Tip: Signs of a healthy Twitter account

by Jason Keath on Jan 27, 2015
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Social Fresh TipsPeter Bray (@petebray) did a great data rich post over on the Moz blog last month about what factors relate to an increase in Twitter followers. It is very in depth, with a ton of charts. If you are a data geek, I highly recommend you go check it out.

Cause and effect are always tough, but what Peter did dig up were several correlated data points of Twitter accounts that are growing their follower count.

Below are a few of the highlights that I found the most interesting.

1. Using More Photos and Hashtags = 2% more daily followers

Using images in your Tweets or hashtags is correlated to a 2% increase in Twitter followers, for each Tweet. Images are more engaging and simply take up more real estate. And hashtags are of course a great discovery tool in general, especially when they are connected to Twitter chats and events.

2. Retweeting Other People = +4% more daily followers

This one is more antithetical. This is not referencing how many retweets your content gets, but rather your retweets of others. Peter hypothesized that when you are retweeting content you are likely sharing “best of the best” content that is more curated and therefore higher quality. And that higher quality attracts followers.

3. Engaging with Others = +6% more daily followers

Pretty simple here. If you are sending @replies, more people see your Tweets, are more likely to retweet you, etc. It is good to see that engagement has one of the highest bumps here.

4. URLs in Your Tweet = Decrease in daily followers

This one is interesting. Overall, links do not relate to an increase in followers. Largely because a lot of links are a clear sign of some more spammy accounts.

I would not be afraid of links, but what this data does tell me is that you should be sending out more content without links. Which makes sense. If your text or image content can stand alone on Twitter, there is less content for them to consume if there is no link. No 500-2000 word article for them to skim before tweeting it out. So it becomes easier to engage with and share.

5. Weekends = 23% fewer new followers

Makes sense.

6. Retweets and favorites = more new followers 

Peter admits this one is obvious and that, but it is good to confirm that there are “strong associations with more new followers and retweets and favorites of your content”. The takeaway here for me is that if your Twitter content is not receiving RTs and favorites, it might be time to adjust your strategy.

7. Speaking at events = more new followers

Peter saw this with Rand’s account in his research, and I can attest to the same. When I speak at events, get quoted in digital marketing articles, or take part in Twitter chats, I see a clear spike in new followers. Participating in events and being a thought leader pays off.

8. Going off topic = fewer new followers

If you are on vacation and posting a bunch of photos, or just in general using Twitter in a way that is not typical for your followers to see, your audience notices.


So let’s summarize. Use photos, hashtags, and retweet great content. Think about posting more content without links. Shoot for RTs and Favorites as success metrics. Take part in events and stay on topic.

Post Author

CEO and founder of Social Fresh, the social media education company. Jason is a social media consultant, a social media speaker and industry analyst. He consults with corporations and agencies on social media strategy, building community, and influencer...

  • http://goforlaunch.io BrandonUttley

    I’m noticing more “favoriting” vs. retweets these days…which is useful for both the favorite-or and favoritee. The person whose tweet is favorited often gets a notification. I suspect it causes a positive reaction (how could it not?), which may lead to them following back the favorite-or (there should be a word for this favoriting person). It’s also quicker to “favorite” something—akin to a like button—without the more overt retweet.

    One more consideration: Leaving thoughtful blog comments with your Twitter handle also has a positive correlation with gaining new followers (shameless plugs: @brandonuttley and @goforlaunchio).

  • hannah edia

    Hi Jason, interesting data. ready to kick into action on twitter with this post.
    Thanks for sharing

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