1. Following only to get a follow back. What a way to tell your followers they are unimportant. Those who engage in this behavior care more about the number of followers they have than interacting with their followers. The ones that really get to me though are those who follow and then unfollow a few days later only to follow again a couple of days later. Again, you are telling me I'm just a number, another notch on your social media belt.
Solution: Follow people that have content you want to read. Engage in with that content - retweet, comment, reply with your own findings. By increasing your interaction with the individual you increase the likelihood they will follow you back. Even just introducing yourself will help, but be sure to note my next pet peeve.
2. Direct Messaging with links to your other sites. When I choose to follow someone it is either because I like the content I have seen from others or because you have interacted with me. By DMing me after I follow with a link to your website, Facebook page, etc., you assume I have not already read your bio. It is bothersome enough that unless your content is top notch, I'm likely to unfollow.
Solution: Make sure a link to your website, Facebook page, or other social media site is in your bio. You are allowed two links. One in the website spot and one in the bio proper (use a link shortener to save on characters).
3. Direct Messaging to thank me for following. I typically ignore this message, but it does rub me wrong as I suspect it is a autobot sending the message. If you are happy I'm a follower why not thank me publicly. Maybe your followers would be interested in what I share. Social media is all about connection and networking, helping each other meet new people. However, if you don't really know your followers then why would you care in helping them out?
Solution: You could thank new followers publicly. But that isn't really feasible and would be a clutter to an already overly cluttered stream of tweets. Instead, take the opportunity to engage with your followers. Ask a question or other introduction type message (think about what you say to people when you first meet them in real life).
Those are the three activities I see over and over and they just irk me. I think they really treat people as if they are just a number. I see people complaining about all the spam on Twitter and I think part of the problem is that those engaging in the above behaviors have forgotten there are people behind the handles.
Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the blogger behind Girl Who Reads and author of the how-to manual Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.