6 Insider Hacks to Beat Twitter’s Algorithm For More Retweets and Followers
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If you’re a regular Twitter user, there’s a good chance you like to avoid some of the statistics that float around about engagement.
Like how the average brand engagement rate is only 0.049%, according to one report.
With rates that low, why do brands use Twitter at all?
The short answer is because it’s still valuable in many ways. And with more than 330 million active users, Twitter as a social platform for brands is alive and well.
But through the years, Twitter has introduced changes to their news feed that have complicated how you should act on their platform.
With engagement rates so low, you have to have more strategy than ever to reap the benefits of this unique platform.
I want to help you navigate the Twitter landscape and find actionable ways to increase your engagement.
To kick things off, let’s dissect the current Twitter news feed and pinpoint exactly what you should be looking for.
When Twitter started, everything was shown in reverse chronological order.
That meant as long as you tweeted on a consistent schedule, you could drive engagement by pretty much just showing up at the right time.
But things are different now.
In its current state, Twitter is centred around an algorithm that prioritises engagement in the form of retweets, conversation, and overall follower count.
According to Twitter’s self-published guide to their algorithm, they use a deep-learning AI that bases a user’s news feed on a variety of factors.
They take everything into account, including the tweet’s author, the content itself, and the activity of the user who might see it.
And to get that engagement, you have to break down how Twitter “scores” each tweet when determining what appears on a user’s news feed.
Your tweet is graded for quality based on who you are and how credible your activity has been in the past.
Twitter’s algorithm also takes into account how much engagement you get in the early life of your tweet. That includes how much time it takes to read through your content and whether or not people are talking about it.
The more positive signals your tweet gets, the better chance you have of engaging with followers and getting retweets.
And when you get more retweets, you create a “ripple effect” of people who are exposed to your brand.
When your follower retweets you, their followers now see your tweet.
If more of their followers retweet, the process continues ad infinitum.
And when you break those retweets and engagements down into your metrics, you’re looking at three major data points:
As indicated in the image above, these data points are:
This gives you a quick breakdown of how many people see your tweet, and how many users actively engage with it by liking, retweeting, or replying.
A “good” impression rate or engagement rate will depend on your own goals and your industry.
Once Twitter’s algorithm gathers all of these data points and metrics, tweets are sorted into one of three categories on the algorithmic timeline.
At the very top of a user’s timeline, they will find the best performing tweets since they last logged on.
This is typically where you see most of the accounts that have huge follower lists. In some ways, this is your ultimate goal.
Then, if it’s been quite a while since their last login, Twitter users will also see the “In case you missed it” section that shows a wider selection of high-performing tweets from the last few days.
Since these are from hours or potentially days ago, this widens the exposure time of your top tweets.
And once they’ve scrolled through the top section, they see the rest of their news feed in reverse chronological order.
So the goal here is to be at the top of the algorithm or to continually place yourself in the reverse chronological feed of your followers.
The better your tweet performs, the higher your chances of staying at the top of the news feed.
And when you’re at the top of the news feed, you’re more likely to get additional retweets.
This, in turn, leads to follower growth and additional opportunities for your brand.
That brings us to one all-important question: How do you create a Twitter strategy that people want to engage with?
To help you answer that question for your brand, I’ve put together seven hacks that have been proven to help other brands increase their follower lists and boost engagement. These will help you beat the Twitter algorithm and grow your digital presence.
And first on the list is an idea that will help you build good posting habits from the start.
In late 2018, I ran a test on my Twitter posting habits to see if there was any correlation between how much I posted and how much engagement I got.
The results gave a compelling case that posting consistently is the best place for any brand to start.
During one week, I posted just once per day and gained only 749 visitors from my Twitter traffic for the whole week.
Then the next week, I posted 40 times per day.
Want to know how much more traffic I got? I averaged 5,623 visitors for the whole week when I posted more.
That means there’s one basic, true principle about posting on Twitter for engagement.
