How You Get Hundreds Of Twitter Followers In Days

Want more Twitter followers? Me too. Here is what it looks like when you do the wrong thing for a year, then figure out how to do the right thing and do it for just a few days: Twitter Followers By Day If you are a company or an individual interested in Growth Hacking, you are trying to figure out how to make hockey sticks like this. If you are like me, you are trying to build “your platform”. Your platform is your virtual podium that you can stand on to get your message out. You deserve a big platform! You are awesome! The bigger your platform, the more people are part of your own personal community. I am writing a book and everyone tells me that I need a platform. Noah Kagan and Andrew Chen, some of the leading growth hacker practitioners on the planet, are obsessed with “growing their platform”. If these guys need one, you should have one also. There are many different ways to build a platform:

  • Blog readership
  • RSS subscribers
  • Email marketing lists
  • Twitter followers
  • Facebook followers

RSS is dead (Bye, Google Reader) and I am not particularly interested in Facebook at the moment, but blog readership (hey there!), building my email list (go subscribe!), and growing my twitter followers all seem like worthwhile activities. One area that I felt like I should focus on was increasing my Twitter followers. Generally speaking, if I feel this way, you should also. For more than a year, I followed the conventional wisdom trying to grow my twitter followers. Growth hackers would say that I tried to do “marketing” when I should have been “hacking”.

People talk about a lot of different approaches to increasing your Twitter followers and it turned out that these approaches all sucked. The three most common methods you hear about are:

  • Tweeting more frequently
  • Tweeting at the right times
  • Using hashtags

I tested the first two extensively. I tested the last very little because I am interested in a specific type of Twitter user and attaching the hashtag of whatever the current meme is serves me not at all. If you want to test using hashtags like a mad man, send me the data.

Tweeting More Frequently Doesn’t Grow Your Twitter Followers

Tweeting more frequently did not help. People cite studies saying that it helps, but I found that to be baloney. Here is a graph showing some variance in tweeting over a week. You can see that it had little or no effect on my readership. The day I tweeted the most frequently readership was flat. Readership grew in mid-January even as I tweeted less frequently. When I tweeted more in early February, readership declined. Twitter Followers By Frequency(This cool graph courtesy of http://twittercounter.com/)

What caused my sudden massive growth in readers at the end of December? It wasn’t some ramp in tweeting, clearly. Tweeting more or less seemed not to matter at all.

Tweeting At The Right Times Doesn’t Grow Your Twitter Followers

Here is a graph of my tweets for 2013: Tweets By Time Period This chart shows the investment I made in using tools like HootSuite and Buffer to schedule my tweets. I used these tools for much of 2013. You can see the results: Tons of tweets at 9am, another wave of tweets at noon, and a third wave of tweets at 5pm, with the occasional bunch of tweets at 9pm.

This is the “Buffer best practice” as far as Tweet scheduling. Unfortunately, as the chart that opened this article observed, this failed to grow my twitter readership in any meaning way. The growth of my Twitter readership did not change from the prior year when I just tweeted whenever the heck I wanted. So all this really consisted of was being annoyed by Buffers plugins and eccentricity.

No One Wants To Follow And Be Followed By Twitter Bots

I was pretty down in the dumps at this point. I had friends with more followers than I did and it seemed like they weren’t trying all that hard while I was working my butt off to try and get one or two followers per day. Something had to change. It was time to start crazy things.

It was only when I abandoned the conventional wisdom and started testing my own ideas that I hit on success. The good news for you is that after that foolishness and testing, I found a replicable technique that dramatically grew my Twitter followers from under 500 to nearly 750 in just a few days. It is incredibly easy and it will be something that you can do also.

Why Following Lots of People On Twitter Sounds So Dumb

My hypothesis began with the number of auto-followers that seem to be found on Twitter. Many people have some automated script that follows people who follow them and some sites even offer as a service a tool that will observe whether someone you followed “follows you back” and if they don’t, then it unfollows them as being “unproductive”.

I had always devalued this “follow me and I will follow you back” automation as being low value across the board. You are attracting followers that are bots, that have tens of thousands of followers so they can’t possibly read their twitter stream, and people that you have no interest in or relationship to. How could that be productive? How does that grow your platform?

My perspective was the difference between 100 people reading my tweets and 100 people and 100 bots reading my tweets was that the value was the same. So while I could follow 100 bots and they would follow me back, that was not accretive to the platform, it just made my twitter stream spammy. Regardless, I figured I had tried everything else, it was time to start following more people.

