How I grew my Twitter Follower Count from 50 to 5,000.
Last week I wrote about 5 key things that I’ve learnt on my journey to 5,000 Twitter followers. In response to that post I received quite a few questions about how I actually got 5,000 followers. So, this is my uncensored account of how I grew my following on Twitter – the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ll preface this by saying that there are some things I would have done differently, and not everyone will agree with my strategy. That’s fine, you’re welcome to choose any social media strategy you wish!
I started my Twitter account in July, and had very little idea of how to grow my online presence, let alone my follower count. As I read up and observed the actions of other self-published authors on Twitter, I quickly made a few choices about how I would proceed. My tactics were as follows:
- I began by following authors from lists on Twitter that I had been added to. I found there are many indie authors out there who are keen to connect with and support other authors. Once you follow these writers, you get yourself onto their radar and they help you out from time to time with retweets, etc.
- The next thing I tried was connecting with other tweeting writers on Reddit. This worked really well, and I found myself with a whole lot of new followers, as well as some interesting content from fellow writers.
- The next bit is more controversial. After a while, I stumbled onto Justunfollow, an app that allows you to find people to follow & also track who’s following you back. I used this to locate people that I thought might be interested in following me and finding out about my writing. I would follow people who follow librarians, other writers in my genre, etc. My general rule was to follow people for a number of days, and slowly move through the list unfollowing those who didn’t follow me back if they weren’t providing any interesting content. Twitter has a ratio & limit on the number of people you can follow at once compared to your followers, so if you never unfollow anyone, you can’t grow using this method.
- As I started following more people, with more people following me back, I changed my content to be more engaging, and I found that my “drop off” rate people unfollowing me improved dramatically. If you’re following heaps of people but just spamming them with promos, they’ll either block you or unfollow you pretty quickly (Hence the things I learned in my previous article).
- On the downside, I found my Twitter feed getting completely cluttered with indie authors who constantly spruiked their work – I don’t want a completely useless Twitter feed, so I ended up unfollowing a lot of them. These aren’t the same helpful authors I mentioned earlier – these are people who just treat Twitter as a sales channel.
So that’s how I’ve grown my Twitter follower count to 5,000 people. I followed a process of following people who might be interested, then dropping them off after a week or so if they weren’t interested or their I found that their content wasn’t relevant. My Twitter following grew steadily, and I uncovered a number of engaged followers who provide interesting content and engage with my content. I definitely wouldn’t do everything the same, especially following so many people initially. It’s better to grow steadily than have a spike of awful content on your newsfeed. Twitter isn’t just a broadcast tool – it’s a way to interact with others. Treating it simply as a sales channel is a silly idea. And following too many people puts you in that danger zone.
I know a few readers will have concerns about my methods, so I’ll do my best to cover some here:
- Yes, I have followed and unfollowed a lot of people. But most people that have followed me have stuck around, and I’m happy with the engagement I get with my posts. I don’t follow people again if i’ve followed them once before.
- “But wouldn’t you rather have (X) amount of engaged followers than 5,000 useless ones?” Yeah, I understand that concern, and the fact is that I don’t always talk about my writing – but sometimes I do, and the amount of click-through to my website and books on Amazon I get from having a large Twitter audience is significant. Also, the links in my bio get on average 2 people clicking through a day. That kind of traffic isn’t easy to generate with less followers. I have data that shows that having more followers is driving engagement with my writing. If the data told me less followers was better, I’d follow that.
- Do my Twitter followers know I write/self-publish? I’d like to think so. I tweet about writing pretty regularly. You can check out my feed, though over the past few weeks I haven’t been writing much. I’ll be picking up my writing over the summer, especially once my writing assessment comes in, so I’ll start tweeting about that. I make it clear in my bio that I write, but I’m not going to constantly shove my writing down people’s throats – I post things that are relevant to writers, and things that I like in general.
Well, that’s about it. If you’re wondering if you can grow your Twitter audience, I say get out there and have a go – it’s much better to fail fast than to never try. Social media isn’t for everyone, but I’m getting great value out of it myself. I’ve done my best to be up front about the best and worst things I’ve done on my journey, and I hope it helps you as you build your Twitter audience!