Beating the Algorithms on Twitter

How Our Twitter Page Went Viral

Unlike the other social media channels, Twitter is a fast-moving platform with users being recommended to post up to 10 times per day to keep up with the fast-paced newsfeeds of over 335 million monthly active users. More than 48% of users log in to Twitter every day to share short snippets (280 characters) from their life or their business.

Journalists, politicians and celebrities all frequently use it too. This means that Twitter is often the place to find trending news and it has a strong emphasis on real-time information — things that are happening right now.

Twitter was the first network to introduce #hashtags and @handles for users to find certain people and information to connect with each other. It’s thought of as the most conversational of platforms.

Beating the Algorithms

There are three ways your tweets are promoted on the newsfeed: the ranked and most relevant tweets, the ‘in case you missed it’ tweets and the remaining tweets in reverse chronological order of the most recent. The difference with Twitter compared to other channels is that you can choose whether you view the ‘best’ tweets or tweets as they happen. Therefore, to get the best out of the Twitter algorithm, timing is crucial; if your tweet gets engagement quickly then it will be pushed up the rankings and is likely to be seen by more people.

It is also important to find out when the best time to post on Twitter is through researching for your particular industry. Once you’ve established the best times to post, you can use scheduling tools such as TweetDeck to ensure you don’t miss a moment.

What you may not realise is that your tweets will be served to a small group of users first before being delivered to all your followers in order to measure engagement (almost like a mini test group). Your engagements are your likes, replies, retweets and profile clicks etc. This became most apparent when we created a post asking bloggers to get in touch, and once the engagement started increasing and gained more traction the tweet was pushed higher up people’s newsfeeds and it pretty much went viral!

Also, dependant on your number of followers your tweets will be prioritised accordingly, such as celebrities, journalists and news sites.

Starting a Conversation

Starting a conversation and engaging with users will increase your overall engagement. Of course, it takes time to reply to messages and ask questions but it is a great way to find new business opportunities and engage with your current clients or customers. Research also showed that people don’t want to be sold to on Twitter and that you should ask questions and run polls rather than just throwing out salesy tweets.

We focused on asking our audience questions and starting conversations which resulted in our total replies for the month of January being over 1,300 compared to December where we only had 28 total replies over the month! For example, the tweet below asked users to choose which front cover of our new book they preferred which started a conversation and had a total of 489 engagements:


The Correct Hashtags

Tweets with hashtags get over 12% more engagements than their hashtag-less counterparts according to recent data which is a great way to get your content seen by new eyes.

To find the right hashtags for your business you need to do some research. Look at what your competitors are using, your industry’s hashtags and if you have influencers in your industry, see what hashtags they’re using too.

For one of our tweets, which we shared across all platforms, we put out a request for bloggers to get in touch with the team for upcoming projects. By using hashtags we knew bloggers use such as #bloggerrequest the tweet gained 6,536 engagements! This is the highest number of engagements we have ever received on our twitter platform. By asking ‘are you a blogger or know a great one’ it opened up conversation for users to tag in their friends. The more people were being tagged, the higher the tweet got pushed up in people’s newsfeeds and the more responses we were getting. Even days later the tweet was still receiving replies and likes! The tweet had 246,520 impressions (impressions are the number of times a tweet has been delivered to an account's newsfeed) which considering we have just over 3,000 followers was incredible. What is surprising is that this post did not perform anywhere near as well on the other SBPR channels.  


You can also see what hashtags are trending on your newsfeed and if you have something to contribute to the conversation, get involved!

Tapping in to trending hashtags is also beneficial for getting your tweets in front of a large audience quickly. Throughout January we used hashtags such as #Veganuary and #DryJanuary as we saw they were trending, and businesses and brands were talking about them. We tied this in with some of our clients such as Jimmy’s Iced Coffee for their vegan-friendly Oat Latte and Conker Gin for an alternative cocktail if you have fallen off the Dry January wagon. By combining trending hashtags and tagging in our clients, these posts became some of our best performing of the month.

