Improve your Twitter Strategy: The Ninja’s “How to better promote your content on Twitter” Guide. Part 1

Twitter is an important professional networking platform for the Digital Humanities. But it’s not exactly self-evident how to make it work in your favour. As some of you might remember, I did a Twitter Engagement Experiment at some time in autumn last year. Now I wanted to share my most important learnings, so you can make your Twitter presence more effective with just as little work as you want to put in. I will start with the basics and common advice you can find online in this first post and then add some more info and reflection on my personal experiment in the next one.

Actually, this was all just meant to be one post but it got so crazy long that I decided to make it into a series of digestible short posts. This first one will start with the very Twitter basics and why you might want to start your own “Twitter Engagement” experiment.

Am I back to a weekly posting schedule? I think I might be… more or less. Stay tuned for part two of this post which got too long to be just one post 😉

The Basics: How Twitter Engagement works

Socia Media’s goal is to get as much of your attention, i.e. keep you on the platform as long as possible and see as many ads as possible. Thus, there are certain metrics which those sites will use to monitor and measure how “hooked you are”, which posts are “interesting” or cause engagement. Twitter counts many things into this “interest rating”: I think retweets, comments, likes, etc.

By interacting, you expose a tweet more, obviously. That’s good to know if you want to promote your content. But this is also is why you might want to refrain from interacting with negative stuff (trolls etc). By interacting with it, you’re just giving the negative content more attention (and thus more exposure!) and that’s what the trolls want!

So maybe think about refraining from posting that you don’t agree or expressing dislike, if it’s not unavoidable or other people have already made the general discontent with the content sufficiently clear. Twitter is kind of (in)famous for its heated arguments because it pushes controverisal and emotional content many people react strongly to.

What we can take away from that for our own personal (innocent and well-meaning) promotion of (often seemingly boring) research content, is that making it a bit more emotional, engaging and “remarkable” (so that people want to remark on it) helps. This can mean starting your tweet with a relatable quote or question, or starting with how other can profit from what you’re about to say (making it about them and their needs) to get seen.

But after this rambly intro, let’s dive into the common advice I found online that I think everybody should be aware of (if they want to make their Twitter more effective).

Twitter Growth/Strategy advice gathered from the internet which I mostly tried out

1) Do an engagement experiment to understand your followers better.

What are they expecting from your account? What is it they value? Do you give them that? Do you share too much material they’re not interested in or maybe do you share your materials to a big audience which isn’t interested in your material, thus not engaging and thus telling Twitter that your content is not interesting? I am guilty of this because I used to include the #100DaysofCode hashtag which seemed to work in the beginning since it exposed my Tweets (and thus my blog posts) to many people because there are so many #100DaysofCode retweet bots. But the ratio of people who saw my post versus how many actually engaged gets worse when too many people are shown the post who actually don’t care. My engagement has increased a lot (maybe because Twitter is showing my supposedly interesting posts to more people now?) since I stopped tweeting at outlets which are very big and probably not really my audience. To check which of your content is popular (and thus you might want to make more of that), look at your Twitter Analytics page. Look at the popular tweets. The reasons for the popularity of a Tweet can be manifold: better tweet structure, content your audience likes, retweeted by famous person, etc.

2) Know the purpose of your Twitter experiment.

What is the goal you want to reach? Do you want just more followers or do you want “real fans”? In my case, I just wanted more engagement with my already existing community. Before, I had often heard in real life that people were following my blog but were engaging with my content neither in the comments here on the blog nor on Twitter. I felt a bit confused as to how people even found my material and whehter people see posts by me regularly (which I both asked in a poll, see embedded tweets in the Part 5/6 posts). The primary goal of my engagement experiment was to get more engagement, not only because it makes my content visible to more people (after all, carefully curating this blog with hopefully quality content is a lot of work and without engagement, it’s hard to tell whether people like it or whether they would like more of certain topics, less of others etc) but also because I have many critical posts and found it somewhat pointless when nobody discussed my theories with me (which was partly the point of the blog!). And also, it’s like talking to a wall. I’m ok with that most of the time (whatever that says about my personality) but after more than a year of doing so, now even 2 years, I just thought it was time for some more interaction 😉

3) Figure out what value you contribute: Why should people follow you?

Formulate this in a quick and catchy sentence in as few words as possible.


So this is it for now. Stay tuned for the next post where I dive into other tips and also later on my own experiences in a Twitter Engagement experiment in October/November 2020.


the Ninja

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  9. Oh by the way, I don’t actually know her or get anything for promoting her content. I just really liked it.

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Other posts in The Ninja’s “How to better promote your content on Twitter” Guide

  1. Improve your Twitter Strategy: The Ninja’s “How to better promote your content on Twitter” Guide. Part 1
  2. Retweet Bots and Hashtags: The Ninja’s “How to better promote your content on Twitter” Guide. Part 2
  3. Bio Engineering, Tweet Structure or How to lure your audience: The Ninja’s “How to better promote your content on Twitter” Guide. Part 3
  4. Long-Term Twitter Strategizing: The Ninja’s “How to better promote your content on Twitter” Guide. Part 4

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