More ‘@’ replies = fewer followers
How can you expand your reach and influence on Twitter?
“Engaging in the conversation” isn’t the answer.
In a 2011 study, HubSpot viral marketing scientist Dan Zarrella looked at a random selection of more than 130,000 Twitter users. He found that the more often users reply — that is, send a tweet that starts with an @ sign — the fewer followers they’re likely to have.
In other words, highly followed users tend to be less conversational than those with few followers.
People want to know what you know. Share your research and resources with them. It may be more effective than “engaging in the conversation.”
Want to write tweets that go viral? Skip the chit-chat.
People who chit-chat a lot on Twitter are less likely to get retweeted than those who chit-chat less, according to a 2012 report by viral marketing scientist Dan Zarrella. He studied the percentage of “@” replies to find the effect of conversing on Twitter results.
How much conversation is enough? Aim for about 10% “@” replies among your tweets.
“It makes sense when you think about it,” Zarrella writes. “I’m much more likely to retweet an interesting piece of content that you’ve posted than a bit of Twitter chit-chat, especially when that chit-chat is part of an ongoing conversation of which I’m not a part.”
So much for the power of “engaging in the conversation.”
Avoid small talk.
Want to spread the word on Twitter?
Skip the small talk.
Small talk is the topic least likely to be retweeted, according to 2010 research by Dan Zarrella (PDF), viral marketing scientist for HubSpot. Here’s how often six key kinds of content get shared on Twitter:
- News: about 78%
- How-to information: about 58%
- Entertainment: about 53%
- Opinion: 50%
- Products: about 45%
- Small talk: about 12%
Want more retweets? Write blog posts packed with tips and techniques, then share them via Twitter.