You are currently viewing How I Went Viral on X (Formerly Twitter): An In-Depth Analysis

How I Went Viral on X (Formerly Twitter): An In-Depth Analysis

Gaetano DiNardi breaks down exactly why his thread went viral on X/Twitter and shares tactics he and others have used, to help you do the same.(image)

Anyone trying to grow a personal brand online eventually has to choose which social media platforms to focus on and why. For me, it was LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter). 

Since then, I’ve been posting, engaging, commenting, sharing, messaging, and interacting on a near-daily basis — slowly but steadily attracting my tribe of B2B marketers. 

With 45,000 LinkedIn followers when writing this, I’ve learned that LinkedIn tends to reward creators with virality when “stories from the trenches” are told from first-hand experience in the field. 

X has been a tougher nut to crack. Over the years, I’ve tried to replicate the same success on LinkedIn, but have barely moved the needle. Sometimes, I even repurpose my best-performing LinkedIn posts on X — and they flopped. 

I never really cracked the code on X — until this year.

This was my most “viral” post of all time (on X). 

I was stunned at the reaction, and it caused me to reflect on how and why some posts get way more engagement than others. In this article, I'll unpack all my findings.

But first, a caveat: Going viral on X gave me a quick burst of new followers and some temporary praise, but soon after, everything normalized. After enjoying that small moment of glory, I went right back to work and kept grinding. 

It’s important to acknowledge that just one (out of hundreds of posts) will become a hit, and virality is mostly out of your control. It takes years of consistency and practice to master the art of copywriting on X. 

So follow the advice in this guide, and you’ll increase your odds of hitting it big. 

You can now schedule your posts and threads on X with Buffer! Here's how.

The anatomy of a viral tweet

So, why did my post on X blow up? I believe it had the right ingredients: Unique knowledge explained in an interesting format with a contrarian twist. 

On top of that, it had:

  • A personal experience that’s commonly problematic but rarely discussed.
  • A “back-and-forth” scenario exchange in a conversational format. 
  • An extremely compelling hook — every B2B marketer wants to learn how to answer difficult questions from the company CEO.
  • No sensationalism or clickbait. The answer was straightforward yet unexpected and refreshing. People love learning about new ways of solving old problems. 

Understanding X’s algorithm 

Just like understanding how SEO can help you increase visibility on Google Search, there’s a method for posting on X that maximizes engagement. 

Tanay Jaipuria, an architect of social media algorithms, broke down X’s algorithm after it open-sourced how it works in spring 2023. Here are some key takeaways.

How X curates content feeds

X’s algorithm initially fetches around 1,500 posts for a user in a session, drawing from two sources: in-network (posts from people you follow) and out-of-network (posts from those you don’t follow, also known as a ‘For You’ feed). The in-network source contributes about half of these tweets.

For out-of-network sources, X uses your social graph (tweets popular among people with similar interests) and topic embeddings (based on your preferred topics, with X categorizing posts into 145,000 communities). If you want a good sense of who your target audience is, scroll your ‘For You’ feed.

How X ranks content on your feed

X’s algorithm predicts the likelihood of a user engaging (liking, commenting, retweeting). It assigns weights to these actions and calculates an overall score for each post for a specific user.

This scoring considers user-level preferences, post-level factors, and the user’s relationship with the author.

For example, replies hold a significant weight versus simply liking or retweeting. Tanay broke down each tweet-level factor in the table below:


After scoring, the algorithm filters the posts (removing blocked or muted content, ensuring author diversity and content balance) and then mixes in promoted posts and other non-organic content. 

How to maximize your chances of going viral on X

Here are some tactics I learned from my viral moment on X, plus others I’ve seen creators and brands use to great effect.

Write engaging threads

Threads are the perfect medium for storytelling, sharing insights, and engaging with audiences in a more in-depth manner than a single post. But there’s an art to writing threads, and failing to nudge readers toward each consecutive piece of content can kill the momentum of your thread. Here are some of my best tips:

Start with a hook

Your first tweet is your headline. It should be compelling enough for readers to click and read more. Use a strong statement, a clear question, an eye-popping statistic, or a teaser that hints at an unfolding story.

Even a simple list post format can do the trick, especially if a little FOMO is baked into the equation. 

If you’re struggling with writing hooks that grab attention, check out this expert resource from Masterclass.

Make the structure easy to follow

Consider these three core practices when writing your threads:

  1. Spacing: Break up your text to make it more readable. Avoid large blocks of text.
  2. Numbering: Number your tweets to help readers follow along, especially if they encounter the thread mid-way.
  3. Emojis and graphics: Use emojis, graphics, or GIFs to add personality and visual breaks in the text.

Mix up the type of content

Threads don’t always have to be long and detailed. They can be concise and still provide value. Try sharing different types of content, like personal stories, factual information, in-depth analysis, or even humor.

Also, don’t be afraid to try new formats or structures. You can include bullet points, ask questions, or use multimedia to enhance your message. Chris Tweten of SpacebarSEO is a pro when it comes to mixing up content types in his threads. Just check out this example below:


Ensure that each post in the thread contributes to your overall message or story. Provide insights, solutions, or engaging narratives that keep the reader interested. Each piece of content needs its own hook to keep people scrolling. 

Showcase your personality

Adding a unique personal touch is a chef’s kiss for growing your X account and improving content performance. If you look at platforms like TikTok, where most content is rich with personality, there’s something to be learned about that success formula. 

When sharing your personal stories, be authentic. Your goal should not be engagement; it should be relatability. 

Below is an example of how Amanda Natividad, VP of Marketing at SparkToro, relates to her audience as both a new mother and a new parent.

If you know Amanda, you know she’s the person who coined the term zero-click content. While most of her audience follows her for marketing takes, she’s still relatable by adding her personal experiences that others can resonate with.

Here’s another good thread from Chris Orlob, where he shares real-world insights from weekly conversations with Chief Revenue Officers. 

Consider that many salespeople sell to executives, making this very valuable information. Sometimes, you don’t need to be fancy. Simply dropping rare knowledge bombs can get the job done.

Be visually appealing

Share compelling visuals like graphs with unique data or GIFs for a significant ranking boost. 

Multiple images can amplify this effect. Here’s an example of a viral thread with several images helping tell this author’s full story:

There are plenty of great ways to use visuals in your tweets. Here are some examples:

Comparison images

Check out how Eddie Shleyner uses text overlays and color to complement his graphic about copywriting exercises — the comparison effect of looking at “before vs. after” is captivating and drives home the point.


Even the most stoic person will find the occasional meme hilarious. If you’re short on content ideas, give memes a try. This SEO meme from Nick Jordan was great!

Of course, not every brand needs to use memes. But even in traditionally “boring” industries, there’s room for humor in your social media strategy.

Memes as a social media marketing strategy is something Tommy Clark, founder of Clark Media, swears by — and he has some intriguing numbers that back this up. 

Get his complete framework from this thread.


Telling stories using data is a great way to garner engagement, but plastering numbers all over a tweet can bore your followers and readers. Instead, tell that story using an infographic — one you've created or sourced from the web. Check out how Patrick Stox from Ahrefs shares the most common technical SEO issues in one compelling visual.

Leave a Reply