Twitter users tend to either "whisper" secrets to their followers or use the platform as a bullhorn to "shout" public information, Patrick Sweeney writes. Both approaches have their advantages: Shouting is a way to win followers, as long as you're shouting about something interesting, while whispering can be a good way to build and sustain engagement.
The average Twitter user posts content about themselves in more than 40% of their tweets, say researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan. That's understandable but ineffective: Outward-facing, informational tweets were about 30 times more effective at building a following, the researchers found. "So go forth and tweet, but remember: Be positive, and avoid the navel-gazing," Matt Palmquist writes.
Finding ways to engage your fan base is the key to building buzz on Twitter -- and that means doing more than just dumping content from your blog or website onto your Twitter feed, writes Nicki Escudero. "Don't just copy and paste links ... make sure you're responding to Tweets, retweeting interesting content and sharing your own engaging content that encourages discussion," she advises.
Social media marketers tend to be more inclined toward glibness and superficiality than to meaningful engagement, argues Jay Dolan. Marketers need to work to educate and assist their followers rather than working to entertain them, Dolan writes. "We have a responsibility to help protect and advocate for our users. Don't let them down," he writes.
Statistical analysis of Twitter users shows that users who tweet about themselves are less successful than those who engage with their community, writes social-media analyst Dan Zarrella. Users who referred to themselves with words such as "I" or "me" tended to have fewer followers than people who tweeted using inclusive language such as "you" or "we," Zarrella found.