We recently built analytics into Typefully. As part of this effort, we imported thousands of tweets and their related engagement metrics into the tool. The early-access v2 Twitter API provides data on impressions and engagement and this allowed us to analyze what works and what doesn’t when growing a Twitter account.
It helps to think of the process of gaining followers as a funnel.
When initially posted, a tweet will show up in some of your followers timelines. As they engage with it (like, RT, reply to it), your tweet will end up in more and more timelines, beyond your follower’s one. That's how you get profile clicks/views which ultimately convert to followers based on how good your profile looks.
Relevant tweets will get you quality impressions
Not all tweets with same number of impressions get the same number of profile clicks.
Take meme tweets, for example. There are hundreds of accounts every day that go viral with memes and they hardly gain any followers.
Compare this with MRR tweets, which get crazy good engagement in my angle of the Internet (where people build open startups).
I gained ~500 followers with this single tweet:
The difference between meme and MRR tweets? MRR tweets make people stop and ask “Look at that progress! Will I be missing out by not following them?”
I believe every niche/audience has their MRR tweets. They can be found by searching for topics/tweets with consistently higher profile click to follower conversion rate.
We built a way to easily spot these outliers into Typefully.
Threads work great
Threads are the new blog posts. They can get you disproportionately more impressions and followers than regular tweets.
Threads win because they are native to Twitter: commenting and engaging is native and requires minimum effort, maximizing reach.
Once you have reach, profile views and follows are soon to follow.
Look at the example below, out of 1 month of tweets, a thread is what worked absolutely best on all the metrics that count.
Provide timely, high-quality, insightful replies to tweets by popular people in your category and you will get profile views. I don't do this myself, but reply tweets get a very high number of profile clicks compared to the effort they take to write.
Optimize your profile (profile pic, header, bio)
Be consistent when tweeting
You don’t need to tweet every day, but if you post every couple of weeks I don’t think you will get far. This is why we build streaks into Typefully.
Why care at all about Twitter followers
I have found that having a (small) audience is fun and immensely valuable. It’s an amplifier for everything you do. It can help with getting the first 100/1000 customers for your startup, looking for your next job, making friends, or even getting a date!
The best part is that you can grow an audience “for free” with minimal effort by sharing interesting nuggets from your field. I regularly do this and have slowly grown my profile to 5k followers, most of them interested in indie hacking, programming and product making. Today, my Twitter profile is one of my most valuable assets.