How to Get More Twitter Followers: 7 Fast Ways to Grow Your Following

Share This
Andy Crestodina
Share

Everyone wants more. It’s one of the most common questions in marketing: How do I get more Twitter followers? The most common answers usually go like this: tweet more, be helpful and engage with people. Sound familiar?

But do these things really grow your following? We’re about to find out. This is a three part post:

  • New original research into the real reason that Twitter followings grow. Does tweeting more actually lead to faster follower growth?

  • Review of the tactics – black, white and gray – to getting more followers. We’ll step over to the darkside of social media.

  • Finally, we’ll ask ourselves why we want a lot of followers anyway?

Quick disclaimer: before you scorch me in the comments, please understand that this post is informational only. These are not recommendations or judgements.

Why do Twitter followings grow?

We analyzed the Twitter accounts of over 300 bloggers to discover what actually correlates with growing followers. We used Followerwonk to check the size of each following, tweets per week, total tweets over time and the likelihood of retweets. Each of these correlates with follower growth at different rates.

The findings might surprise you. Here’s the data.

Weekly_Follower_Graph2

Surprise! Tweeting a lot doesn’t correlate with follower growth. The statistical relationship is very weak. Only 10% of the accounts that tweet a lot are growing fast.

Getting retweeted does correlate with faster growth. In 35% of cases, Twitter accounts that get retweeted a lot are also the accounts that grow fast. This suggests that being engaging does help.

So what truly correlates with fast follower growth?

Size. Big Twitter accounts grow faster. The size of the following has a powerful linear relationship with follower growth rate, much more than any other factor. Large followings are the fastest growing accounts in 96% of cases.

Follower_Graph2

The big get bigger, faster.

This phenomenon is partly due to the design of Twitter. From the moment you set up an account, Twitter starts recommending accounts with large followings.

first suggestions

And of course, there’s a psychological factor that partly explains why big accounts grow faster. For some reason, people tend to follow accounts with large followings. Regardless of the reason, it’s obvious that big accounts are getting bigger, faster.

So… now what do I do?

Research shows that the key to getting more followers is to have a lot of followers. But how do you get Twitter followers in the first place?

There are many ways. Here are seven ways to grow your following. The good, the bad and the ugly. These range from automatic spam-bots to high-touch ethical outreach.

Sketchy ways to get more Twitter followers

1.  Autofollow / Followback

This is the most common way to inflate your following fast. It explains why a lot of random people may be following you on Twitter.

Anytime you follow someone, you appear in their notifications. Some percentage of those people will notice you and follow you back. So following others is a common growth tactic, but it’s generally slow …unless you automate it with software.

That’s why some marketers use tools (or services) that automatically follow lots and lots of other accounts. The most popular is called TweetAdder. Here’s how it works:

  1. Download TweetAdder and install the software on your computer (it’s software, not a website)

  2. Load it up with keywords

  3. TweetAdder downloads a list of Twitter accounts with those keywords in the bio

  4. It follows those accounts automatically at whatever rate you set, such as 100 per day

  5. Some of those accounts will follow you back, growing your following

  6. It automatically unfollows the accounts that don’t follow you back after a set time, such as 10 days

By unfollowing accounts automatically, it maintains a nice ratio of following-to-followers. No one wants to be the account that follows 23,000 people, but only has 1,200 followers, right?

Have you metmy fake friends-

I’ve never used this tool, but I know many marketers who do. The problem is that it leads to a less relevant, less engaged following. These robotically built audiences tend to have a lot of fake followers. It’s simply not a social way to use social media.

These accounts are often easy to spot. They usually have a low number of tweets, but a high (closely matching) following and follower number. Like this:

  • Tweets 500, Following 79,950, Followers 80,000.

2. “The Yank”

Here’s a controversial way to create artificial fame. Use an autofollow/followback until you have a large following of maybe 100k+ accounts. Then, all at once, unfollow everyone! Now look at the ratio:

  • Tweets 500, Following 10, Followers 80,000.

Now, at a glance, anyone can see how you are loved by thousands …but you’re very picky about who you follow. You must be a rockstar. Put a velvet rope around your phone.

That’s the sketchy way to get 100k followers, but only follow 10 people. Sure, you’ll hurt some feelings, but being a pseudo-celebrity has its price.

Semi-Legit ways to get more Twitter followers

There are other, less spammy ways to automate growth. These are more legitimate because the process doesn’t start with automation. It begins with a manual action.

3. Auto followback

If you don’t follow people back, there’s a higher chance that they’ll unfollow you someday. They might be using automation themselves, right? So some marketers use tools to automatically follow back everyone who follows them. This causes accounts to grow faster by shrinking slower.

4. Manually follow, automatically unfollow

Rather than use a tool to find and follow others, find and follow tons of accounts by hand. Follow everyone who looks human. Then let an automated tool dump those that don’t follow back, keeping your ratio in line.

