In this article I explain step for step how I grew my audience on Twitter: the exact tactics and tools I used to grow from (almost) zero to 1K followers and beyond. All while being as respectful of my time as I could: it takes only 10 minutes a day to grow my audience now that the basics are set up. I give you the exact behind the scenes and step for step instructions I wish I had when I started out. If you want to grow your Twitter account as fast as you can without caring about your audience en what you tweet, this article is not for you. If you want to build an audience of followers who like and engage with you and your content, please read on.
A few days ago, I celebrated this small win with my Mastermind buddy Johnny of the SoCal Live Music Review:
Even though it’s a vanity metric, I had set a goal for my Twitter growth. As I set my goals in triplets nowadays, it looked like this:
- By June 23, I will have 1500 followers on Twitter by connecting with my audience and sharing valuable content (my Attainable goal)
- By June 23, I will have 2000 followers on Twitter by connecting with my audience and sharing valuable content (my Stretch goal)
- By June 23, I will have 3000 followers on Twitter by connecting with my audience and sharing valuable content (my Champagne Goal)
And of course, I had written them down:
Now, by the time I’m writing this article (May 6th), I haven’t reached the target date (June 23th) yet but I’m well on my way to reach my goal. I also felt like 1K followers was a cool milestone and even though it felt silly, I was proud of the progress I made.
(As a side note: in 2016, the average Twitter user has 707 followers. If you omit the top 0.06% accounts that number drops even lower to 453 followers per account)
When starting out on a social network without an existing following, it’s often not easy to get enough traction to get to that “critical mass” point where you don’t look like a newbie or spam account that can’t be trusted. By crossing the 1K mark, I felt like I had reached that point.
How It Started
Even though I had registered my handle in December 2017, I sent my first tweet on February 21:
— Kristof (@habitgrowth) February 21, 2018
I’m a big fan of Pat (#TeamFlynn) and learned a lot about online business from him, so this was a kind of “tribute” or “thanks” for all he does for the community.
As this was my first “real” experience with The Twitterz I dabbled around a bit, following friends and influencers and trying to figure out what to do. Although I didn’t really know where this would end up, I was committed to growing my account as I grow my business: In an honest and transparent way (Integrity is part of my personal mission statement for a good reason), so I wanted to truly connect with my audience and to give as much value as I could.
I decided to take my time MORE seriously
As I soon realized that growing a new social media account can take up a lot of your time (and easily move your focus away from more important things), I decided to sign up with ManageFlitter. It’s an online tool that helps you with following and unfollowing Twitter users (more on that later). Before this, I had done this manually a few days and I quickly realized that a tool like ManageFlitter could potentially save me a lot of time. And anything that saves me time makes me happy 🙂
I started out with the free plan to get a feel for the tool and the functionalities it offers. I used the free plan for about a month before I decided to go with the “Pro” plan. At that time I had 133 followers.
By then I had decided that Twitter is the social media platform where I wanted to build a presence, as this is where my target audience (entrepreneurs) hangs out. As mentioned before, I wanted to do this properly so I started with the intention to provide value to my followers. As I only had a few articles on my site at the time, I decided to add 3 types of additional content:
Tweets related to entrepreneurial mindset (3 times a week)
Being an entrepreneur is awesome, but it’s definitely not easy. There are a lot of mindset shifts that need to happen. I had written on some of these topics before, like my article on why you don’t need more motivation, but these were just short tweets to get you through the day.
Make money or make excuses. You can't do both!
— Kristof (@habitgrowth) May 3, 2018
I schedule 3 of these tweets per week with Missinglettr, a tool that helps you promote your blog posts on your social media accounts. It also has a scheduling functionality like Buffer, so I use that as much as I can.
Quotes (with image) related to time management (daily)
Finding the first 100 quotes was easy. Finding the next 200 was challenging. The last 50 were hard to find. But in the end, I had a list of a little more than 360 quotes. Next step was to get each of them in an image. I had almost outsourced this task to someone on Fiverr when my girlfriend stepped in and offered to help (thanks honey!).
To create the images, I used RelayThat (I bought a lifetime deal on AppSumo) to create them as quickly and frictionless as possible. I must say that I’m impressed with the tool. A good free alternative would be Pablo.
