Want to know the perfect formula for boosting your Twitter followers? Make sure your tweets are happy, interesting, and don’t use too many hashtags.
This is according to findings from a study by the Georgia Institute of Tech being presented at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in France this week.
The study found that Twitter users who posted positive, easy-to-read messages that contained news and other factual information, gained 30 times more followers than grumpy, self-centred tweeters.
GET MORE TWITTER FOLLOWERS
Don’t talk about yourself: Informational content attracts followers at a rate 30 times higher than personal content. Users talk about themselves in 41 percent of their tweets on average.
Be happy: Stay away from negative posts such as death, unemployment and poor health.
Use hashtags sparingly: Using too many hashtags puts people off. Researchers found that Twitter users with a high ‘hashtag ratio’ attracted less followers.
Previous research had suggested that following, and being followed by, influential users like celebrities and the frequency and timing of tweets were the key to growing a following on the site.
But these findings suggest that content of tweets is more important.
Researchers from the Georgia Tech in Atlanta studied 500,000 tweets posted by more than 500 Twitter users over a 15 month period.
They created a list of 2,800 emotive terms that suggested whether the tweet was positive of negative.
These included the use of acronyms, such as LOL, emoticons and slang and swear words.
Each term was then given a score on a scale of positivity.
Assistant professor Eric Gilbert and his team assessed whether those Twitter users gained or lost followers after using each term.
Gilbert said: ‘Followers are Twitter’s most basic currency, yet little is understood about how to grow such an audience.
‘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.’
Once tweets were assessed for positivity, users were divided into two groups: Twitter ‘informers’ – those who share informational content and ‘meformers’ – users who share information about themselves.
Researchers found that ‘meformers’ were less popular than those who retweeted news and shared factual information and links.
In fact, ‘informers’ attracted followers at a rate 30 times higher than ‘meformers’.
Other key factors in boosting Twitter follower numbers were how well users engaged with others, how many hashtags they used, and how legible their tweets were.
Researchers found that the higher a Twitter users’ ‘hashtag ratio’, the less likely they were to attract new followers.
To assess how clear a tweet was, Gilbert’s team devised a ‘Tweet Reading Difficulty Index’.
Users who scored higher on this index earned the most amount of followers.
‘To our knowledge, this is the first longitudinal study of follow predictors on Twitter,’ Gilbert said.
‘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.’
Read more: Daily Mail