Growing Your Twitter Followers The Fast And Easy Way

I followed a few people on that first couple of days. I followed 9 or 10 people per day. Those days instantly turned into the biggest jumps I had experienced in some time. The next day I followed a few hundred. I was rewarded in hours with huge boosts in followers. I expected these to be people who were automatically following me back. But I was wrong. Even crazier, they were not the people who I had followed.

Instead, I was suddenly, spontaneously, attracting all kinds of new followers. Many of them very active twitter people without significant automation. My new hypothesis: Following lots of people makes you a better fit for Twitter to recommend you to users. Twitter Suggested Followers You can’t show up as “You might also want to follow” if you had not followed some similar people. But maybe there is no penalty for following different people. I don’t have some great way to validate this hypothesis, but there is some data to show that something good happens. For example, we know that there is a correlation between the number of people one follows and the number of followers: Follower by Follower Chart And my data sample shows a tight fit where the number of people I follow is tightly linked to the number of people who follow me. @bhalliburton Followers by Followers That is pretty incredible correlation. If those lines are not in love with each other, I don’t know how to read a chart. Increasing the number of people I follow almost directly turned into people following me. It seems reasonable to believe that if I simply followed even more people, then I would have that many more followers. As the below table of Twitter follower data demonstrates, this one act propelled me into the top 1% of all Twitter followers. sysomos-twitter-followers Now you can be too. Get following! The clear takeaway from my year of experiments is that the single fastest way to grow your twitter followers is to aggressively follow more people. When I started following people, for every 2 people I followed, I gained a follower. And generally speaking very, very few of these were automated follows, they were real, meaningful people making my platform stronger. Since executing this strategy my retweets and favorites have skyrocketed as has the Twitter traffic to my blog.

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23 thoughts on “How You Get Hundreds Of Twitter Followers In Days

  1. Great post – and thank you for addressing the idiocy of trying to grow your ‘following’ with fake followers and robots.

    I’ve not spent much time following others on twitter but have tried all the other avenues (save for paying for fake ones and using bots).

    At the end of the day, I think integrity and being a real human being wins out in the long run.

    Will check this out.

    And follow you 🙂

    – Ryan Rhoades
    lead graphic artist @ reformationdesigns.com

    @ReformDesigns

    • Bam, that’s one more follower in the can! I completely agree. Having a high follower count is a vanity metric. You want people that follow and are interested in engaging with your message, whether it is making a restaurant recommendation when you are traveling or reading your latest blog post and commenting on your blog.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

  2. I will put your idea to the test.. I’ve been meaning to follow more people on my app robogrowths twitter page and have been looking at ways as a new app to grow our twitter base.

  3. I use this technique in past and it works. But there is limitation of people that you can follow and i stuck in 2000 following vs. 1500 followers. I can’t add then anymore new following persons because account limitation. This works on slow growth – approx. 3 years

    I notice that other persons make this – they follow you and you’re happy about that. After few (2, 3 or 4) days they suddenly unfollow you. Here works “curiosity” trick – you follow them meanwhile, but can’t notice they disappearing.

    Anyway – for me best way for growth is human communication. This include joining discussions, providing valuable community content and avoiding pattern actions.

  4. Doesn’t mean when someone follows you, you follow them back. What I do is I first check their profiles. Checking their profiles will tell you if they are bots and I don’t follow back if I don’t find their posts relevant to me after all I believe that the reason we follow people on social sites not only on Twitter is because we find their posts relevant and got common interests with them. Such a great post here, thanks for sharing your observations / study. Worth sharing content.

    • I definitely look at every profile before I follow. Let’s be clear, I am not advocating following people willy-nilly. I am trying to follow more people. I still screen for relevance. I want to relate to my community!

  5. One thing I would add to this which I have seen work, be clever about who you choose to follow.

    If you find some prominent tweeters in your particular niche, look at their tweets and see who has retweeted them, they are the the guys and girls to follow. Not only do you grow your following as you suggested but you are also homing in on people whom you know are active and more likely to share your tweets.

  6. I’m all new to twitter and this is much appreciated advice.

    But it CAN be done another way. You just have to be super popular 😛 Easier said than done though.

    Leo Babauta from Zenhabits follow 9 people at the written moment, and has 144.000+ followers. Then again we can’t all be super popular.

    Besides I like this kind of guerrilla tactic;) Oh, and I’ve added you on twitter and Google + Brent 🙂

    • Haha, this is really about “how does one become faux-popular”. Conan O’Brien follows one person and has a zillion followers. I am not Conan.