— Kristof (@habitgrowth) May 7, 2018
Relevant articles related to time management or entrepreneurship (daily)
Whenever I come across an article (on other sites than mine) that I like, I share it with my audience. I either share it immediately, schedule it with MissingLettr or use the CrowdFire app to find and share relevant articles.
How I attracted attention
While sharing valuable content on your timeline is a must, this only gets you far. The best content in the world can’t help you if nobody sees it. So I used ManageFlitter on a daily basis to get the attention of my target audience (entrepreneurs).
Now, there are two ways to use ManageFlitter: the proper way and the spammy way. Don’t be a douchebag, okay?
There are 4 steps I do daily to grow my audience and keep my account clean:
- Follow accounts that I think are interested in my content
- Unfollow spam accounts
- Unfollow inactive accounts
- Unfollow the accounts that don’t follow me back
These four steps take about 10 minutes a day and have helped me with consistent growth. Of course, I could not have done this without valuable content on my timeline.
Step 1: Follow accounts that I think are interested in my content
To get in front of people that I think will like my content, I follow them in the hope they will check out my profile and follow me back if they like my content. So far, about 24,4% of the people I follow, follow me back, which I think is a pretty decent metric.
To decide which accounts to follow I created a few filters in ManageFlitter’s power mode.
First, I created a filter of accounts that had the word solopreneur in their bio, along with these other characteristics:
- Only active accounts (tweeted at least once in the last month)
- Only accounts with a profile image (aka no “egg” accounts)
- Only public accounts
- No offensive accounts
- At least 200+ followers
- A followers to following ratio of 2 or less
- Tweeted at least 100 times
- Spam probability of 20% or less
I used the same filter to find accounts with the word entrepreneur in their bio.
A second filter I created was to find followers of influencers in my space (think people like Pat Flynn, Chris Ducker, John Lee Dumas, Michael O’Neal, Jaime Masters, …) togethwer with the same set of requirements as the previous filter:
Because I wanted to grow sustainably and not trigger any possible spam triggers, I followed a limited amount of accounts, relative to how many followers I had myself. I settled on these numbers and followed them strictly:
Step 2: Unfollow spam accounts
After I followed some accounts I’m interested in, I run a quick filter to check if there are any spam accounts that slipped through the cracks, which I unfollow:
Step 3: Unfollow inactive accounts
About once a week, I check if there are accounts that have gone inactive for more than 2 months, which I unfollow too:
Step 4: Unfollow the accounts that don’t follow me back
Honestly, I wish I didn’t have to do this step. I really want to connect with other entrepreneurs, but if they’re not interested in what I have to offer (which I don’t blame them, my content is not for everyone) I can’t keep following them forever if I want to keep my following-to-follower ratio healthy.
Fortunately, ManageFlitter makes this really easy:
Below are the settings I use. I always wait at least 3 days after I unfollowed them and I also have a list of accounts that I never want to unfollow. Regardless if they follow me back or not.
Until this day, these are the 4 steps I do daily. It’s not rocket science (it shouldn’t be), but this is the guide I wish I had read when I started out.
And actually, that’s about it! Of course, I also have conversations (both publicly and via DM) with my followers and generally just have fun like with this guy below:
Wow, thanks for the praise [FIRSTNAME] [LASTNAME]! Always great to receive a personal welcome tweet
— Kristof (@habitgrowth) April 18, 2018
Okay, time for the tl;dr of this post:
- I focused on valuable content to share with my audience
- I tried to attract the kind of audience that would resonate with my material (mainly entrepreneurs)
- I consistently tweet 3 types of (valuable) content
- A quote with an image (daily)
- A relevant article on time management, productivity or entrepreneurship (daily)
- A mindset tweet related to entrepreneurship (3 times a week)
- I use ManageFlitter to follow and unfollow accounts in 4 steps
- Follow tweeps with an interest similar to my content
- Unfollow spam accounts
- Unfollow inactive accounts
- Unfollow accounts that don’t follow me back after 3 days
And to summarize my tool stack:
If you’ve read this far and we aren’t friends yet, why don’t you connect with me on Twitter and subscribe to my awesome newsletter below? You know that, as a time management coach, I’ll be respectful of your time 😉