I’m sure there are many other tactics that fall into the “gray area” of follower growth tactics. If you know of any, please let us know in the comments!

Legit ways to get more Twitter followers

Finally, there are the manual, slow ways to grow a legitimate Twitter following. Beyond the general “be good” advice, here are a few specific tips.

5. Find super-relevant people to share with

When you share something, whether you wrote it or not, share it with people who will love it. Twitter is a great way to find people with extremely specific interests.

If you wrote a post about personal branding, mention people with “personal branding” in their bio. They’ll likely thank you for it! They’re very likely to share it and follow you back.

targeted_sharing

Read the full post about targeted sharing on Twitter.

6. Don’t tweet from behind a logo

Be a person. That starts with your profile picture. Show your face. Remember that your picture will often appear very small (sometimes only 25px tall), so smile big for the camera.

new_followers

7. Write a descriptive Twitter bio

Knowing that Twitter is a research tool, help people find you by putting relevant keywords into your bio. Remember, you’re trying to be discovered. Make sure to put a city in your location. Clear is better than clever.

Time out… Why do you want a big following anyway?

It’s worth asking. Would the world be a better place if you have 100k followers? Would that really help your business? Your career? Your personal life?

jesus

Followers, with benefits

People assume that there are advantages to having a large following. The assumed upsides fall into a few categories. Each have their own factors in success.

  • Drive more website traffic? Yes, but only if…
    …your followers are engaged. Twitter is a powerful source of traffic, but only if your followers care enough to pay attention. If you have an auto-generated following or robots, you’re unlikely to capture this benefit.

  • Impress journalists and editors? Yes, but only if…
    …you already have their attention. Generally speaking, some content creators are more likely to be impressed and more likely to use you as a source. A large following is “social proof” which lends credibility in a PR context. This is a practical reason to want a large following.

  • Impress your friends? Yes, but only if…
    …your friends are into that kind of thing.

We should be honest and admit what we really want. The main benefit of a big number is vanity. It’s an ego metric. So decide for yourself. If it helps your self-esteem and automation doesn’t make you feel like a spammer, go for it.

But the real benefit of Twitter (and of all social media and the internet as a whole) is the connection between people. It’s a powerful tool for research and networking. It can even help your SEO. On Twitter, you can find almost anyone you can imagine and start a conversation.

Let’s close on a great quote from Ted Rubin…

Make your social connections count or they won’t be worth counting.

Share This

What are your thoughts?

By signing up you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy.

Comments (48)
  • Hi Andy,

    Excellent content here! I’m definitely sharing it with some very specific people.

    As for keeping your follower/following ratio, I recently started using commun.it and I love it. It doesn’t do anything automatically, but it does suggest actions for your account. It tells you how long since your last interaction with someone, who engaged with you the most and who you should consider unfollowing because there’s no engagement between you two.

    Regardless, you outlined a wonderful balance between the spammy methods and the bootstrap methods.

    • Thanks, Mike. I’ll check out commun.it. I’ve used ManageFlitter before, but it’s been a while. I try not to worry about the ratio, but sometimes I see accounts that are way off balance and I want to suggest this to them…

      Glad you like this. Stay away from the spammy techniques! 🙂

  • Very nice, Andy. We need a mantra that reminds us: I want more followers, but what I really want is more connection. And just looking at numbers can never give us that.

    • That’s right. I use Follower Wonk to find people to share/network with and sometimes it shows huge accounts …with a social authority of 1. Those are clearly robots who follow > follow back > unfollow to inflate their numbers, but they’re not interacting with anyone. Sometimes, they’re not even tweeting. Weird, right? What’s the point?

      Yes, social media is better when it’s social…

  • Another great post Andy. Thanks.

  • Love the closing quote. Good stuff as always, Andy! Cheers

    • Thanks, Angie! Always nice to see you here. And since our friend Amanda is in Cambodia, I’m trying to keep up with things the best I can. 🙂

  • Andy,

    Just in case you did not know…there is another alternative to consider.

    Nearly three years ago I founded TribeBoost (http://TribeBoost.com).

    We were the first company to do Twitter audience development as a service.

    In a nutshell:

    1) We monitor Twitter in realtime looking for tweets with certain terms/hashtags/mentions whatever.

    2) From those results we filter off the junk (spam accounts, new accounts, low quality accounts, etc.)

    3) We refine the list based on bio info, location, influence, whatever makes sense for that client. Everything we do is customized based on the client needs.

    4) We follow one a time and have limits in place to avoid following too many people in a day, too many people for your recommended ratio, etc.

    5) We are a managed service meaning that we are not entirely automated — we do a great deal of our work manually (with real humans!).

    6) Everything we do is within Twitter’s TOS.

