I know it sounds a bit sketchy, but let me make it more clear. I have gained 10K Twitter followers in around four months without software, bots, or payment! Oh, wait a minute; if you count Hootsuite and my payment to my personally trained small team, then I did use some extra help. 🙂
To be honest, it is not easy to get 10K REAL followers in 4 months if you are a solo-player or if you have a full-time job besides your online journey. I am a full-time freelancer who lives off online, so my whole day is bound to my keyboard and monitor. Please don’t get discouraged if you have just started off and have no one to help you out with your struggles. I am certain that you will eventually find your way out of nowhere, and see the light through your darkest time.
A Journey Started Two Years Ago
I registered the Twitter account in Jan, 2015, but let it dust till June, 2016. I had the thought to create my personal blog, but I was too busy minding my freelance projects. In June of last year, I started to think that if I didn’t make up my mind for that blog, I’d never see it come alive.
However, I didn’t start the blog immediately because I was gradually changing my main focus of marketing strategies from SEO to social media. I was tired of all the SEO tricks and playing around with “The Big G” algorism changes. I wanted to build my social audience first before switching on the blogging trigger.
I started to warm the Twitter account up by posting at least once a day, and retweeting some related authority content. I didn’t have a blog yet, so my sole mission was to share wonderful content and tweets of others!
I planned to start marketing for the account after two months of content sharing, but I was still tied up at that time. Then, I finally decided to reassemble a team since my time was fully occupied with freelancing jobs, and I got more jobs than I could handle myself.
I could tell you that working with a team is the best decision I have ever made. It let me accept more clients, but freed me from a 12-hour a day working on my computer. You don’t need a team if you are just diving into the online world. Set a reachable goal, and start off slowly. Eventually, you will get to a point where two hands are not enough.
After around 2 months of personally training my team, I let them take over some of my projects, including Bloggerian Twitter account. So, the actual marketing started in Oct, 2016.
A Warning on The Best Practice of Getting Followers
I am 100% sure that you have come across many online services that sell you thousands of followers for just a few bucks. It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Well, from my point of view, it is a horrifying nightmare. Those fake followers will not help your business but only jeopardize it. To be fair, it does look good when people check out your profile, and see you have tons of followers, but they will feel deceived when they look up your followers, and find out they all have similar names, bios, and avatars.
Also, buying followers and engagements is explicitly forbidden by Twitter; you could get your account banned for good.
Take a look at Twitter’s Rules below
How To Get 10K Followers The Proper Way
I know you may read a lot about how to get Twitter followers online, so I will make the guide easier for you.
There are only four steps:
- Schedule good content
- Retweet related authority tweets
- Engage with your followers and potential followers/customers/clients
- FOLLOW OTHER USERS
The first three steps are pretty obvious.
I will elaborate more on how to follow/unfollow users without breaching Twitter’s rules next.
Twitter Following/Unfollowing Guidelines
You can’t follow users blindly without a plan in mind. First of all, not all users are valued equally in your business. You only want followers who may be interested in your products or services. If a user finds out your account is irrelevant to his/her interests, he/she will ignore you and not follow you back for sure. Even if you follow a user who is interested in your niche, he/she might not follow you for various reasons. So don’t be disappointed by people who don’t follow you back, and care more about people who are already keen to see your new tweets.
Follow the Followers of your competitors
This is the best way to target your Twitter audience. Your competitors are your friends in terms of finding your ideal audience.
For example, in blogging niches, there are plenty of authority accounts from which I can follow their followers without thinking if those users are interested in my content.
This is just a small list of authority accounts in my niche. I always focus on a few at a time and try to find out which authority account gives me the best following/follow back ratio.
Account Age & Following/Unfollowing Limit
Twitter only allows following 5000 users total. When you hit the cap, you will face limitations on how many users you can follow depending on how many followers you currently have, your account age and other factors.
Read the Twitter official guideline on following rules.
You are also limited on how many you can follow/unfollow in a day or in an hour. Twitter never shares this limit to the public, but many social marketers have shared their experience with some equations.
From my own experience and practices, new accounts that are less than three months old need to be more careful with following/unfollowing practices. For a newly registered Twitter account, I will not start following users until it has at least 10-15 tweets.
If you read my previous posts, you’d know that I am not very good at math and statistics. I want things to be as simple as possible for me and my readers as well.
