For marketers the most important use of Twitter is to increase your reach to spread your content. To do this, you need to get more followers. Sure there are customer service uses of Twitter, but for marketing purposes, follower count is key.
I’ve been doing research for a few years now on how to get more followers, and here are some of the most important points I’ve found. You can find graphical details about each point in the infographic (below).
- Show us who you are
- Stop talking about yourself
- Don’t just converse
- Identify yourself authoritatively
- Don’t be a ‘Debbie Downer’
When you sign up for Twitter, you’re asked to provide three pieces of personal information: a bio, a homepage link and a picture. Many more accounts than you’d expect don’t do these simple things. But accounts that do take the time, have many more follower than those that don’t. So show us who you are.
What I found here is pretty clear, accounts that have more followers do not tend to talk about themselves much. Imagine meeting someone at a cocktail party who did nothing but talk about themselves all night long. Would you want to listen to them for very long? Want more followers? Stop talking about yourself.
When you look at the average reply percentage of folks with more than 1 000 followers and compare it to the reply percentage of users with less than 1 000 followers what you find is interesting. Users with lots of followers respond much less frequently. The effect is the same when you compare users with more than 1 000 000 followers with those that have less.
One of my favourite unicorns-and-rainbows myths to pick on is the dog-eared “don’t call yourself a guru.” I’ve heard said a bunch of different ways, and it’s present anytime someone maligns the term “social media expert” or suggests there is no such thing. It turns out though, that when you pull the rainbow-coloured wool from your eyes and look at actual data, Twitter accounts that use the word “guru” tend to have 100 more followers than the average Twitter account.
Now, I don’t think the takeaway here should be to call yourself a guru at every opportunity, but if you look at the rest of the words on the list, you should realise that you need to identify yourself authoritatively
Negative remarks include things like sadness, aggression, negative emotions and feelings, and morbid comments. Nobody likes to follow a Debbie Downer, accounts with lots of followers don’t tend to make many negative remarks. If you want more followers, cheer up!
However, there is no empirical data to suggest that conversations lead to increased reach on Twitter.