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Twitter Strategy for Devtool startups

Let me know if this sounds familiar. You click on a devtool startup's Twitter handle, and you see a series of tweets promoting their blog posts and webinars with 1-3 likes each, despite the startup having 10k followers on Twitter. Unfortunately, this is way too common.

Developer tool startups understand that Twitter is the go-to place where developers hang out and know they need to have a solid Twitter presence to take advantage of this. However, most just don't do a very good job at Twitter.

This is a practical guide on how to consistently grow your startup's Twitter account, establish yourself as a market leader in a niche, and attract developers to your product. These strategies are based on more than doubling the growth of Fig's Twitter account, from 2,000 to over 4,500 followers in 7 weeks, and growing my personal account to 36k followers.

Purpose

The first thing you should consider are what your objectives are by growing your company presence on Twitter. It’s going to be an investment in terms of time & money so it’s important to clarify this. Here are some examples:

  • Establish your startup as a market leader in the Database/Observability/React space
  • Attract more software engineers to grow your user base
  • Attract talented engineers to work at your startup

Metrics

Progress can be measured through:

  • Twitter followers
  • Engagement % per tweet
  • Impressions per tweet
  • Number of replies on tweets
  • Number of people tweeting at your startup

Brand

You need to think about the personality of your brand to make sure there’s a consistent voice in tweets. Here are some questions you can answer.

  • What words do you want people to associate with your startup?
  • Do you want the tweets to be very professional or a little more edgy/playful?
  • Is there a style guide for tweets?

Scope

Another important topic to think about is the scope of the account. Do you want to only tweet from the company account or will you be using the account to respond to support questions?

Do you want to interject yourself in conversations around a specific topic? For example, you can set up searches for keywords and respond to relevant conversations. This can also extend to other platforms like Reddit and Hackernews.

Fun fact: Tools like F5bot can be used to monitor your brand or specific keywords on hackernews and reddit.


5 Types of Tweets

Now that we’ve established your reasons for growing on twitter, measuring growth, brand personality, and defining the scope of the company account, let’s talk about what kind of tweets you need to grow.

Broadly speaking, you can classify tweets from a company account into 5 categories: funny, informational, company updates, questions, and asks. Let’s dive into each one and how often you should be using it.

1. Funny Tweets

Funny tweets are memes that relate to some sort of developer struggle. The Supabase team does a good job at doing these memes, focused on databases since that’s their focus area. Note that not all startups should do these types of tweets; it depends on your brand image, target audience, and personality.

I helped do this when I led Devrel at Fig as well, with memes focusing on the terminal.

2. Informative tweets

These are just any useful tips and tricks that make you go, “WOW, I wish I knew that 2 years ago”. These can either be standalone tweets or a tweet thread. This helps establish yourself as an expert in a certain category if you’re constantly pushing out high quality tips and advice for a niche.

In my opinion, a company blog post does not fall under this category. This is because you're asking the user to click a link to read the post, which is a favor. Add that to the fact that the Twitter algorithm does not like links and you'll realize it's better to tweet out bite-sized nuggets instead. Steve Schoger did this really well with posting bite-sized design tips to build a following and credibility, before compiling them into a book and making $2m+.

3. Company Updates

Announcing new features or company updates is great because it gives a sense of “we’re always shipping” to others and allows new users to find your product. Railway does a nice weekly changelog for this and Fig typically announces new features through 10-15 second screencasts since we found that those do well for our visual product.

4. Questions

Questions can be teasers for new features, like the one to the left, or questions for interesting discussions like the one to the right. They usually don’t do great in terms of likes but can sometimes go viral because Twitter loves to promote Tweets that get a lot of replies, especially in quick succession. May the algorithm be with you.

5. Asks

These are Tweets where you’re asking something of your audience. To check out your blog, jobs page, a podcast you were on, give you their email, ect... You should keep these tweets to a minimum. Ideally, you want to give (entertainment with funny tweets & useful information) many times before asking.


Tweeting Strategy

You should think about the different types of tweets and come up with a cadence that works well for you. A sample one could be:

We’re going to post 5 tweets a week. These will be:

  • 0% questions
  • 40% Informative tips (2 useful tweets centered around focus area per week)
  • 20% company updates (1 changelog or new feature annoucement per week)
  • 20% asks (Share 1 piece of content per week)
  • 20% memes (1 meme per week)

Idea: Schedule your tweets each week with a tool like Typefully. You can pick the time where you typically get the most engagement and you don’t have to remember to post each day.

Partnerships

Partnering with developer influencers can also be a good idea. You can partner just for promotions like giveaways or paying for engagement. Thirdweb did this for their launch tweet to the right, where they paid a bunch of influencers to quote tweet at a specific time.

I’ve seen some companies even get developer influencers as “advisors” in their company where they just put them on the cap table so the influencers are incentivized to spread the word since they’re invested in the success of the company.

Tips and Tricks

  • Ask people to follow you on Twitter when helping users 1:1 and in email drip campaigns after users have signed up. The reality is you need to drive more and more people to Twitter to grow exponentially. In addition to your tweets getting shared and growing organically, if you can funnel in even more followers from outside of Twitter from your blog, content, and emails, that’s great.
  • Exclusively only having text in your tweets is boring. Mix in images, GIFs, and screencasts where you can. Especially if you make a visual update (like adding something new to the dashboard). Look for excuses to show off how great your product looks.
  • Achievement tweets are great. We’ve reached 1000 users! We’ve reached 2000 Github stars. We’re reached 500 email newsletter subscribers! Whatever it is, it’s a good excuse to send it since it leads even more people to check it out.
  • If you have any popular angel investors, making them aware of your Twitter account (and then only posting quality content) will get them to interact with it more and potentially share some tweets.