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Likes On Twitter Are Killing Your Reach. Here’s How To Stop It

Thu 23rd Jul 2015
By Todd
Social Media, Twitter

If you’ve read our blogs for a few years then you’ll know that I’ve always had a bee in my bonnet about favourites.

Update 1/12/15: Favourites are now called likes. The star was replaced with a heart but the function and my point here are exactly the same.

They’re kinda pointless and they’re kinda not. Favourites (now called Likes) do many things, and like most tools in life they’re only as good as the person using them.


To catch you up, here’s what a like on Twitter could could do.


  • Save a tweet to read later. This, for me, is the reason they exist
  • Say thanks to a tweeter for sharing something
  • To sign off from a tweet like “goodbye”
  • To ‘like’ this. Some people use them in a similar way to a like on Facebook.


Here’s what like don’t do…


  • Share the original tweet. OK sometimes Twitter shares these – but not always. The easy way to remember them is that they pin the tweet you like to your profile.
  • Build conversation… in fact – they kill it! And that’s the point I want to make here…



Likes On Twitter Are Killing Your Reach. Here’s How To Stop It

Likes On Twitter Are Killing Your Reach. Here’s How To Stop It

Your likess and lack of caring are killing your Twitter conversation

Here’s the deal with likes:

You have a choice.


  • A choice to use them or not
  • A choice to tweet back or like
  • A choice to ignore or reply to someone that likes you.


However you look at them: a human being has made the like happen and we need to interact with those.

Ignoring human interaction on Twitter begs the question: “What the hell are you doing on there?!”


Let’s look at likes on Twitter from both sides


Side One: The liker

So, you’ve just had a really nice tweet sent to you and you have a choice. A choice to continue that conversation or you could kill it… with a like!

When someone tweets you and says:

“Hey – your stuff is really nice.”


Tweet back. Say thanks. Ask them why they said that. What did they find interesting or useful? Can you discuss it further? Get a conversation going.

Hitting ‘like’ not only says “I can’t be bothered to talk to you”, but you also miss the opportunity to speak to someone who clearly cares about something AND they’re prepared to talk about it on Twitter.

Yes, it’s more effort to talk to them… but then if you can’t be arsed then it begs the question once more “What the hell are you doing on there?!”


Side Two: The Liker

You’ve just sent out a tweet and someone likes it.

Damn it! No one will see that. It’s not a retweet and it doesn’t help anything other than vanity metrics.

But wait… a human did that (unless it’s a bot). A human clicked a button. It’s minimal, but it’s something. Something can lead to something else and before you know it, a conversation could start.

I read a book recently called Networking for Dummies and the line that struck me was:

“Everything starts from a little conversation.”

It’s so true… even huge deals start with little conversations.

So why not start one?


When you get a like – respond to it!


  • Check out the person
  • Follow them back if you want to
  • Reply to them
  • Take an interest in them
  • Ask them a question
  • Build on that small interaction.


Whatever you do, try and harvest that small seed of interest. Someone has shown you some interest and although it’s small you never know how big it might grow.

This works by the way.

I do it all the time for my clients.

I NEVER ignore a like. I respond to them and check them out.


  • Who are they?
  • Can I help them?
  • Can I build a relationship with them from a like…? Hell, yes!


Stop being lazy with your Twitter…


Twitter takes time and effort to make it work for you and your business. Follow up on every interaction.

Retweets are also worth following up on too.

Please DON’T like when you could say “Hi”.

When someone likes you, take that as an excuse to go and talk to them… as long as they’re not a bikini-clad top-heavy lovely just promoting dodgy websites!

At the beginning of this post I said that likes are killing the conversation… but they aren’t – your use of them might be!

Make a wise move and use them to find conversation. Stop using them instead of actual words.

Like I said before:


Ignoring human interaction on Twitter begs the question: “What the hell are you doing on there?!”


SOCIAL media. Clue’s in the title, yeah? 😉


What do you think? How do you use likes? Am I wrong? Let’s discuss it in the comments below.

Tags associated with this article

Social Media Twitter

12 comments on this article

  • Lin at 12:34pm on July 23rd 2015

    That’s made me think Todd about how my favourites are perceived out there as I am a favouriter!

    My favourites mean thanks for sharing, agree and bye for now.
    It depends on the context.
    It is a bit lazy I guess ….
    It’s quick though.

    Twitter we need more specific quick options – divide favourites into File, Thanks, Bye / Like!

