to get it running again. :)

    Nicky Kriel - 14th January 2012

    Hi Armi

    I can see why Twitter don’t give an actual figure! Really pleased that it came at just the right time for you. Thank you


Kizzy - 14th January 2012

Thanks for sharing this, not at that point yet!

Jo Harrison - 14th January 2012

I use SocialBro to analyse my followers, I find it’s really great and has some good stats! Thanks for the tips, I will keep an eye out for the ones who follow, send a DM and then unfollow!

    Nicky Kriel - 14th January 2012

    Hi Jo

    I will have a look at SocialBro, it is always nice to know of other good resources, thank you.


Hilary Nunns - 15th January 2012

Thanks Nicky, although I’m not near that point yet it’s something to remember.

Adalia John - 18th January 2012

This happened to me and It took weeks for me to figure it out. I Googled and Googled some more. Finally, the answer.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Naomi Richards - 18th January 2012

I did not know half this stuff. Thank goodness for your blog.

aron mturi-kenya - 28th November 2012

am in that situation right now and I dont know what to do. plz advice

Joyce - 24th December 2012

hi, I calculated my ration and it’s 2.76. I can’t understand why I can’t follow anyone when I have 276 followers and I follow no one.

    Nicky Kriel - 24th December 2012

    Hi Joyce
    Do you know how to follow people? I am not too sure how you got 276 followers if you aren’t following anyone. What is your Twitter name?


Cyndy - 12th January 2013

I am at 2098 following and 2071 followers. A good ratio but forbidden from following. So I am over 90 %. What’s up with the forbidden from following now

    Nicky Kriel - 12th January 2013

    Hi Cyndy

    What’s your Twitter name, so I can have a look to see if there is something else you might be doing.


BabieAbz - 21st January 2013

I haven’t followed 2000 people, only 1,385 and it wont let me follow anyone ales back this is really annoying me.

    Nicky Kriel - 22nd January 2013


    Have you been following people in the hundreds at a time? Twitter considers mass following to be spammy behaviour.


      BabieAbz - 22nd January 2013

      no i havent been following 100 people at a tym, thats why i dont uderstad why its not letting me follow people bk … if that makes sense

        Nicky Kriel - 22nd January 2013

        Then I suggest you contact Twitter directly and ask them. If it is just one or two accounts in particular then it could be because you have been blocked by them, but as it seems to be a more general issue, I would contact Twitter.


Austine - 31st March 2013

Pls help im following 3173 people and i have 5003 followers, i cant follow anyone…wat do i do?

Jen - 8th April 2013

Hi Nicky,

Once you’re at the 2000 mark, can people not follow you back either? Every day I get emails that say that I get 2 – 3 followers but my number of followers never moves from 768. For awhile I thought people were unfollowing me at the same time but it’s been this way for a few months now and it seems strange that the same number of new people that are following me every day is the same number that are unfollowing me. I hope that makes sense because I’m getting frustrated.


dae - 30th May 2013

I’m having this problem right now but reading this help me alot

Tiffany Valentine - 31st May 2013


Rebekka Deforce - 13th August 2013

Great help thank you! :)

web site - 26th December 2013

When I originally commented I appear to have clicked on
the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox
and now each time a comment is added I receive 4 emails with
the exact same comment. Is there a means
you are able to remove me from that service? Thanks!

    Nicky Kriel - 26th December 2013

    You don’t seem to have left a comment on this blog post before Kala, so I don’t know how you could be subscribed to the comments???

Jude - 30th December 2013

Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.

Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless,
just wanted to say excellent blog!

Farm Ville - 17th January 2014

Hola! I’ve been following your site for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and
give you a shout out from Austin Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic work!

Peggy - 25th February 2014

This article is very timely! I just hit my 2k ceiling and now I’m going to declutter!

Mitesh Katakiya - 30th May 2014

Thanks for guide me about twitter follow limits…………………

Comments are closed