Big Bad Phil gets BANNED!!

on Oct9 2009

From TWITTER no less!

My fave social networking site only went and flipping well suspended my account!

And there was me thinking that it was only dirty spammers and evil peeps that got into Twitter trouble!

All is fine now though – and there are no hard feelings between me and Twitter :-)

The problem is sorted and my account has been reinstated – so all is fine now, but I thought I’d use the silver-lining from this social media cloud to help my beloved readers – yes, YOU! (doofus)

So, if this ever happens to you – here’s what to do:

1 – Dont Panic! You could have been suspended for a large number of reasons, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve done anything wrong (like me – I hadn’t done anything wrong either!) Twitter operates a “play it safe” policy with what they call “suspicious behaviour” on your account, much in the same way that your bank might give you a call if they notice “suspicious activity” on your bank account – they’re doing it to protect you, so be cool with them!

2 – Send an email to Keep it very friendly, and just mention that you have noticed your account’s been suspended and you’d like them to review the decision. You could add that you understand the need for them to protect their users from bad evil spammers, but you are confident that they will see (from reading your tweets and looking at your account) that you are not one of those nasty types. I did just that and it seemed to work.

3 – You will receive an automatic response from Twitter explaining a few things about suspension. It’s pretty interesting stuff, so have a read, it will help you from getting suspended again (once your account is re-instated)

4 – Give it a day or so, (I know – this is the worst part!) then try and log on again. At this point my account jumped back into life, but if yours is still down, reply to the automated email from Twitter, restate your case and ask for them to look into the matter. Ask them to help you to avoid the situation again by letting know what you’ve done wrong. (Remember that email as a communication form lacks the subtext and tonality of normal conversation – so try extra hard to come across as keen to learn rather than defensive – ultimately they are the ones who will be making the decision to try not to pee them off!)

5 – Remember they are just trying to protect all their users! Approach them from that angle rather than “I hate you, you spolied my fun” and you should be ok. Unless of course you were being a dirty spammer, in which case you deserve all you get (not that any of my readers would spam – oh no).

6 – If all else fails – start again! Open a new account with a new name and “get back on ya hoss, cowboy”. It might be a pain to buid up your following again, but you’ve learnt a lesson, and at least you get another chance.

Ok, so now you’ve got your account back up and running, here’s how to avoid it happening again (or even prevent it in the first place):

1 – Watch what you Tweet! So many people try and post sales links and affiliate links in their Tweets and DMs (direct messages), and I genuinely despair at this! I know why they do it – they don’t know any better and they think they need to – but ask yourself this – do you go onto Twitter/Facebook etc to shop? No? Neither does anyone else in the world. They go to Amazon, ebay and a whole lot more besides but not social media sites!

No, like you and I, most people use social media sites to have fun, make new friends and chat! (and maybe to grow their businesses as well) So, post fun, interesting things that are of use to your readers and followers, tweet your blog posts, and tweet “@” messages to others to engage them in conversation. The more you do this, the more you can send people to your blog/site, and direct them to your mailing list and webinars, where you CAN sell to them. This is the best way to “sell” on social media and also to avoid account suspension.

2 – Be careful how quickly you unfollow people after following them. Now this is a bit of a grey area: most twitter experts acknowledge that the quickest way for us non-celebrities to amass a large following is by following lots of others, and then unfollowing those who do not follow back after a few days, allowing you to follow more, etc.
Now if you’re doing this on a small scale, you should be fine, but if you’re following 100s of people a day, and then unfollowing a load the next day, this might be viewed by Twitter as “account abuse”. Best thing to do is leave it around 3 days before you unfollow someone ( this is common sense too – you’ve got to give someone a fair chance to follow you back!)

3 – If you’ve used the “follow loads then unfollow the non-followers after a couple of days” method of growing your followers, DON’T then try to make yourself look really popular by unfollowing all of your followers at once! I know why people do it (if you’ve got 10,000 followers and you’re only following 30, it DOES look impressive, i agree) but Twitter can punish you for this. Basically, respect the people who have shown you the courtesy of following you and you’ll be fine.

4 – Be cool. In other words, treat other Tweeters how you would wish to be treated, watch your language and don’t have a rude piccie as your avatar. This is partly because Twitter will suspend people who get a lot of complaints against their name or those who get blocked by a lot of other people. It’s also partly because it’s a good strategy to have! Even if others are uncool to you. Seriously, social media is all about those all important social skills. Remember – be a Fonzie :-) (and for those of you not old enough to get that reference… I envy you!)

5 – You’re not a robot – so don’t Tweet like one! If you’re constantly posting the same content over and over again, or passing off other people’s Tweets off as your own (ie WITHOUT using “RT” at the start of the Tweet) then you’ll find you might get suspended. Basically, keep your Tweets fresh and interesting – this’ll help grow your following too!

Hope that helps – oh and if you want a copy of the email I used to get Twitter to reinstate my account – sign up to my newsletter over to the left, and reply to the email i send you with “suspended!” in the title – I’ll send it straight to you.

Peace and maple syrup drizzled pancakes

Phil :-D

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This entry was posted on Friday, October 9th, 2009 at 9:01 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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6 excellent Responses

  1. 1 Ralph Says:


    on Oct19 09

    Phil is it possible you are an EVIL spammer or a DIRTY peep?
    LOL J/K my friend. I just hit my 2000th follower today and have some modestly positive results with twitter traffic. Did you ever find out why you got banned?
    Thanks for your support,

  2. 2 Phil Ainsworth Says:


    on Oct21 09

    ha – i am the evilest of them all Ralph :-) congrats on hitting 2000, that’s awesome. Be warned though, you’ll start hitting follower limits now you’ve reached 2k, basically you can only follow 10% more than are following you. You have to start unfollowing people that don’t follow you back to grow now.

    I think I got suspended (i’ll never be sure) for doing a mass unfollow – i unfollowed about 3000 people one day that weren’t following me back, the next thing i know – i’m suspended. Still it was only for a day so – hey ho!

    See you soon mate :-)

  3. 3 Ralph Says:


    on Oct23 09

    Thanks for the advice on the following percentage–and the mass unfollowing—makes sense….

  4. 4 Kerie Hinchliffe Says:


    on Oct23 09

    Great Webinar on Wednesday. Its a good job it didn’t happen then. Looking forward to your next one. Currently on 1654 followers, so hoping to grow my following.

    Cheers Kerie :-)

  5. 5 Social Media and Internet Marketing for Creative People » Blog Archive » What to do if your Twitter account gets banned. First of all – don’t panic! Says:


    on Dec9 09

    [...] this article from Phil Ainsworth. Subscribe via RSS Related Bookmarks Tags RelatedHere is a List of What People Want out [...]

  6. 6 John Siemens Says:


    on Apr22 09

    Well Phil it has not been a real smooth ride for me either, I’m a newbie and am still trying to find the right affiliates for my site. Glad to hear you got straightened out with Twitter. I also have a blog, do not under stand how to enter links and such onto the site. John

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