Two really big takeaways from both articles by Jeff Sonderman I’d like to summarize below:
- A New York Times survey summarized five basic motivations for why information is shared, and six types of personas who do the sharing:
- Altruism. We share to bring valuable and entertaining content to others. We think about what our friends want to know, and try to help them out.
- Self-definition. We share to define ourselves to others. Perhaps this notion is better phrased as, “you are what you share.” People consciously shape their online persona by the types of things they share.
- Empathy. We share to strengthen and nourish our relationships. Sharing shows someone else we’re thinking about them and we care.
- Connectedness. We share to get credit and feedback for being a good sharer, to feel valuable in the eyes of others.
- Evangelism. We share to spread the word about a cause or brand we believe in.
- A group of researches at Georgia Institute of Technology analyzed the content of tweets, combined with the dynamics of social behavior and the structure of a given follower network to determine that, “expressing negative sentiments in tweets is the second most harmful factor to growing a Twitter audience.” The other factors? Tweeting too much about yourself–which I will get to in a second. Otherwise, here are statistically significant factors with the biggest impact on follower growth:
- Number of connections in-common with potential new followers (good)
- High frequency of others retweeting your tweets (good)
- High frequency of informational tweets (good)
- Too many “broadcast” tweets not directed at anyone in particular (bad)
- Too much negative sentiment in your tweets (bad)
- A detailed profile description or “bio” (good)
- Profile has a URL listed (good)
- “Burstiness” of your tweets, or the peak rate of tweets-per-hour (more is good; Twitter agrees)
- High ratio of followers to following (good)
- Lots of tweets with positive sentiment (good)
- Cramming too many useless hashtags into your tweets (bad)
- Use of long, fancy words (good)
- Your tendency to follow-back those who follow you (good)
- Profile lists your location (good)
Both of these articles ring a bell for me. When trying to raise money for a charity, my Facebook posts are definitely more prone to receive likes and shares from friends and followers.
However, I do think that there are some variables that need to be considered before applying all of the factors into your tweeting routine from now on. If you tweet for clients, like I do, you may have to disregard some of the above factors–such as tweeting too much about yourself. One of my clients is a musician with a very important upcoming gig. I find that tweeting from his artist page would not draw nearly enough followers and interest if I didn’t tweet a large enough volume about his concerts. I began by tweeting with more strategy and only tweeting about ongoing events and news in his genre of music. After you’ve reached a point when you are limited in time (and weeks) leading up to a big event, you start to focus on quantity over quality. I do not feel bad typing that, so long as I ultimately reach my goal as a publicist–and so far it is working.
Overall, I do see a lot of importance in the above findings, but do advise consideration for your social media goals, before fully utilizing them.