How I Accumulated 40,000 Twitter Followers

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How I reached 40,000 followers on Twitter
I remember when I joined Twitter seven years ago. Within the first day, I had four followers, and I recall running out of my office and into the kitchen so I could tell my husband that four people were following me. “Me!” I said.

I was stoked.

I didn’t know back then that to gain followers you had to follow people, so I did nothing, aside from posting a few tweets every day.

Don’t Be a Twit

Then I did the worst thing possible. (I made other mistakes in those days but, hey, I was still learning.) I signed up for an application called TrueTwit. Basically, the application “verifies” that someone who follows you isn’t a bot or a spammer by making new followers type a captcha. If they don’t type the captcha, you can’t follow them back, assuming they’re worth following.

If someone locks down their account, preventing people from following, it’s their fault for being overly cautious. The result? Their account doesn’t grow. They are virtually turning their back to Twitter’s social experience and the opportunity to socialize with their readers and meet new readers as well as meet new colleagues.

When I used the application, I obviously didn’t know better. After a year or two, I might have had 100 followers. Then I read a radical suggestion. Someone recommended that anyone who used an app like TrueTwit should dump it immediately and start following 50 people a day.

I immediately dumped TrueTwit and started following my target demographic, authors.

By the end of the year, I gained about 5,000 followers, and my account grew from there to its present state of 40,000 followers.

So my first bit of advice is don’t use TrueTwit or any application that’s similar to it and if you want to have followers, you need to follow people. Actively start to follow 50 people a day. Starting now.

Unfollow Inactive Twitter Accounts

Not everyone you follow will follow you back. So after giving people a week or so to follow you back, you’ll need to unfollow them. Just say adios to them.

To unfollow these Twitter users, you’ll need to use an application such as Tweepi or ManageFlitter. I’ve used both apps, and I look them both. ManageFlitter also keeps track of inactive accounts (I believe Tweepi does too but I no longer use it) – those people who followed you but then stopped tweeting. I unfollow those accounts as well because I don’t want to tweet to inactive accounts.

ManageFlitter has quite a few awesome features. For example, it identifies bots and spam accounts, I profiled all of its features in a how-to post some time back. The instructions and screenshots haven’t changed, so I recommend that you visit it here.

Pay Attention to Trending Hashtags

Every day I take a look at trending hashtags. Sure, sometimes they’ll be about sports and TV shows but other times they will mention famous authors, #1LineFriday and other hashtags relevant to authors.

Trending hashtags


My point here is that you never know what you’ll find in trending hashtags. If you check them every day, you’ll no doubt find hashtags relating to writing, publishing, and reading. Friday reads often trends on Twitter as does NaNoWriMo in November.

Watching trending hashtags and then posting about them can help widen your circle of contacts and followers.

Be Sociable

My last tip is to be sociable.

As I’ve said many times, the essence of social media is to be social and sociable. So ask and answer questions. Say thank you. And be open to meeting new people.

What are your favorite Twitter tips?


Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference and a contributing writer at Frances wrote several social media books including Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, and finding new readers. Her clients have included authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for her free email course.

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  1. This is such a great post, Frances. I love the story about having those first four followers. I remember that feeling! I made my own mistakes along the way, and I actually started learning how to use Twitter as an author from one of your courses in 2015. The following others strategy is not only practical, it’s just plain SOCIAL…something many entrepreneurs (including authorpreneurs) forget in their social media practices.
    As I’ve used the principles gained from you, Joanna Penn, Anne R. Allen, and others, I’ve seen my own influence grow. Now I’m trying to help other businesses with the same issues, and it’s great. I’m even ghostwriting books now, and it all started with that first humble toe in the Twitter waters!

  2. I remember those early days, Frances, when I thought I’d hit the jackpot at 500 followers. At 5,000 I was seeing interaction and activity on Amazon. Now at 51,000+ followers I feel like I’m behind or lost in the crowd.

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