You have to post multiple times per day each day if you want to see results. 78% of B2C brands depend on user-generated content, which highlights the fact that more content = more engagement – and Twitter is an easy place to scale your engagement efforts.
And I’m not the only one who’s seen those results.
This incredibly popular infographic from Coschedule recommends that brands post at least 15 times each day on their Twitter account.
They pulled this data from 14 different studies that all recommend posting multiple times per day.
And as you’ll notice, they also recommend posting at all times of day, even when you think no one could possibly be interested.
This helps you potentially engage with every facet of your audience, including potential international followers.
They also recommend you retweet others’ content or share a curated post seven times each day.
You might look at this and think:
“How am I going to post at 2:00 AM every day? I need sleep.”
And you would be right. No one can maintain a posting schedule like this without the help of social media automation.
That’s why I recommend looking into a service like Agorapulse to help take the stress out of establishing a steady posting schedule.
Their platform makes it easy to create and preview your post before you post it.
Then you can opt to schedule your tweet once or multiple times.
This will allow you to quickly schedule your posts and create a more hands-off approach to your growth.
One brand even reported that it saved them hours of time when trying to schedule their Twitter posts.
Just make sure that you’re not using a strategy that Twitter considers spam, as recent updates have sought to penalise brands that frequently publish repeat content across multiple accounts.
As long as you create and share unique, well-written content on your Twitter account, you’ll be able to take advantage of increased engagement.
When trying to build up your followers on Twitter, it’s easy to get discouraged when you don’t see fast results.
While it’s generally never advisable to look for fast results on any digital marketing effort, paying for strategic advertisements could provide a shorter path to success.
And Twitter ads have seen some pretty impressive successes over the years.
For example, watch brand MVMT used Twitter ads in an effort that ultimately boosted their Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales by 353% over their daily average.
So while success will vary from brand to brand, using Twitter ads to boost engagement can yield some wildly positive results.
When you dig a little deeper into Twitter’s advertising platform, you’ll find that there are actually three different ways you can “pay-to-play” on Twitter:
The first option is by far what most users will notice, as it shows up directly in their feed in the form of a promoted tweet.
This particular promoted tweet was on my feed recently, even though it’s four months old at least:
This has the immediate benefit of extending the lifespan of your highest performing posts.
Plus, I don’t follow this particular brand, which means they’re tapping into more than just their follower list for engagement.
If you get a lot of traffic off of a particular post, you can pay to promote it instead of simply reposting it at another time.
You’re guaranteed to show up in the news feeds of both your followers and users who don’t follow you.
And since you don’t lose your retweet or like count, you’ve got a healthy amount of social proof that encourages others to engage with your post as well.
The second option available to you is a promoted account, which is a little more subtle and more oriented toward building your follower list.
As you can see, this is encouraging me to follow an account based on other on-site behaviours.
At the very top of the list is a promoted account that’s aiming to win a follower.
If this brand weren’t promoting the account, there’s a good chance they’d be much further down the list.
And finally, you can also create a promoted trend to help boost conversation around your brand:
This lets you pay to include your hashtag in the Trends box that every user sees on their Twitter news feed:
This is the shortlist of what Twitter users are actually talking about at any given time. By including your brand on this list, Twitter is placing you with other talked-about topics and brands.
And when used properly, it can let you steal the show like Huawei did when they promoted a trend in the run-up to the GSMA Mobile Conference.
With more than 11 million impressions, their trend netted them 231,000 viewers for their live broadcast at the conference.
However you choose to use Twitter’s advertising platform, the results can help you gain new followers and show off your brand like never before.
Just make sure that you’re creating fresh content, according to advice from Wordstream CEO Larry Kim.
When he simply reposted old content, he noticed that engagement levels dropped significantly over the next few days.
That means it’s probably a better idea to promote your freshest content.
You’ll get more engagement and start better conversations when it looks like your content is fresher.
