There probably is, at least, a few causes to low reach on Twitter. Many of us have hundreds, or even thousands of followers, and we wonder why our reach is in the single digit percentages. Posting a new tweet yields just a few likes and re-tweets, or worse, no reaction at all.
A lack of re-tweets and reactions does not necessarily indicate that twitter is limiting your reach, and the whole idea of "shadow banning" certain conservative accounts just seem highly unlikely to me. After all, there is plenty of accounts, both conservative and liberal, that post controversial content, and nothing seems to be wrong with their reach.
When we consider likely causes for limited reach, we should also keep in mind the stats of the people that are following us. The fact that we are experiencing limited reach does not necessarily mean that the accounts are fake, or even that people are not interested in our content. But, as I mentioned, we should also look at the stats of accounts following us. Is there a tendency among our audience to mass-follow random twitter accounts, and what about the almost traditional practice of following back everyone who follows you?
In this age of social media everyone seems so obsessed about growing their numbers, that they forget about working on their connections. Few or no real connections will just result in little engagement on content.
Pleasing the algorithms
From a growth perspective, and perhaps mathematically, this makes sense. But, not so much when algorithms come into play. If fewer people engage with your content, it makes sense if an aggressive anti-spam algorithm decides to limit the reach of said content. I am not saying that is what actually happens in the field, but I can totally see why it would make sense for social media sites to employ such an algoritm.
However, things are not so straight forward out in the field. It is very easy to speculate about possible reasons for low reach, or even so called "shadow banning". But, it is hard to tell in practice what is causing a restrained reach. People who care less about facts might be tempted to conclude they are being shadow banned, which is probably the least likely of causes for such perceived limitations in reach.
I have seen plenty of evidence that there are things you can do to please the algorithms. This is particularly true on YouTube, but might also be transferable to other social networking sites. For example, this cool guy I have been following for a while, Derral Eves, has shown how you can improve organic reach on YouTube simply by doing simple things, such as making thumbnails and adding accurate and good descriptions to your YouTube videos. I recommend you check out his content and website: derraleves.com if you are interested in growing your YouTube channel, as he has far more experience with YouTube than I have myself.
When it comes to social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it is well known that images and videos tend to get better reach and engagement—and posting videos and images on Facebook does seem to reach more people. Perhaps simply because visual content gets more likes and re-shares. Not necessarily because it will be unfairly boosted by the social media sites compared with plain text content—although that might actually be the case with video on Facebook.
Finally, posting anything that takes users off the social media site, such as links to blog articles, might actually be harmful for your reach—something I personally think is a bit unfair to creators who rely more on their own websites for revenue generation. Nevertheless, social media relies on people spending time on their sites to generate revenue, so they may have an interest in unfairly limiting reach of shared links.
Causes for perceived low reach on Twitter
As I mentioned in the previous section, we should also pay close attention to the stats of the people that are following us. For example, a large part of our followers might be following thousands of other accounts—what do you think this means for our organic reach? Unless the account owners has subscribed to notifications, they will be much less likely to see any of our content in their news feed!
However, from a growth perspective, this does not mean that these followers are any less important. For example, Beamtic's (@beamtic) twitter account still gets far more views than my personal account does, so more followers clearly does matter. It just means we have to be more creative with our content strategy!
One thing that can make a difference, is that we are consistent with our tweets. Of course we should not go on a spamming campaign, but tweeting at least few times a day should help improve recognition among ones followers, as well as keep reminding them that we exist. In the past, I have made the mistake myself of not tweeting at all for long periods, something I am trying to make up for.
Posting more images and video content is another thing that might help. Links, as I mentioned, tend to get less engagement. It might work to post links for some accounts, but it seems like most the links I post get few visitors. Typically, I seem to get between 20 and 100 visitors when posting a link on Beamtic's account, and much of the visitors are strangely not counted in the Twitter statistics. Not sure what the reason is for that. But, again, the atomic makeup of my individual followers seem to influence my reach.
Follower growth services
Services that help grow your following has been criticized for creating irrelevant connections. Of cause, having followers that are not interested in your content will not transfer directly to increased engagement, and as such it is clearly not the most effective way to grow.
If you have been using such services, then it is important to keep in mind that most of them will not really create connections with people who are interested in your content.
One of the better services is probably twiends.com, it has also been around for years, and does actually seem to create some meaningful connections. It is, however, also abused by bots and new users.
The best way to grow your following on Twitter is still to create interesting content.