Let me free you from doing the calculations yourself by giving you some numbers of users you can follow for both new and old accounts. Those numbers are based on managing & marketing 100+ new & old Twitter accounts for my clients.
For a brand-new Twitter account:
- Start following your target audience after 10-15 tweets.
- Don’t post more than 3 tweets per day before you start following, which means start following users after at least 3 days.
- Always add your phone to your account. Sometimes, Twitter will mistake manual following as botting, and suspend your account. Then you can verify your account again by receiving an auto-generated call from Twitter with a code to unlock your account.
- Only follow 2-5 people an hour, do not exceed 25 people in a day.
For a Twitter account less than 3 months old but older than 1 month:
- Post as many tweets as you want, but I normally post 5 tweets at max in a day.
- Link your phone to your account if you haven’t done it yet because there is always a risk that Twitter would mistake manual following as auto-tools.
- Follow 25-45 users an hour, do not exceed 150 people in a day.
For an aged Twitter account, longer than 6 months:
- Post as many tweets as you want, but don’t spam your followers. It is really annoying to see one account keep popping up on one’s Twitter stream.
- Link your phone to your account, reason explained above.
- Follow 45-80 users an hour, do not exceed 800 per day.
The numbers provided above are the safest way to follow. You could use the same number for unfollowing.
Of course, you can always test your account and find your account limitation by topping those numbers that I have gathered from my experience. Most of the time, you would only get a temporary ban if you step across your account limit. However, I don’t encourage you to do that since god knows when Twitter feels blue and kills your account with no mercy.
In addition, you MUST always make sure you are sharing useful information to your followers. The reason why Twitter has those limitations is that they want to stop spammers as much as we all do. Stop thinking of Twitter as a way to generate leads and sales even if it is the main reason that businesses start using and marketing their Twitter accounts. Think of Twitter as an educational platform and support for your followers and potential customers instead. You will get more followers in this way than if you are simply using Twitter as a sales portal.
What About Using Auto-Tools or Bots?
No, no and no! It is tempting to use bots for marketing automation, but it can backfire unexpectedly. Sure, you think you might get away from Twitter’s banning hammer if you know what you are doing, but why put the social presence of your business in danger?
What tools have I been using for getting followers?
For now, I am only using Hootsuite to schedule useful tweets in advance, and human power from my team to retweet related authorities content. Scheduling tweets ahead is legit, and there is no risk of having your account banned unless you are scheduling tons of spammy links and unrelated crap.
Marketing Methods I haven’t Used So Far
Auto DM (Direct Message) Service
I am not a big advocate of auto DM simply because I don’t read auto DM myself. It is too easy to spot an auto-generated message, and sometimes, I find it more annoying than useful. I may use it in the future if I think it is necessary and complementary to my current marketing plans.
Auto Mentioning service
This is similar to auto DM service, and I have seen a lot of people using it. I can see the value of using an auto mentioning service other than auto DM, but I am still not convinced by weighing the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing an auto-engagement service.
Reach Out to Influencers
I am definitely going to reach out to some influencers in the blogging niche when I clear up my schedule a bit. It doesn’t matter what social platforms you are using, influencer marketing just works! However, you do need a lot of time to communicate with influencers and hopefully build trusted relationships with them. Alternatively, if you have a decent budget to spend on your social media marketing, doing social shoutouts via influencers is a great way to gain followers in a short time without following/unfollowing hassles.
A Truth Being Told
After reading this post, you may think that if I can get that many followers in 4 months, then you should be able to do the same. Unfortunately, I am afraid that I have to tell you…
No, you can’t!
It is not because I am trying to discourage you, you have to meet a few conditions before having a chance to get the same result.
First, you need to have a very aged account. This Twitter account was one and half years old when I started tweeting and I waited for another 4 months before following target users. Second, you must have enough time for your social media, ideally working full-time. I have a small team working for me right now, so I can follow/unfollow people every day without burning myself out. Third, your business needs to be global and in a popular business niche. Blogging is a very busy niche with new “experts”, and new “making-a-million-online” dreamers popping up every day. It is not hard to find a lot of similar Twitter accounts, and analyze their followers and practices. If you have a business that is strictly local or in a micro-niche, you may need more time and effort to get 10K followers.
What if you don’t plan to go through all the hassle of marketing, but still want to get real followers the proper and cost-effective way?
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your social media URLs and a brief business info. Let’s see what my team and I can do to bring your business to the next level through proven social marketing methods.