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BizReport : Social Marketing : May 06, 2013

Study identifies 3 simple tactics to boost Twitter Follower numbers

Be happy, don't talk about yourself, and rein in hashtag use. These three Twitter tactics to boost Followers come from a first-of-its-kind study from researchers at Georgia Tech.

by Helen Leggatt

After examining half a million Tweets from more than 500 Twitter users over 15 months, researchers at Georgia Tech were able to determine factors that can help Twitter users grow their band of Followers.

"Followers are Twitter's most basic currency, yet little is understood about how to grow such an audience," said Eric Gilbert, assistant professor in Georgia Tech's School of Interactive Computing. "By examining multiple factors that affect tie formation and dissolution over time on Twitter, we've discovered information that could help technologists design and build tools that help users grow their audiences."

After identifying a list of 2,800 emotive terms that suggested whether a Tweet was positive of negative, including the use of acronyms, such as LOL, emoticons and slang and swear words, three main tactics were identified:

* Keep "me talk" to a minimum: Content focused on the Tweeter attracts less Followers, yet Twitter users talked about themselves in 41% of Tweets, on average.

* Be happy: Positive Tweets have a better chance of attracting Followers than negative. "Twitter is mainly based on weak social ties", found the research, and such anonymity ups the importance of keeping Tweets up-beat.

*Cool it on the hashtags: While hashtags are definitely useful tools for expressing emotional commentary or tying Tweets to larger events or issues, they can be abused. Researchers found that the higher a Twitter users' "hashtag ratio," the less likely they were to attract new followers.

"To our knowledge, this is the first longitudinal study of follow predictors on Twitter," said Gilbert. "For the first time, we were able to explore the relative effects of social behavior, message content and network structure and show which of these factors has more influence on the number of Twitter Followers."

The study, which can be read in its entirety online, also found that Tweets that remain on topic and employ good spelling and grammar also attracted more Followers.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: audience, research, social media, Twitter

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  • jonijordder

    i need twitter follower panel


    Great content. I have started sharing positive quotes and I have noticed an increase in my followers. Thank you for sharing this.



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