It’s advice that’s frequently given to children, politicians, and the lovelorn, and now research shows it also applies to those seeking Twitter popularity: accentuate the positive.
Oh, and don’t talk about yourself so much.
A new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology showed that Twitter followers can be better caught with honey than vitriol.
Rather than being funny, critical, or self-aware, researchers said, those who prioritize positivity and useful information ultimately got a higher volume of followers.
To identify these dynamics, C.J. Hutto, Sarita Yardi, and Eric Gilbert studied the online behavior of more than 500 Twitter users over the course of 15 months, in what they believe, is the first study of this kind.
Here's how to avoid being a Twitter-sphere Negative Nancy, in a few easy steps:
Be more positive. Simple enough, right? “Expressing negative sentiment has an adverse affect on follower gain,” stated the report.
Be an informer, not a “me-former.” Provide your followers with information they can use—rather than updates about yourself—and you’ll attract more of them. Research showed that those users identified as “informers” had nearly three times more followers than “meformers.” According to the report: “Informational content attracts new followers with a relative impact that is roughly 30 times higher than the impact of ‘meformer’ content, which deters growth.”
A few extras pointers:
Facebook self, meet Twitter self. Don’t reserve different platforms for different parts of your personality. Your social media "selves" should be congruent—and accurate.
Fill in the blanks. Completed Twitter user profiles, including biographical details and geographic locations, signal stronger identity—and gain more followers.
Network, network, network. Don’t just grab followers—interact with them. Re-Tweet, follow-back, and don’t just “broadcast”—direct some of your Tweets at specific audiences.