He also recommends being as specific as possible with any targeting you choose to employ.
The more attuned your potential audience is to your brand, the higher your chances are of actually engaging.
At the end of the day, promoting your brand with Twitter advertising can help you hack the algorithm and keep your brand in front of thousands of new users on a daily basis.
There’s no shortage of Twitter brands that have strong personalities.
For example, the Moon Pie account is well known for tongue-in-cheek posts and borderline snarky comebacks that have made them Internet famous.
Here are some of their more recent, tamer posts:
While it might be tempting to imitate some of the successful brands that have employed these less traditional tactics, that might not be a good idea.
A recent study by SproutSocial has shown beyond any doubt that these brands are largely the outliers.
Only one-third of consumers want to see a brand that’s snarky with their audience.
While it’s certainly possible to tap into that niche and see success, why would you purposefully limit your audience like that?
With 53% of Twitter users expecting a brand to reply within one hour, present your brand as quick, honest, friendly, and helpful. By doing so you’ll be in a much better position to increase your engagement.
One brand was able to quickly gain over 400 unique leads by transitioning their brand message to a positive and nurturing tone.
Your goal is to connect with people. That means genuine conversation from a genuine brand. So instead of snark, reply with positivity and sincerity like this example shown by Starbucks:
Users will want to talk to you on Twitter if they’re not afraid of having their head bitten off.
If people are afraid to raise concerns or talk, then you’re failing to provide the best user experience possible. Find your brand’s unique tone and writing style, and don’t waver from it.
Social media is no stranger to video marketing strategies these days.
More than ever, it’s important to engage your audience with impactful and unique videos.
But how does video on Twitter help you hack the algorithm and win new followers and more retweets?
According to an infographic published by Adweek, there are plenty of good reasons to start using video today.
This is a pretty dense image, so let’s break it down some.
First and foremost, it’s vital to understand that users come to Twitter to discover new information.
They look for breaking news, new information, and viral content that they haven’t seen before.
And according to the study above, the average Twitter user is six times more likely to retweet a video than a photo.
That means you have a much greater potential for engagement that gives you the result you’re looking for when you opt to share a video.
And if you can create a video that sets up and solves a problem, you’ll be more likely to have your video watched to completion.
All of this helps you engage and grow your Twitter audience while taking full advantage of the Twitter algorithm.
And there are also some best practices that you can immediately implement in your next video:
Elements like branding are vital, and including people in your video is a proven way to keep viewers interested in what you have to say.
In the case of Old Spice’s Brazilian account, they were able to achieve over 3.2 million views on a video despite only having a little over 7,000 followers.
That means that no matter how small your brand is, you can achieve great things with one simple video. And the great thing is that you don’t even have to have a huge budget to do it successfully.
You can start using a video editor and other resources already available to you to create impactful and engaging videos that will help you hack the Twitter algorithm today.
One of the not-so-hidden secrets of Twitter is that it can actually help your SEO significantly if you know what to do. Whether you learn how to start a blog or are trying to boost one of your service pages, social engagement can help SEO.
By using Twitter correctly, you can increase your SEO by getting more backlinks, guest blogging opportunities, and higher social media authority.
And the great thing is that the very thing helping your SEO is also going to help you improve your engagement on Twitter.
Statistics have shown that if you want to get retweeted or engaged with, you have to include hashtags when you can.
Including a hashtag will potentially double your engagement, and could even help build a trend around your brand.
But how does all of this work?
Hashtags are tools used by Twitter and other social media platforms to help create directories of similar content.
If you were to look at the hashtag trend #gobolts that’s centred around the Tampa Bay hockey team, you would see every tweet with that hashtag in reverse chronological order.
So if a brand in Tampa, Florida wants to improve its local audience, they could use the #gobolts hashtag to make sure that they get included in this directory.
Then, when a user wants to see who all is tweeting about the Lightning, they may see the local brand and decide to engage to a greater degree.
