Want More Twitter Followers? Stop Talking About Yourself

social language

Y'know how people who constantly talk about themselves have a tough time making friends in real life? Turns out that logic applies to Twitter, as well. After analyzing data from more than 60,000 tweeters, Dan Zarrella—the viral-marketing scientist who gave us nine scientifically proven ways to get re-tweeted—concluded that those who use social language ("we," "you") have more followers than those who self-reference ("I"):

self reference

In sum: If you want more Twitter followers, stop talking about your feelings, and start engaging your audience. Good luck!

[Data and graphs via TweetPsych and Dan Zarrella]

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  • Ganforhire Brand Solutions

    Couldn't agree more!

    This applies not only on Twitter, but any social media channels. You don't tell people what you are
    going to do. You do something for them or inspire them to do. People
    are so impatient nowadays. They have very short attention span.

    We should listen and focus on customers' needs and problems. Be insightful and stand out from the noise.

    Enough about me, let's talk about you!

  • Damian Rojas

    There was a study that appeared about 2 months ago, indicating that the secret behind getting RTs was to just add "please RT" to what you wanted to be RTed. The author tried different combinations ranging from "can you please RT" to "RT pliz" and found that "please RT" works the best.

  • Steinar Knutsen

    In my experience, it's about striking the balance between sharing information about yourself, your hobby/company/interest and your market at large. If you do only one of these three things it will turn people off.

    Specifically this translates into sharing your thoughts, sharing links or retweeting others' content, answering questions, asking questions - ya' know, actually getting involved in or leading the discussion.

    Steinar Knutsen

  • Patrick Allmond

    Can't say I entirely agree with the "Stop Talking About Your Feelings". When I feel strongly about something and I tweet it out I get pretty good engagement on twitter. I say it in the first place to engage people that agree with me or disagree with me. Those are the best conversations and my whole point for being there.
    Patrick Allmond

  • Dan Macsai

    @Scott IMHO, it's hard to imagine that someone who almost exclusively tweets about himself could manage to grow his follower base (beyond actual friends) in the first place--unless he's really, really funny or famous. But you make a good point. I should have included a caveat.

  • Scott Allen

    This is intriguing, Dan, but I'm wondering if this might be a case of "cum hoc ergo propter hoc"? We can see that there's a correlation, but perhaps the causality runs in the other direction? Perhaps the growth occurs for other reasons entirely, and as people's follower base grows, their perspective changes.

    With under 1,000 followers, a Twitter user feels like Twitter is more of a personal lifestream or publishing outlet. As their followers grow, more conversations occur -- they feel more engaged, more aware of "we" and the collective "you", rather than "I".

    It's an interesting data point, but I don't think we can necessarily draw this conclusion from the data.