Social media platforms have become increasingly beneficial to those that know how to take advantage of them. Their cost effective nature, in association with the ability to reach countless contacts, provides limitless networking and marketing scenarios for business professionals. As an investor, it is well advised to tap into the resources provided by social media. Its use has the potential to grow your business exponentially. Twitter, in particular, is one of the most powerful networking tools for driving traffic to your website.
It is not enough, however, to simply open an account and wait for leads to come pouring in. In order to reap the benefits of a site like Twitter, you must understand the logistics associated with generating followers. While this task may seem simple enough, creating a significant following has vexed investors on every level.
Unlike newspapers or magazines with predictable circulation numbers, investing in social media has always been a guessing game mixed with luck. However, with the popularity of social media growing, we have gained a working knowledge of how to grow a following. Twitter, in particular, can be viewed as an experiment in social behavior.
A team of researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Interactive Computing studied 500 active Twitter users over 15 months and examined the impact of 22 factors on those users’ growth in followers. The study revealed several factors that can grow your Twitter following. They are as follows:
Researchers conducting the Twitter experiment were made aware of “tweets” that belonged to two distinctive categories, informative and me-formative. For those not familiar with this particular jargon, me-formative tweets represent information pertaining to the respective individual. Accordingly, informative tweets shared relative information pertaining to the world around us.
Followers on the popular social media platform demonstrated a unique propensity for informative tweets. According to the study, weak social ties are responsible for the impartial attitude towards me-formative information. People simply don’t care about those they barely know. “People are less interested in those mundane things. The strength of weak ties, is they give you access to novel information.”
Investors looking to use Twitter are advised to provide followers with informative information. Not only is it relevant to their interests, but it will facilitate more traction among followers.
Data strongly supports the benefits of positive tweets. Due largely in part to the weak social ties many Twitter followers share; there is a significantly lower threshold for negative attitudes. Quite simply, do not pass up the opportunity to tweet an informative and positive piece. Your followers are more inclined to share this information across the Internet.
“On Facebook you have the opportunity to access emotional support if you’re having a bad day,” said CJ Hutto, a scientist associated with the study. “But on Twitter, people are really turned off by people who whine.”
Just as the social media “gurus” have been saying all along, interaction is key. Those who used @-replies to direct a tweet to another user found greater growth in their lists. The same can be said about sentence structure as well. Be direct and to the point.
Contradictory to the 140 character limitations set by Twitter, it is important to write articulated sentences. The study found that well written sentences attracted more attention. “Seventh-grade writing and above causes significant growth,” Hutto said. “Using incorrect grammar and twitter-speak actually are distracting.”
Do not convolute your tweets with confusing jargon that only a few of your followers will understand. It is more beneficial to reach a wider audience.
Don’t Overdo It
Unless you have been living under a rock, you are probably familiar with the term hashtag. While these symbols serve a relatively important purpose, it is imperative that you do not overuse them. Perhaps the biggest surprise in the Georgia Tech study was that hashtag use correlated negatively with follower growth – to a degree. More specifically, the use of multiple hashtags interferes with the message you are trying to convey.
Though the study primarily focused on individual Twitter users rather than corporate accounts, Hutto says the general principles apply to businesses too.
“This translates to anybody who is interested in getting timely message to as broad an audience as possible,” Hutto said. “It’s a numbers game; the more people who see your message, that’s more people who could be persuaded to buy your project.”