    Todd, I have a twitter question for you! Sometimes I get a tweet from someone which informs me I’ve been added to a list and the name of that list. If I add someone to a list, do they get this notification from me, even if I’ve made the list private?

    Bye for now
    Like your article
    and agree with what you said 😉

    1. Todd at 15:48pm on July 23rd 2015

      Hey Lin.

      Ha… for quick read lazy! 😉

      That’s a great question. Yes when you add them to a public list they will get a notification on their Twitter. If you add them to a private list they don’t.

      It’s worth pointing out that you can add anyone to a – list even people you don’t follow!

    2. Geraldine at 15:34pm on July 23rd 2015

      Jumping in, if I may? From what Todd said at the Digital Marketing Workshop I went to last November, people won’t be notified if you add them to a private Twitter list – which is why it’s safe to build a list of competitors or other accounts you want to follow discretely. Hope that helps?

      1. Todd at 15:56pm on July 23rd 2015

        Exactly, Geraldine!

        Spot on x

        1. Lin at 16:12pm on July 23rd 2015

          Thanks Geraldine 🙂

        2. Lin at 16:12pm on July 23rd 2015

          Just checking people didn’t know they were on my ‘good looking’ private list!
          (only joking!)

          I have a private list with the title ‘potential clients’ and that wouldn’t be good for people to be notified they were on it! Sounds a bit presumptuous!

  • Geraldine at 15:42pm on July 23rd 2015

    I’m with you all the way regarding the use of Favourites (as per my latest blog: Navigating My First 6 Months On Twitter). I too feel an element of frustration when someone simply favourites one of my tweets, rather than replying to it (or retweeting it).

    I like your suggestion about checking them out (which I usually do out of curiosity) & trying to get a conversation going, but this would only really work if the Favouriter is someone ‘new’. When it’s someone I already have a virtual ‘relationship’ with, it’s invariably them that ends the conversation with a Favourite – whereas I’d keep going with yet another tweet!

    1. Todd at 15:59pm on July 23rd 2015

      Yes, I do agree with the ‘already connected’ point. But I would argue that you can turn any conversation to your advantage… like a politician would!

      Yes some use favourites to end the call but I like to make the most of everything… just in case 🙂

      1. Andre at 15:14pm on September 2nd 2015

        Absolutely love this, and it is so true. Works on Facebook when someone just likes a photo of yours and you thank them for the like, they do talk back. Wonderful.

        1. Todd at 14:39pm on September 3rd 2015

          Great point about Facebook. I think it works on most platforms – go get em!

  • Denise at 7:17am on September 3rd 2017

    It is frustrating at times when you are trying to get a message out and everyone likes it but no one retweets it.
    I usually like a tweet because I want to come back to it later. At the moment I find myself liking tweets to show support – usually with my longstanding Twitter people – but don’t retweet because there is a conversation going on that I don’t necessarily want to join in with at that point. It’s not laziness, it’s prioritising.
    One time a guy I had been following for a long time but who had been quiet for a while tweeted a flurry tweets upbraiding his followers for hitting the heart and not the retweet. He pulled me up for liking one of his tweets – said I did him no good by just liking it and I should retweet it. I had liked it because there was a link I didn’t have time to read at that point and I was going to go back to it. He wanted me to retweet it without reading the linked article – he didn’t really care that I hadn’t read it he just wanted me to use my (admittedly) meagre reach to promote him. I wouldn’t do that. It’s like endorsing a product you’ve never used. I tried to have the conversation with him about why people might only like and not retweet but he basically repeated his demand like a mantra. His stance was so self-centred and bullish, in the end I muted him and I didn’t go back to read the link. I am not a business – I am on twitter for fun but I have worked hard to build my follwing. I value my followers so I will not retweet something without knowing what it is and believe it to be interesting, useful, amusing, important, relevant. Ask me nicely and I will retweet something. Tell me I have to retweet and imply the only point of my being here is to retweet your tweets…sorry, see ya, matey.
    I’m not here for someone else’s agenda, I’m here for mine and it does me no good to bombard my followers with retweets of stuff I haven’t read. That just loses me integrity and followers.

    1. Todd at 8:55am on September 7th 2017

      I do agree totally with what you’re saying. The point I was trying to make it that when someone likes YOUR content, you should go and start a conversation with them as it’s amazing where those conversations will lead. Thanks for reading. I appreciate it.

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