Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered which tweeting habits encourage people to follow you on Twitter, and which do not. C.J. Huggo, Eric Gilbert and Sarita Yardi examined 500 active Twitter accounts and more than 500,000 tweets over a 15 month period. Users were selected at random; coincidentally there weren’t many brand or celebrity accounts included in the study.
Every three months, the researchers looked at the growth or decline of followers among each of the 500 accounts. They examined the content of tweets during that time, as well as who the tweeter was connected to on the social network.
They found that tweeting personal and/or negative things frequently deters people from following accounts. That makes sense: If someone doesn’t know you and is thinking about following you on Twitter, they might be scared off by angry tweets, and they probably don’t care what you’re eating for lunch.
But if you write informative tweets, people are much more inclined to follow you.
“Informational content attracts followers with an effect that is roughly 30 times higher than the effect of [personal] ‘meformer’ content, which deters growth,” the researchers wrote in a report. “We think this is due to the prevalence of weak [social] ties on Twitter.”
What else can increase your number of Twitter followers?
Here are 14-statistically proven findings from the research report (via Poynter):
- How many people you have in common on Twitter with the potential new follower (more is better)
- How frequently others retweet you (often is ideal)
- The more informational tweets the better
- “Broadcast” tweets not directed at anyone or anything aren’t attractive
- Tweeting negative things often doesn’t help either
- Positive tweets are good
- If you’re profile is detailed, that will help
- When your bio has a URL, that’s also a positive
- It’s even better if your profile lists your location (New York, SF, etc)
- The more you tweet per hour, the better
- It’s attractive if you have more followers than people you’re following
- Don’t use useless hashtags. People don’t like those.
- If you use big words in your tweets, that’s a good thing
- If you follow people back when they start following you, others are more inclined to follow you in the future.
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