How we took Scroll’s Twitter account from 0 to 1,000+ followers

For most people joining Twitter, it can feel a bit of an anti-climax at the start. You sign up, you follow people, you learn, you laugh, and then when you muster the confidence to tweet something, it’s followed by…nothing. No retweets. No comments. No new followers. Pure tumbleweed.

This is the case for all but the biggest brands and celebrities. It was certainly the case with our Twitter account, @ScrollUK. But by plugging away, studying the analytics and trying some different things, we’ve managed to get to 1,200 followers and a healthy level of engagement.

(Bog) standards

I started working on the Scroll account in May 2016. I’d previously run @wwwfoecouk (Friends of the Earth) and @UKCivilService and I wanted to bring the high standards and consistency of those accounts to @ScrollUK.

That means there’s a minimum of 5 scheduled tweets a day during the week and 3 per day on the weekends. All the tweets contain images and there will be a tweet at the times our audience are likely to be looking at Twitter – during the morning and evening commute times and at lunchtime.

Finding content to tweet

The next challenge was the biggest job of them all – finding quality content to share. Fellow Scrollies (as Scroll’s team of content gurus are affectionately known) post regular blogs both here and elsewhere but this still leaves substantial space to be filled. Thankfully I can rely on other colleagues to flag up the good stuff.

@CopyContentCo ‏puts together a fortnightly Scroll newsletter of the latest news, research and thinking in content strategy and design which is an absolute goldmine. You can sign up for the newsletter here.

Our Chief Knowledge Officer @rahelab is another excellent source as she spots, shares and comments on new developments in content strategy. I’d really recommend following Rahel if you want to get it straight from the horse’s mouth.

And by following some of the other big movers and shakers in the areas of content design and strategy, I see what they share and what might be of interest to our followers.

What’s worked best

The next step is making sure that your carefully curated content gets in front of as many of your desired audience as possible. One way that we’ve successfully achieved this is by encouraging others to share.

This Tweet was shared by one of the aforementioned movers and shakers, meaning that many of her 400k followers got to see and engage with the tweet.

This also had a positive effect on one of the other ways to ensure your tweets are widely seen – increasing your follower numbers. Scroll picked up new followers as a result of that tweet and I’ve tried some other tactics to attract new followers over the last year.

Using hashtags

Hashtags have proven really helpful for this, particularly offering useful and relevant content when events or Twitter chats are happening. So, if there’s a big conference that our desired audience is likely to be attending, I’ll find out the hashtag, check out the schedule and tweet things that will interest people who are there and/or following the hashtag.

What I wish we’d done sooner

The single biggest thing that’s made a difference to follower numbers was changing the @ScrollUK bio to include hashtags that describe what we do. While there was nothing wrong with the old bio, the addition of hashtags has made it easier to find us and has seen a doubling in the rate at which people follow the account.

Do you follow?

All of these tactics have resulted in solid growth for the account and lots of learnings to take forward. Over the coming year I’m hoping to build on this by handing the account over to some of our many experts to play a more active role in content-related Twitter chats and possibly hosting some of our own.

If you have any questions or suggestions about the approach we’re taking then don’t hesitate to ask us, on Twitter of course! And that starts with following the @ScrollUK account and saying hello. No tumbleweed – guaranteed.