Twitter recently revealed a 16 million increase in monthly active users during the latest quarter of this year, in comparison to the first quarter. That’s some going.

Just because Twitter’s got more users, though, it doesn’t mean your following on there grows automatically too. It takes blood, sweat and tears to increase followers and establish a strong presence on any social network… so we’ve put together six everyday tips to help you in your mission to get a better return from Twitter.

1. First impressions count.

We look at profiles before deciding to follow someone, as do you, so make sure you look interesting.

Feature a profile picture that accurately represents you or your business – be it a company logo for brands, or a headshot for personal accounts. Then pick an appropriate background image (similar to Facebook cover photos) that further represents what you’re about, and most importantly, spend time writing a catchy but informative bio. This can really make you stand out. Outline what type of content users can expect from your account.

2. Stay on trend.

Twitter makes it easy to be ‘trendy’ with its customisable “Trends” section that displays tailored trends based on your location and people you follow. If you get involved in conversations about these trends, your visibility will increase

The most popular hashtags are usually featured in the Trends section, but also make sure to leverage both common and niche hashtags. For example, a brand can participate in #ThrowbackThursday as a fun way to start conversation with fans and to increase their reach on Twitter. Or a local business could use its city name in hashtags (e.g. #Leeds) to reach a targeted or niche audience.

Whatever you do, don’t go overboard on hashtags – maximum three per tweet, or you’ll turn people off. #Awks.

3. Be engaging.

‘Engagement’ is one of those words that’s used in every other sentence in social strategy. To be honest, it’s starting to grate, but until we come up with a new one we’ll go with it.

Everyone knows Twitter’s the fastest-paced network – it’s blink and you miss it type stuff when you’re following lots of people. So it’s never been more important for users to stand out with content that makes you look twice – or even gets people visiting your page when they log on, rather than waiting to see it in their news feed (Alexa Chung, Giles Coren and Caitlin Moran, we stalk your tweets).

The Holy Grail is understanding the type of content that gets your specific audience going. It’s fair to say that generally, visual content often performs best on social. Tweets that include images average a 35 per cent boost in retweets, while tweets that include videos average a 28 per cent boost. Twitter data shows that both photo and video tweets are more engaging than tweets that only include hashtags, as hashtag tweets averaged just a 16 per cent boost in retweets.

4. Cosy up to the influencers.

If you want to make more of an impact on Twitter, revert to school days and get in with the popular people to increase your kudos.

Interact with influencers, as their strong following can boost your visibility and followers for those they interact with. So if you’re a fashion student looking to grow your followers, for example, spend time interacting with other fashion designers or fashion brands to increase your authority and visibility.

Use the Twitter handle of complementary brands, professionals or celebrities in an effort to get a response and enhance your visibility. Although you might not receive responses from your @mentions, tweets can get noticed and engaged with by followers.

Tip: When @mentioning someone on Twitter, don’t start the tweet with the user’s handle. Doing so will only allow people who follow both handles to see the Tweet. To prevent this, many brands will insert a full stop before their @mention.
5. It’s all in the timing.

Experiment with timing to see when tweets perform the best. Current research suggests that tweets posted between 11am- 2pm average more retweets and replies than tweets sent at other times of the day – so focus on posting your best content during that period.

You can use a social media management tool like Sprout Social to schedule posts in advance – but be careful, as the essence of social media is real-time communication, so make sure it’s balanced with live tweeting.

6. Get your Twitter handle everywhere.

Include ‘Follow’ buttons on every brand asset, from websites to email campaigns. For professionals trying to grow their personal following, this means including your Twitter handle on your email signature, business cards etc.

For more advice, just get in touch! @ContentSoup, hello@contentsoup.co.uk