Twitter Chats

From looking at ways to increase engagement we found that ‘Twitter Chats’ can be a good way to engage with other users. A Twitter Chat is a live discussion focused around a general topic. They are scheduled at a certain time and a hashtag is used for people to take part in the discussion. Although these may work for other businesses it was difficult to find a relevant chat for our industry. We took part in #DorsetHour which is every Monday at 7:30 – 8:30pm where local Dorset businesses can talk about their business in a friendly conversation! We used #DorsetHour to get in touch with other businesses and shared news about our upcoming PR courses. One account was looking for Instagram followers, so we supported them and followed their Instagram account which also resulted in a follow back. A small step in relationship building a great conversation starter.

Worth a try if you’re local!


Everybody loves to win! We created competitions across all our channels for our PR courses to see if this would increase engagement. By asking people to respond and tell us why they deserve a place it encouraged people to interact and resulted in 61 engagements, an engagement rate of 2.4%, which is great compared to the average Twitter engagement rate which is 0.7%.



Polls are amazing as they require little effort from users, and the voters feel like they are inputting something useful or sharing their point of view. Voters also have to place a vote before seeing the result, which encourages them even more to get involved. Here is an example which had 18 votes, 6 likes, 1,044 impressions and an engagement rate of 3.1% which is great in comparison to the number of impressions it gained.



When looking at how to increase followers, most of us know that by following and unfollowing other users you will gain more followers. Following and engaging with other tweets and profiles also attracts followers. We made sure to follow and unfollow 50 users a day which resulted in 593 new followers over January which was a 735% increase from December.

An Inviting Profile

Having an inviting profile is important for Twitter users when they land on your profile. For this reason, we updated our header image to an eye catching bold and bright image with our logo, our faces and lots of smiling! This is how we want businesses to see us. We also put up a poll asking our followers what they thought about our new header, again engaging in conversations with them.


Retweeting Yourself

As the Twitter newsfeed moves fast it’s easy for your tweets to get lost. For this reason, you can retweet your own tweets to make them appear on people’s newsfeed again for a chance for it to be seen by more users. You can also boost engagement by retweeting your older posts that have already performed well or by re-purposing tweets that had high engagement the first-time round.


GIFs are great for showing your personality. People like to see real tweets and humorous ones which are shareable and likeable! People responded to our fun Friday GIFs with other humorous GIFs. If your business is okay with posting light-hearten fun content, then GIFs could be a great addition for your feed and showing your personality!



Overall it’s clear to see that Twitter is the platform for starting conversations, sharing your opinion and talking to people and businesses. It requires a lot of time and effort to use it correctly but there are tools to help you such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite which can make your life easier

Our engagement rate increased from 0.9% in December to 1.5% in January, link clicks from 93 to 212, retweets from 43 to 341, likes from 161 to 1.9k and replies from just 28 to 1.3k. We had 358,000 impressions (728% increase) and 8,782 profile visits (276% increase).

It’s simple to extend your reach by using the correct hashtags and mentions and tapping in to current trending hashtags to get involved and start a conversation. Many brands and influencers aren’t using Twitter to its full potential and they can underestimate the value of a simple tweet.

Even if you are using Twitter religiously, sharing valuable content and engaging with your favourite brands and influencers, of course there is no guarantee of success in social network and it requires a lot of trial and error to see what works for you and your business.

The bottom line is that you will need to play around with your Twitter account and watch your analytics (, in order to figure out how often you should post and at what time of day. Use this information, such as engagement rates on tweets, to find out which ones worked well so you can plan your next week or months posts.

We hope these tips can help you to improve your Twitter profile, if you would like to find out how the team can help you grow your Twitter channel organically by 100% get in touch on 01202 293095 or email and remember, Twitter is a conversation, Be sure to make your mark and start talking.