    • Thanks for the tip, Kevin. I think I know some people who use your service! But I won’t name names here…

      • Hi Andy,

        Thanks for taking an insightful look at this topic. I’ll look forward to the next pieces. So often it’s one that’s dismissed with a blanket statement like “quality over quantity,” it’s nice to see a thoughtful exploration of the subject from multiple perspectives without self-righteous indignation.That’s not to say what’s right and what isn’t. Just that it’s not always so black and white. Also sharing it.

        Andy

      • Haha yep, no need to name names.

        I liked this post a lot, I honestly think most people downplay how vital Twitter followers can be to their B2B traffic generation.

        Twitter regularly generates most of our blog traffic…and more traffic typically means more sales.

        Funny you mentioned TweetAdder.

        Using it years ago actually led to me getting TribeBoost started. It is such a blunt instrument that I was constantly following the wrong kind of people.

        One day I realized I had mistakenly followed some porn stars on one account and I just about fainted.

        I realized then there needed to be a better way…so I built it.

  • Thanks for another great article Andy. I always appreciate your insights. I especially like the “targeted sharing” tactic. Definitely going to try that one.

    The one thing I’ve never understood is unfollowing someone because they don’t follow you or, worse, following someone only so they’ll follow you. There just seems to be something very needy and second grade in that approach. I follow someone because they interest me in some way and I want to engage with them. Like you said, if it’s not about being social, what else is the point? To each their own I guess.

    • I’m not going to disagree with you, Scott. The purpose of following is really to see what they post, right? Not some kind of quid pro quo.

      If Twitter had wanted it to be more about content/communication and less of a social proof game, they shouldn’t have made the following numbers so obvious. I sometimes wonder what Twitter would be like if the size of the following wasn’t visible. Very different, probably…

  • Hi Andy. Just want to say, great article and thanks for the refreshing honesty 🙂 I’ll share it and follow you.

    • Agree with you. Awesome Article

  • Hey Andy, I remember when you were talking about this at the Marketing Profs Forum. It is a “burning” question! Love how you broke down the conclusions and provided some guidance. … Personally, I ACTUALLY DO want to see the posts from people I like and don’t want to sort through a myriad of people I’ve just followed back. I know Twitter Lists can help organize this, but how many people can I really keep up with? Yet, I do want to reach more people through the tool, so want the benefit of a following. Seems to be contradicting forces at work! Perhaps I create one account for expanding followers, and one for just getting the info that I actually want.

    • Hi there, Paul. Yes, being truly interested is a great reason to follow someone! Hoping for a follow back …not so much.

      A lot of us follow thousands of people. When the numbers get that big, you have to assume that either the person is using lists to segment things or their just not paying attention at all. Personally, my home stream is really noisy and random. Without lists, it would be really tough to filter through.

  • Nice post Andy! I learn something new every time. I’ll have to try out the targeted sharing you mentioned in #5 🙂

    • Thanks, Kim! You picked out my favorite tip on this post. 🙂

      • I’m actually trying it as we speak. Question. Do you only do one tweet targeting 1-2 people and call it a day? Or do you do a handful of tweets so you can reach a few more people?

        • Yes, I usually mention just one or two people per tweet and I do it for a few tweets per post. It’s a bit time consuming, but the best things always take work, right? It sometimes leads to nice conversations…

        • I would offer an alternative view to this that considers your existing followers. I actually find it a bit irritating when someone I follow tweets multiple identical tweets in a row like this. I have unfollowed people who abuse this tactic. Timelines are crowded enough without seeing essentially the same thing multiple times in a row.

          As an existing follower of someone, I’d much rather see those tweets spread out over time during the day (a scheduling app like buffer or Hootsuite will make this a snap) so I won’t have to see all of them.

          Something to think about.

          • Definitely a great point Scott! I’ll definitely do that. Although, I’ll use Rignite for the scheduling–but of course, I’m a little biased on that 😉

  • Getting more followers and automating it sounds like a blast from the past with automated blog commenting. Anything that can be automated or used to potentially manipulate the serps will not count in Googles algorithm. Socialise by all means, but only with people who could potentially give you more business. As any man will tell you, size isn’t everything!

  • Hahaha thanks for the tips. I just started on Twitter and I am sure this will help me!

  • I really want to have a lot of followers. Thanks andy for the information

    • You can try real way to find that

  • Andy, , thanks for this article. It will be a significant help for people who are starting, or trying to grow, their business by understanding what has more chance of working to build their followers and their brand. Thanks again.

  • thanks andy 🙂

  • great article! i have been looking for articles like this. yours is one of the best! very informative! thank you for posting 🙂

    • I’m glad you liked this one, Sheena! Thanks for the comment…

  • Great tips Andy! I would also recommend promoting your twitter profile on sites such as Downdrops.com to gain more followers

  • Another great post, thanks Andy!

