How do you get more followers on Twitter?

For brands and individuals alike, it’s the age-old question. Like it or not, for many people size still matters on Twitter, and you’re far more likely to attract new followers if you’ve already got quite a few to your name.

So how do you convince others to get on board your Twitter-train (especially if you’re new)? Engage with influencers? Use certain hashtags? Tweet more? Tweet less?

Nope. The best thing to do is to be positive, say scientists.

C.J. Hutton and his colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta examined the tweets of 500 non-celebrities sent over a 15-month period, looking for 2,800 terms that convey positive and negative emotions, each of which was assigned a score on a sliding scale.

And the results? Folks who predominately used positive language or tweeted positive messages, wrote clearly and retweeted good content were more likely to attract new followers than those who did not.

How a user engaged with their existing followers was also a factor in how they were perceived by others.

“Twitter users who engage with their existing followers via mentions, replies and favouriting had positive follower growth, while users who mostly broadcast to no one in particular had dramatically suppressed growth rates,” says Hutto.

Users who excessively self-promoted, tweeted negative or wrote poorly (or were difficult to understand) were more likely to repel potential followers.

“When deciding whether or not to follow a virtual stranger, we found Twitter users seek out well-written over poorly written content,” says Hutto. “People rely on linguistic cues like spelling and vocabulary to compensate for the lack of traditional contextual cues available in face-to-face settings.”

(Source: New Scientist. Follow button image via Shutterstock.)