  7. Mass following will increase amount of your followers, but I doubt very much about the quality.
    As it was mentioned few comments above, there are too many users, who will unfollow you in a week if don’t get follow from you.

    Another drawback of mass following is like you said yourself – news feed is getting too spamy or simply not really interesting to read. There is a very slim chance to build any kind of relationship with someone, who is “reading” 50K other Twitter users…

    From my view you can get much more real followers by communicating with “right” people in the “right” places and posting useful tweets and responses. At least that is what gave me the best results on some of my Twitter accounts.

    • I have to say, my experience runs counter to your comment. As my graph demonstrates, I had some attrition, but not a lot and if you look at my mentions, I am getting tons of activity and support from my new followers. I do recognize that now, instead of just reading my newsfeed, I have to curate a private list to keep my input digestable. I will skim my newsfeed from time to time, but it is hard.

      I don’t understand the science of “communicating with the right people in the right places”. Your use of air quotes implies that this is more magic than a scalable or repeatable process. As I indicated in my post, I feel like I tried a fair amount of that and the results were “meh”.

  8. Intresting way to grow up the follower community.
    I try this with a brandnew account with 0 followers in german language.
    @diaet_blogger

    Will see, if this tactic works on german market, too
    and you have one follower more, Brent 🙂

    Btw – Does anybody know how many followers Chuck Norris has?
    Cause i think he would never ever follow another person 🙂

  9. Good post. Yeah I noticed something like this some time back (i.e. following got me new followers that were not just follow backs) but didn’t really have a hypothesis for it like you have here. You seem to suggest that turning up in the ‘You might also want to follow’ box might be helped by following a lot of similar people. Maybe. However, maybe it’s more calculated on the sort of people that follow you. So if a ton of people with ‘analytics’ in their bio follow you then Twitter might suggest to other people with ‘analytics’ in their bio that they might want to follow you. I dunno just shooting in the dark here. Also interesting to see that you didn’t get suspended for so many follows. Seems to back up the idea that rules for suspending on mass follows are context relevant i.e. your account is established so you are cut more slack.

    • Apparently, there are limits to how many people you are allowed to follow in a day and apparently these limits are tied to your follower counts. So I guess it shows that I haven’t been as crazy as I could have been since I did not hit those limits. I think what drives my hypothesis is that I didn’t really mess with my profile and my follower count didn’t change, but when I follow people, more people follow me. So it takes into account in some way the social graph: As I follow people, my keywords become inputs as suggestions to people that follow those people as well. Or something like that. One way to test would be to confirm that people that are suggested also follow the person that just followed you. It would be trivial for Twitter to make it one or two degrees of separation, but it wouldn’t be hard to figure out the number of degrees of separation. For that matter, one could do a semantic analysis of profile content or tweet content. Not hard, as I said.

  10. Hello Brent Halliburton,

    This is true that following lots of people gives you immense followers in quick session but to follow this policy PATIENCE is the SUCCESS KEY on twitter.

    People have to understand this that following thousands of people in a day & unfollowing can suspend your account because of violating twitter guidelines.

    Following & follower ratio is very important on twitter.
    Kindly give me twitter love as well

    http://www.twitter.com/kmadhav

  11. Thanks for your advice. Another way to get organic followers that also fit within your target followers is :

    1) Follow people that you know are credible and have many followers. Target people who’s followers are your ideal followers.

    2) Comment on their tweets and retweet their tweets. Interact and share w hashtags.

    3) Try to give your opinion on that persons tweets, even if you disagree. But with valid reason. Be real.

    4) To get a response or a retweet from a person that has lot of followers find their tweets that few have commented or none. So your tweet is likely to get a response.

    5) Funny enough if you include a picture in your tweet it stands out more in the long line of tweets.

    6) Ask for an opinion on your blog/article and views. Ask politely for a retweet.

    Twitter could make so much more money if “us” aka regular twitter users could buy 10 stand out/promoted tweets that can be sent to our own user base. What I mean is to be able to post your tweet in bold text and bold under and over line. Its just easier to notice these kind of tweets. Some kind of app/store/twitter purchase for 1$ ?

    I have sent an email to Dick Costolo to get his response. No reply as of yet 🙁

    ps:) Right or wrong ? When famous/important person tweets something important or interesting is it right to in that very same second ( real time ) tweet something back as if you know that person ? Kind of : thanks for the advice Mr Obama, and thanks for the breakfast at white house this morning 🙂

    Could you call that Growth hacking ?

    ( Lie to me by Ryan Holiday really stuck to my brain )

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