    Just to share another approach here, the primary reason I use the follow and unfollow strategy actually has much more to with the strategic direct message opportunities than simply gathering a mass of followers.

    With a third party app like CrowdFire (I believe others do the same) you’re able to set up an automated direct message sent to new followers. Most marketers jump the gun with automated DMs and link spam something like “Thanks for the follow. Please like my facebook page fb.com/tb3jrj3rjd” not only is this annoying but it’s missing a gold mine of market research potential.

    For example, I’m interested in writing about meditation. So in the last two weeks I’ve run an automated compliment & question DM that reads –

    “Loving your tweets! I’m curious, in your experience what’s the #1 challenge you’re struggling with in your meditation?”

    In the two weeks I’ve been able to get about 100 responses (and trigger some really fascinating conversations). This a small but powerful sample size of my audience. After going through the responses I’ve learned that the overwhelming response is “finding time” following by “focusing my mind”.

    So now I have an informed content strategy for my next two blog posts. The title will include “How To Find Alone Time To Meditate (without coming off like a jerk)….” or something like that. The next one will say something like “7 Ways To Focus Your Mind (even if you’re constantly distracted) etc…

    Further, if I had a product or course to sell I would certainly want to use the exact language that my audience uses to describe their struggle in my landing page sales copy.

    The beauty is that unlike traditional market research these questions are being asked to the very Twitter audience which I will later be promoting my content back to. After the automated question I always follow up one by one with a thank you, explanation of why I asked this question, and an invite to join my email list. Once you’re to this level of a conversation with someone the email optin rate is almost always 100%. So this generates both highly valuable rapid market research to guide my content and sales copy as well as a reliable stream of email subscribers.

    When combining (public) inbound marketing with (direct) outbound research and lead gen, Twitter can become a critical tool to make informed and effective marketing decisions. 🙂

  • Hi Andy,

    Great article. Definitely some useful insight. In terms of “buying followers” are there any actual legitimate websites I can do so? I’ve looked some up for my business but they all seem very sketchy and not where I would want to give my credit card info… Any suggestions would help!

  • Thanks for this article… it has a lot of great information!

  • Can Give Me Twitter Followers

  • this is so nice, Andy. We need a mantra that reminds us: I want more followers, but what I really want is more connection. And just looking at numbers can never give us that. i like it

  • I recommend participating in Twitter chats. Find topics that you’re knowledgeable about, or want to learn more about. You’ll often find me at #ContentChat (Mondays at 3pm ET) and #CMWorld (Tuesdays at 12pm ET). As you tweet things that participants find useful, you’ll not only gain new followers, you’ll see engagement skyrocket (e.g. impressions, likes, retweets, link clicks).

  • Great blog! Thank you for sharing!

  • Hello Andy,
    I came across your article and I think that you’ve made good analysis over the ways over growing up your network. When I started my profile it was really hard to get along over this platform’s mechanisms of engaging with the other users. After I made a research I was using the same things that you’ve mentioned as a guide. Unfortunately, it was extremely hard to gain an optimal number of followers on organic way so I’ve decided to purchase a package from the following site: https://www.socialmediadaily.com/twitter. As soon as I did it, using the previous steps in boosting my profile was unusually easy. I was putting minimal effort and time and gaining a lot of engagements.
    I hope that you will find my recommendation useful.

  • Really a Great Resource! I was looking such type of blogs from long. It’s more informative, thank you for sharing such a great post.

  • This tips are more effective to get more followers in twitter. These are the best and most effective.

  • Great! Thank you for this. Really helpful and informative 🙂 I’ll probably share this with my friends!

  • WOW! Those are very tricky but brilliant way to gain Twitter followers. I’ll try to apply those and see what happens. I hope it’ll work with me. Thanks for a great and helpful article.

  • My twitter followers is decreasing day by day and think this tips will help me to recover them.

  • Tweet Adder is no more!

  • Great Article Andy! As of 2018 , many people are purchasing services to websites such as ViralKick to gain the popularity they want. I’ll gonna use these tips on my own account. Thanks 😉

  • Be it controlling the speed of the tweets in the account, getting the best content updated, setting up the schedules for the tweets for the whole week, or proofing my account to be ban-safe… I have got all these amazing things at one stop solution i.e., https://wizugo.com/
    When I first started promoting my brands on Twitter, I tried it all manually, but we all know how it goes… So I looked for automating tools and encountered many on my way..DISAPPOINTED by each one of them :-/ But my search continued and finally I settled for Wizugo.
    Using it for months now and I am truly amazed at how my ratings have gone up, my followers have increased, my tweet boards look amazing. And everything is just available through my mobile phone too thereby letting me keep a check whenever I need. I transfer days between my multiple accounts as per my convenience and needs. The ads keep coming up at times, but its fine. Its like a small price for the great service \m/

 
Join over 16,000 people who receive bi-weekly web marketing tips.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy.

Share This