I’ve been on Twitter for over 8 years. Among all the Twitter accounts I’ve managed during that time, I’ve sent out over 200,000 tweets. Needless to say, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way for building engagement and followers.

I wanted to share one particular trick today that’s dead simple, and it will vastly improve the number of eyeballs seeing your tweets.

Let’s say you come across a tweet that you adore. Perhaps it was about your favourite hot pepper. Most people would just click the reply button to comment, and their tweet would be something like:

@hotpepper Thanks for sharing this. Those happen to be my favourite hot peppers.

Commenting on others’ tweets is a great way to engage with fellow Twitter users. However, there’s something missing in this tweet. Can you see it?

Well, take a look at what Twitter says about tweets formatted like this:

When a Tweet starts with a @username, the only users who will see it in their timeline (other than the sender and the recipient) are those who follow both the sender and the recipient.

In the example I used above, only those who follow both you and @hotpepper can see it. If you and @hotpepper have no mutual followers, then only @hotpepper will see the tweet. That may be sufficient for you, but if there’s value in your response, others may be interested in it.

So how do we get around it? Notice that Twitter begins with “When a Tweet starts with a @username”. That means that as long as the tweet starts with something other than a @username, more people can see it.

Now, you may have seen tweets formatted something like this:

.@hotpepper Thanks for sharing this. Those happen to be my favourite hot peppers.

Notice the period at the beginning of the tweet? That’s one way around the restriction. A more natural alternative, however, is to simply reword the tweet:

Thanks for sharing this, @hotpepper. Those happen to be my favourite hot peppers.

It sounds more natural, gets around the restriction, and opens up the tweet to all your own followers, thus vastly improving the number of eyeballs seeing your tweets.

Have you tried this trick in the past? How has it worked for you? Let me know in the comments below.

About Kim Siever

I am a copywriter and copyeditor. I blog on writing tips mostly, but I sometimes throw in my thoughts about running a small business. Follow me on Twitter at @hotpepper.

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