Twitter Tips From a Networking Novice

With zero budget and ambiguous goals, I decided to try to figure out how to use Twitter

In marketing, one of the primary goals is to attract attention and create interest in your products and/or services. One of the intriguing aspects of social media marketing is “earned impressions”, in which publicity is gained though promotional efforts other than paid media advertising. Therefore, earned impressions are not contingent upon an enormous budget. The popularity of content is determined by how well it connects with an audience and the value it provides.

Most of the time, I am a lurker. A lurker is a person who consumes Social Media content, but does not actively participate. Starting in 2016, I did my best to leave my lurker tendencies behind and learn how to use Twitter and build an audience.

How difficult could it be?

Getting started

I created my Twitter account in 2011 and I scarcely used it. Could I drastically increase my followers and/or create some viral content? In early 2016, it was a struggle.

Followers: Fewer than 150

The average Twitter user has 208 followers. My followers were mostly comprised of personal friends.

Total Tweets: Fewer than 300

The content of my tweets was carefully curated. A few times a week, I would share content that I thought was very strong. I mostly tweeted about my personal hobbies which include comics, cartoons and movies.

Strategy: Speak when spoken to

I rarely interacted with other users or their content.

Making progress

The first few months I saw limited progress and using Twitter felt like a chore. The turning point occurred in May 2016 when I began tweeting more frequently and worried less about making my content “polished”.

Followers: More than 2,000

Many of my followers are interested in Web Design and Digital Marketing.

Total Tweets: More than 3,000

I tweet daily about (you guessed it) Web Design and Digital Marketing.

Strategy: The kitchen sink

In my frequent tweets, I did my best to utilize all of the different ways that Twitter enables you to interact with others, such as retweets, likes, replies, lists, and hashtags. Also, I use visual and interactive elements to make my tweets more enticing, such as animated GIFs, videos, static images, and polls. Perhaps most importantly, I try to interact with other users more frequently.

Some helpful data

  • Tweet frequency: Users with fewer than 1,000 tweets usually have fewer than 100 followers. Whereas those with more than 15,000 tweets have between 100,001 to 1,000,000 followers.
  • Mobile-friendly visuals: Tweets with images received 18% more click-throughs and 78% of Twitter users view Twitter on their mobile device.

Sources: Post Planner,

Some notable tweets

After tweeting more than 3,000 times, the following tweets exemplify the lessons that I’ve learned during the past year.

➡️ Try, try again

Content that “fails” to produce engagement does not necessarily fail forever. A number of factors can cause content to gain traction instead of being overlooked.

When I tweet similar content, I see different levels of engagement depending upon…

  • The visual(s) used
  • The time of day the content is tweeted
  • The hashtag(s) used
  • The verbiage used
Both tweets discuss the same topic. However, the tweet on the right received far more engagement.

➡️ Credit where credit is due

Although I try to share my own original content, I also share great content that is created by others. Credit the content creator. They appreciate it and it helps get a conversation started.

Having some fun with @sharooon88.

➡️ Celebrity Retweet

What happens when a celebrity retweets your content? I felt extremely fortunate when filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (635,000 followers) retweeted my tweet about his animated Netflix series Trollhunters. 55,000 impressions in one day!

BTW… Trollhunters is nominated for a bunch of Daytime Emmys.

➡️ In the moment

It may seem obvious, but people want to discuss timely topics on Twitter. Twitter allows for moment-to-moment commentary, and discussing current events can produce high engagement.

Dan (right) and his greenish shirt.

@Danmumforddraws participated in a live streaming event, where he displayed his extensive illustration skills. He soon realized that the green pattern on his shirt was wreaking havoc with the green screen used during the stream. I shared a screenshot of Dan along with some friendly ribbing. Dan was kind enough to retweet me and I received increased engagements on this tweet.

At one point during the stream, Adobe invited viewers to share their work on Twitter with the hashtag #adobelive. Then, they discussed the artwork live! A few of my illustrations were among the work discussed.

My work was discussed during a session with super-talented illustrator Maite Franchi.

➡️ Quality over quantity

My former roommate @henrythurlow is working on a pilot film in Japan and I’m excited to share his work with my followers. When Henry (1,400 followers) retweets me, I receive significantly more engagements from his audience than my own (2,100 followers). Engaged followers are more important than quantity of followers!

Henry’s finished in-between animation for the pilot film.

➡️ Expressing Yourself

As a lurker, it can feel a bit daunting to express my opinion about a polarizing topic. However, I have found that when I chime in about issues that I am passionate about, I get a lot of engagement and enjoy the conversation with (mostly) polite users.

For example, @RenaeDeLiz tweeted a sketch that discussed the objectification of female characters featured in comic books. I replied with a similar observation about the portrayal of women in film and provided visual evidence.

Female action heroes posed in the arch n’ twist gesture.

Make your voice heard! Of course, be considerate of others and ignore the trolls.

Moving forward

I am glad that I took the time to gain a better understanding of Twitter and the capabilities that it offers. I have expanded my network and I have participated in a few meaningful interactions with other Twitter users. However, I found that I learned the most when I was working toward a more specific Marketing goal. Check out this case study for more!