How Do Brands Get Millions Of Followers? Tweet More

Many brands keep a pretty tight lip on Twitter. So it may be a surprise that one of the most talkative brands on the platform also boasts the biggest following.

@WholeFoods has amassed more than 3 million followers on Twitter. Other than celebrities and media, no other brand can claim the feat.

So how’d the grocer do it?

By tweeting constantly. While other brands may utter a demure 2-3 tweets per day, Whole Foods fired out 16 tweets per day on average–not including @replies–over a two-month period. (This according to Percolate analysis* of public data; Whole Foods is not a client, only an object of our admiration.)

Brands are already responding to ornery customers or prospects on Twitter but, otherwise, remain relatively shy. While the sky’s the limit for soothing replies to upset customers or high-fives for those that mention the brand, tweeting original, useful or interesting bits is a rarer occasion.

The thinking goes: if a brand speaks too often, maybe those coveted followers will remember they’re following a brand in the first place and jump ship. Nevermind that Twitter feeds flow so quickly that it’s unlikely any follower logged in for an hour or two at a time will see more than one tweet from the brand that day.

Regardless of brand norms on Twitter, it’s refreshing that @WholeFoods illustrates just the opposite. Tweet and tweet a lot about interesting things relevant to the brand – recipes, in this case – and followers will keep following and often amplify that message.

Through Twitter, the market publishes recipes, questions, events and links to its blog by the dozen, sometime spewing more than 40 tweets per day. Followers do not run away screaming. Instead, the more the brand tweets, the more retweets it racks up.

For @WholeFoods, there is a linear relationship between the volume of tweets per day and engagement. The higher the volume of tweet per day, the higher the volume of retweets. While there’s no penalty for tweeting more, there does appear to be a sweet spot: When @WholeFoods tweets between 10-16 times in day, RTs have the potential to through the roof.

With that look into one of most successful brands in social media, get tweeting. If engagement is the holy grail in social, a simple fix may simply be to post more.

Do you agree?

*Thanks to Erik Dies for crunching the numbers. We looked at @WholeFoods activity for 65 days from July to September 2012.

Kunur Patel is a brand strategist for Percolate. She used to cover mobile, technology and marketing for AdAge. You can follow her @kunur.
(Follow image from Shutterstock)