New research on gaining Twitter followers: keep it happy, keep it snappy


By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

February 27, 2013 | 2 min read

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have come up with a list of ways to help people increase their number of Twitter followers.

The research, carried out by looking at the feeds of 500 Twitter users over 15 months, discovered that sending negative tweets was a harmful factor, while having a detailed profile and tweeting often were described as positives.

Every three months the researchers recorded each user’s follower growth, and analyzed what it was about their tweets and behavior that seemed to lead to growth.

The study suggested: “Informational content attracts followers with an effect that is roughly thirty times higher than the effect of [personal] ‘meformer’ content, which deters growth. We think this is due to the prevalence of weak ties on Twitter.”

This means that the public are more likely to be interested in informative content that those who just talk about themselves.

Key points made by the research are:

1. Number of connections in-common with potential new followers (good)

2. High frequency of others retweeting your tweets (good)

3. High frequency of informational tweets (good)

4. Too many “broadcast” tweets not directed at anyone in particular (bad)

5. Too much negative sentiment in your tweets (bad)

6. A detailed profile description or “bio” (good)

7. Profile has a URL listed (good)

8. “Burstiness” of your tweets, or the peak rate of tweets-per-hour (more is good; Twitter agrees)

9. High ratio of followers to following (good)

10. Lots of tweets with positive sentiment (good)

11. Cramming too many useless hashtags into your tweets (bad)

12. Use of long, fancy words (good)

13. Your tendency to follow-back those who follow you (good)

14. Profile lists your location (good)


More from Twitter

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +