In Get Instant Content Ideas to Kickstart Your Twitter Account, I suggested a few simple tunes to help jumpstart your Twitter account. Often with a new tool it’s difficult to get the brain in gear to grasp all the possibilities it has to offer.

Since there are so many different topics and styles you could consider for promoting your expertise, business and products, here are more examples of the content types that draw out engagement from followers. Note that some types of tweets serve more to round out your overall impression to followers on Twitter than to garner their reactions.

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Ask Questions

(“Does anyone have difficulty with…?” or “Do you know how to…?” or “Where can I find….?”)

Asking questions is a great method to engage followers. Tricky part is doing it well so you receive several responses. You may wish to use a hashtag to tie together a series of comments in many tweets.

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Create “Top Stories Today!”

Is a common attention grabber (usually originating via

This content is created for you by an aggregator like Your customized e-newspaper is published by choosing the content you wish to follow. Then you can tweet about your daily edition online. Pam curates new blog material from many Tweeters and highlights them for others by referring to them as “Top stories today via @….”

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Tell a great story!

Is this example silly? Yes. Does it paint an unusual picture not ordinarily seen in a Twitter stream? Yes! The fun use of language variations draws in the viewer. Your story doesn’t have to be in the ‘voice’ of a furry, long pet, but a unique voice does make it stand out in the Twitter stream.

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Run a contest and/or promote someone else’s

In this tweet, Fast Company is promoting someone else’s competition and awards program. Use contests and competitions to build followers through retweets.

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Issue an invitation; announce an innovation or new product release

Once programmed for automation, you can run your invitation (with varied language) for weeks on end. Be careful not to put off your audience with too much repetition. Reword and revise!

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Create running commentary

(like radio play-by-play)! Create a long series of tweets (which may work well for the upcoming Olympics). I’ve no example to plug in here, but I’ve seen marvelous 140 character bytes capturing sports events and even CSPAN debates and hearings.

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Quote a favorite

Pick the type(s) of quote(s) that best represent your brand (inspiration, business, leadership, tips, humor). Keep it fresh by varying the mood:

While considered by some to be ‘junk’ tweets, many LOVE reading fun, inspiring, humorous and sage quotes from famous people. They also are great candidates for retweeting if a Follower particularly likes one.

Inspiration and guru advice gets heavy traffic. Choose wisely if tweets contain religious references. (This rule also applies to retweeting political opinions!)

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Publish photos

(to Instagram and to Twitter); ask followers to identify the location

Of course you can’t actually post a photo to Twitter, but you can tweet about its content along with a link to the image. I often run these in brackets to set it apart visually (“

[Pinterest]”) from all the other tweets in the stream.

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Report in the moment

This recommendation has a caveat: No one is interested about the sandwich you’re eating. However, followers (if interested in the same topics) may like to know:

  • Current wine you’re drinking; ask for new wine recommendations
  • What are your currently reading (books) recommendations; ask for others’ recommendations
  • Where you just arrived: Make geo-location announcements (Foursquare)

In Alder’s tweet he’s projecting his personality, a note about his schedule and encouragement while participating in the hashtag event (Hospice du Rhone 2012).

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Use the gimmicks

to reach out to followers (#FF – Follow Friday, #WW – Wine/Wedding Wednesday, #TT – Thirsty Thursday/Travel Tuesday, etc.)

Many consider the #FF (Follow Friday) hashtag to be a hollow/shallow way of building new followers. Essentially Sara is making a list of followers she likes and sending them out for others who don’t follow them to check out. It’s up to her followers to see if they want to check out these new tweeters they’re unfamiliar with. But as you can see, you don’t know anything about them. It may be a complete waste of time. On the other hand, with several names consolidated together, it’s easy to check them all to see if their topics appeal to you.

On a personal note, I see Sara’s tweets often ganged together with upwards of 4-6 #FF tweets of names in a row. The names lose value when so many are presented at once. I consider this technique on the border of spamming.

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Promote your own products or sales

Martin does a great job of commenting on others’ tweets, retweeting others’ tweets and so on for 90% of the time. His offers (as above) are infrequent, but genuine. Furthermore, his business model includes giving 10% of profits to charity.

What other great content ideas have you used? Which ones attract the most new followers? Add your advice to the conversation. Comment below.