These Are Twitter’s Biggest Secrets

In this interview with Time Magazine, Buffer’s Kevan Lee cites evidence to show that “There is science and psychology behind the way we all tweet.”

Psychology shows us how Twitter can be so addicting: We crave a great experience each time we pull the Twitter lever, and it keeps us coming back for more.Research and data reveal a bit into the way that we use Twitter. We follow based on our network, we retweet based on tried-and-true formulas, and we favorite for reaction or function.

Tips to get more followers:

  • Tweet positive!
  • Inform, don’t “meform”
  • Use social proof
  • Write well, avoid hashtag abuse
  • Mention someone in your text (@…) but remember to begin your tweet with anything BUT the @ sign or only mutual followers of @tweep and yourself will see it

Tips to get more shares:

  • Ask for it!
  • Inform and educate
  • Speak the same lingo as your followers (i.e. hashtag #growthhack = guaranteed faves and shares!)
  • Copy  headline
  • Avoid saying you, use third party
  • Sound less authoratative by using a instead of the
  • Don’t be verbose!

 

As this interview was done more than a year ago (though it’s the first time I’m seeing it), these tips are well circulated. In fact, you hear them so much that I am starting to disagree with some of them.

My insight is that one a Twitter tip becomes public knowledge, it ceases to be effective so you might as well do the opposite.  Case in point – ask for retweets.  I’ve never ever retweeted when I’ve been asked.  In fact it annoys me to death to see someone say “Please Retweet”.   (At a minimum, if they say “retweet if you agree” I’ll still be forgiving, but any DM that says please RT = auto unfollow on my part.

 

The most interesting thing about the article is the 25 question quiz to test if you can tell which tweet is more likely to be retweeted (try it, it’s fun!) and the fact that they give you the original research AND the data to play with (first time I’ve seen actual research papers on Twitter – vs what’s claimed in infographics or posts).

 

Follower Growth Stats
Follower Growth Stats

 

TIME

Correction: Appended, August 14, 2014.

When I choose someone new to follow, when I compose a new tweet, when I share and favorite an update, I seldom think about the why. My following sessions would probably seem haphazard to an outsider, and my favoriting technique comes and goes from one strategy to another.

Even so, the way I use Twitter is far less random than I thought. There is science and psychology behind the way we all tweet.

Researchers have discovered trends in the way that we perform every major action on Twitter—favoriting, updating, sharing, and following. And there’s even an interesting bit of psychology behind what makes Twitter so attractive in the first place. Here’s a look at the psychology of Twitter: what makes us follow, favorite, share and keep coming back for more.

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My foray into the friendliness of Twitter

As an early adopter, I’ve been a member of social media networks since they first launched. Facebook when it was just college kids. Twitter when it first came out. Was on Snapchat looooong before kids today discovered it.

But shy as I am (that’s right!) I’ve always restricted my social media to friends.

I certainly have never, ever chatted up a random stranger over social media.

That was until I started using Twitter. Never got Twitter. Many friends say the same but Twitter is where the Digerati and Journalists congregate, consume and share breaking news or the latest content.

 

 

 

Asking for Tweeted Tips

There are also many examples of newbies asking the Twitterati for advice.

Jenni Lowe asked the professional copy and content writers of Twitter for what advice they would give to someone new to the big, bad world of freelance writing and put her story on Storify:

My Early Tweets

One of my first few tweets was to a blogger, Jennfer Dewalt, after visiting her site 180 websites in 180 days.  Artist turned web developer, Jennifer taught herself how to code by literally making a website every day day for half a year, blogging about her experience as she went along.  I was inspired, I sent her a tweet to ask about her experience, not knowing if she would ever reply.

And of course she did!

My next tweet was to Nick Loper, who runs the Side Hustle Nation blog and podcast. Nick’s podcast packs in case studies, interviews and examples of amazingly successful people making side-income on the internet by blogging, affiliate marketing, freelancing. I love listening to his podcasts, mostly because his podcasts always start with addictive, catchy jingle that somehow always makes me laugh:

“Because your 5-9 may make you a livin’ but your 9-5 makes you ALIVE”

 

Engagement and Reciprocation

I used Trello a lot in the first quarter of this year, when I was learning about social media and how content marketers would use Trello to manage their content creation and social media strategies.  Using a website redesign checklist that I found particularly helpful by Andy Crestodina of Orbit Medias, I had made into Trello card and tweeted it to him for anyone to use.

Which turned into a three-way with Nick Loper and Jennifer Dewalt as they were the only bloggers I knew at the time.

So I was well pleased to see Andy make the Onalytica’s Top 100 list.

Same with Hana Abaza from Uberflip – her post on 10X Content was one of my most popular tweets!

Social ROI: Return on Relationship Is Key

My last example was a post I had read on Social Sprout by Ted Rubin.

If you had just clicked the Tweet This button, you would have shared this:

Instead, I looked up Ted Rubin’s handle on Twitter, and I added a graphic (not the one at the top of the article that was more likely to be Buffered as image), but one lower down in the article that I thought was more relevant to the content. And my retweet got the approval of Ted Rubin himself.

 

 

 

 

Ask and You Shall Receive

Recently, I’ve been following this inspiring Filipino freshman from Penn, David Ongchoco, who writes for the Huffington Post and just completed a summer internship as a content marketer at the Joyful Frog Digital Incubator.  His end-of-internship was reflective, but most of all it impressed me because it was rooted in humility and gratitude when he had so much he could have bragged about.

David is writer for the multiple magazines including the Huffington Post, maintains his own blog, set up YouthHack.net – a site for empowering today’s youth to solve the world’s biggest problems through technology and entrepreneurship, among many other endeavours.

I asked if he would mentor some of my young students writers, and of course he said.. yes!

 

Have you used Twitter to seek expert advice? Share your story in the comments below!