And since 2013, Google has also allowed users to search for hashtags in direct search, which looks like this:
That means you’re double-dipping for engagement on both Twitter and Google when you use a hashtag properly.
It helps your SEO and your engagement, which can help you grow your follower base as time goes on.
In one instance, a group of travelling bloggers was able to reach 779,253 users just by using one hashtag.
So the more strategic you are with your hashtag, the better your engagement can be.
To take your local marketing a step further, you can generate a location QR code to make navigation easier for your customers.
If you can create a trend around your brand, you’ll be able to leverage that for more engagement and followers as time goes on.
And when it comes to Twitter, there are some serious benefits for brands that put in the effort to find micro influencers.
They can drive engagement on your Twitter account by as much as 60%.
Plus, they’re very cost-effective and boost conversation around your brand with little effort on your part.
It’s the ultimate algorithm hack that gets you on more news feeds without having to create a massive audience.
These influencers are trusted sources with loyal followings that you can use to advocate your brand.
By creating the right connections and perfecting cold email outreach to influencers, you can start a social buzz around your brand that will increase your follower list and potentially even lead to more sales.
And the best way to start this process is by finding brand-relevant micro-influencers using a service like Klear.
Klear lets you find influencers on any platform and for a wide variety of topics. You can then reach out based on their fit for your brand.
Sorting by Twitter and inputting your own industry or brand will give you a list of potential influencers with just a few clicks.
Or, if you want to do the searching yourself, you can start by searching for a hashtag relevant to your industry:
In the results page, you’ll see an option to “view all” accounts that are related to your search.
From here, you’ll see a list of relevant accounts that you can potentially use as influencers for your brand:
You’ll have to click on each option manually to see how active they are and how many followers they have, but you’ll be able to find some this way.
Once you’ve determined who could make a good influencer, reach out by tweeting to them:
Or, if they’ve opted in, you can send them a direct message that will appear in their inbox.
This option is more private and means you won’t potentially risk getting rejected in public.
In the case of Mencap, they decided to use an influencer campaign to help spread awareness of their cause and spread a positive message toward individuals with learning disabilities.
Altogether, these influencers gained more than 21,000 engagements and helped push Mencap’s follower count to more than 10 million.
By partnering with the right influencers, they grew their follower count and spread awareness of a great cause.
Just remember that if an account does promote you, you’re required to disclose your relationship.
As long as you play by Twitter’s rules, using influencers is a great content strategy that can help you hack your way to more engagement and followers.
Twitter is a unique platform that can help brands engage directly with their audience instantaneously.
Even with changes in recent years to the Twitter algorithm, it’s still possible to see solid engagement rates and grow your brand.
Start by creating a consistent tweeting schedule.
Posting frequently each day has been proven to drive engagement as long as you’re not spamming the same post on multiple accounts.
You can also utilise Twitter’s various promoted options to keep your brand at the top of users’ news feeds and drive engagement.
As long as you use a tone that’s helpful, trustworthy, and unique, you can tap into the larger Twitter audience and see good results.
And if you couple all of these strategies with engaging video, you’ll see more retweets and a growing follower list.
It’s also recommended to use hashtags to help your brand stay involved in whatever’s trending, or to possibly even create a trend.
And finally, if you use influencers correctly, you can tap into new audiences that will help boost your engagement and your revenue with proper messaging.
However, if your brand uses Twitter, it’s possible to position yourself so that you have a loyal following that wants to engage with you on a daily basis.
By following the hacks in this post, you’ll be one step closer to building a digital presence that your competition will envy.
What Twitter hacks have worked for your business?
With over 500,000 monthly readers, Adam Enfroy's mission is to teach the next generation of online entrepreneurs how to scale their influence at startup speed. He's been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, and over 100 marketing publications. You can read his guide about how to start a blog to learn the tactics he used to turn his blog into a seven-figure business in under 2 years.