A tiny course on how to grow on Twitter
Lessons from Typefully.
Typefully helps more than 17k people craft great Twitter threads and track their performance.
By observing its power users, my co-founder Francesco and I distilled our learnings into a series of insights on how to grow on Twitter.
We put all of this in Typefully's welcome email to help new users get started, and they seem to really appreciate it. This is the kind of responses it gets:
Truth be told, I've been on Twitter for many years, and for most of this time, I hovered around the 1k followers' mark — so this welcome email / tiny Twitter course is something I wish I could read years ago.
I've been asked to share it by some older users who didn't receive it, so I'm publishing it here in its entirety. Enjoy.
1. Be authentic and unique
Don’t look for growth hacks, but instead leverage your unique knowledge and share insights about your industry, passions, or any topic you want to share.
Most of the fastest-growing accounts we see are the ones that are genuinely interesting.
In fact, I often write drafts on mobile like they're personal notes: I don't think "what can go viral on Twitter" but "what is genuinely interesting to me and worth sharing"? I write first and foremost with myself in mind as an audience.
Typefully is a Progressive Web App so it can be installed on mobile to fit this use-case perfectly.
2. Be consistent
With my co-founder Francesco, we've seen time and time again that the accounts with the highest engagement tweet more regularly.
People are busy, and if you only tweet very rarely, your followers might forget about you and not engage with your tweets.
I'm not advocating tweeting a lot, mind you, but just consistently.
As an example of how Typefully can help you be more consistent, there's a Streaks chart that helps you gauge your consistency through the year.
A regular tweeting schedule will also help you be consistent. These days I try to resist the urge to always tweet instantly, and queue tweets to make sure they reach a wider audience.
3. Build in public
If you’re working on something, this is the best time ever to share it.
More and more people every day are quitting their jobs to start their ventures, or dream about doing that. Building your product, art, startup or anything else in public is a great way to grow on Twitter.
Even a simple tweet like the one below (that took seconds to write) has great engagement, and brought more than 600 people on my profile, to find out who's behind those numbers.
4. Optimize for profile visits
Viral tweets with memes can get thousands of retweets, but they don’t always translate into tons of new followers.
In my experience, instead, the following types of tweets get you many more profile visits, and therefore followers:
- A tweet about something that is unique to you, or shows your skills
- A tweet about an impressive accomplishment
- Insights and learnings from your specific experience
Make sure to review your tweets to find those gems that have a lot of profile clicks, pushing your “conversion rate” high (there's a dedicated chart in Typefully).
Bonus: having a great and effective profile bio that explains what kind of value you bring will also help a great deal in converting people to followers. Make sure to tweak your bio and see if the conversion rate changes.
5. Use threads (but not too much)
Writing a thread in Typefully is as easy as adding some extra newlines between your paragraphs — and threads are a great way to compile great content or your thoughts in a single “post”.
As I wrote in a recent note, in many ways threads are the new blog posts.
Use them with caution though since we're reaching a saturation point where lots of threads aren't that valuable, and many people are growing tired of them.
6. Engage your followers
If you look at the Tweets table below, you’ll see that some tweets have more replies than the others (first columns) and a higher engagement rate (last column).
Usually, tweets are more engaging when they have questions, thought-provoking ideas, or trigger follow-ups.
These tweets create genuine engagement, which the Twitter algorithm favors. Don’t just try to be a loud voice, create a conversation.
7. No walls of texts
Imagine someone scrolling their Twitter timeline quickly. Will they stop for a “wall of text tweet”, or will they stop for something that is formatted in a way that grabs their attention?
The best tweets have great layouts, so formatting shouldn’t be an afterthought.
David Perell is a master of this. He formats his text so that you have a clear hook on why you should read the rest, or in a very symmetrical and structured way will grab your attention when scrolling a messy timeline.
8. Find your style
You can recognize a Julian Shapiro thread or Jack Butcher tweet without looking at their avatar or user name.
Why? Because they have a unique and recognizable voice, and that is expressed both in their choice of words and in their use of media and attachments.
I probably don't need to tell you who wrote this tweet (or at least I don't if we're in the same bubble):
In the end, be you (specifically you), find your unique voice and style, create real lasting value, engage your audience, leverage this unique weird format (tweets) where well-formatted condensed ideas flourish.