How I reached 10,000 Twitter Followers in 4 months

How I Reached 10,000 Twitter Followers in 4 Months

Today’s article deviates from the personal finance topics I typically write about. If you’re interested in seeing more specific information to personal finance, feel free to check out my first interview on a podcast from this week by clicking here for the blog post or here for the iTunes download. Or, check out my brand new Start Here Page where I summarize my approach and philosophy to all things related to pursuing financial independence. Otherwise, stick around on this post and see my in-depth analysis of everything I’ve learned about Twitter in the past few months along with a how to guide on reaching 10,000 followers in less than 4 months, without spending a dollar.

In addition to reaching our great milestone of 100k in assets last month, I recently hit another big one: I reached 10,000 twitter followers. I’ve had a few dozen people reach out to me for advice and insights into what I’m doing to grow my Twitter following.

I’ve responded to individuals over the past few months but I finally decided to put all my information into one post.

You can consider this all my all-access guide to Twitter for 2016.

Before we dive into the nuts and bolts, I would just like to clarify that I am no Twitter expert. As with many items nowadays, technology changes at such a rapid pace that even if I was an expert today, chances are high that Twitter will be a different beast by the end of the year.

With that said, I also wanted to add that I do feel confident that this guide can work for anyone because I’ve seen others put these steps into practice and they’ve seen immediate results.

If it works for them and for me, then it can work for anyone.

When I first started my Twitter page, I was actually so self-concious of what to tweet that my girlfriend sent my first tweet.

It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to tweet, it was that I didn’t know what to say.

I quickly learned what a retweet looked like compared with a quote tweet. I also picked up on how to send a message to someone (hint: you type out the message and end with @usersname) and I learned how #hashtags worked. I also picked up on how a username is referred to as someone’s, “handle”. These might seem like common knowledge to some of you, but I had no idea.

It took me 15 days to reach 100 followers and that made me ecstatic. I couldn’t’ believe I had that many followers so quickly. My first fifteen days was exploring what to do & what not to do when it comes to Twitter. I developed a strategy of sorts and decided to stick with it.

Within the next 105 days I gained 10,000 followers.

This all happened without buying followers or spending a dollar on automation software. As a side note, politicians, celebrities & large companies will buy a large amount of followers early on to make their tag more popular. To think about it another way, if we stumbled upon our favorite artist and he had only 6 followers, we would think it was a fake account and not follow. Buying followers creates an early snowball-rolling-down-a-hill effect for these accounts and, in an ironic way, a certain level of “authenticity”.

With such rapid success on my own Twitter handle, I wanted to write out my step by step FREE guide to Twitter for others out there with the dual purpose of; A). gaining an immediate following for something new, and B). gaining that following in a stress free manner.

After writing this post, I reread it and WISHED I had such a resource starting out. The reason I say this is because Twitter was a source of stress for me through various stages early on. Knowing what to do and setting up various tools outlined below to AUTOMATE parts of the process have eliminated all the stress related to Twitter. As a result, I saw rapid growth and great interaction with followers.

This approach has worked for me, but you might find areas you can tweak. If you do, please share your tips in the comments!

I hope I haven’t lost you at this point, because now it’s time to break this whole thing down.

Twitter Guide

 

  1. Tweet often. By often, I mean at least 3 times a day. I often tweet between 7-8am CST (I live in Chicago so I am in Central Standard Time), around 12-1pm, and again around 4-5pm (CST). This way you’re reaching people on their commute to work,, their lunch break, and their commute home. Somewhere along the way I started to tweet 6 times a day by pushing out two tweets in each of those windows to adjust for US time zones.
  2. Engage with anyone who likes, retweets, or messages you, but do avoid automated messages. Retweet something that you actually find valuable.
  3. Speaking of Retweeting… Retweet other people’s stuff. I was up to 2,000 followers before I posted anything related to my own site. I think people came to see my feed as a good aggregator of other people’s sites. In this regard, I demonstrated adding value back to the group without seeking too much for myself. Selflessness pays off with Twitter.
  4. Targeted following. I got this strategy from a great Millennial Money Man article on growing a new blog. The approach is basically; A). find an influential person who tweets out material similar to yours, B). follow his followers, maybe 100 at a time, C). wait and watch as maybe 20-50 follow back. With this approach, it is a win-win because you are offering those followers the same type of information via your tweets, so make sure you’re tweeting high quality material. As mentioned on M$M’s post, the limit per day is 1,000 follows, so do not follow 1,000 people daily or your account might become suspended.
  5. Manage Flitter. After racking up followers, it is smart to go in and unfollow anyone who hasn’t followed you back. Nowadays, I’ll basically unfollow anyone if they don’t follow me back within a week. I didn’t know how to do this properly, until Manage Flitter came along. The best part is this feature is 100% free, so I see it as must have if you’re serious about Twitter. I know ManageFlitter has a few extra paid features, but I haven’t seen a need for those services.
  6. Follow back anyone who follows you, except try to avoid spam accounts. ManageFlitter helps again here because it will tell you which accounts are inactive or are spam accounts.
  7. This one might be obvious, but when crafting up the 140 character golden nugget of information on a new article, try to come up with at least three per article. See which ones receive more responses and try to hone in on what is working.I like to tweet out the title along with two great quotes from the article itself. It can be difficult to summarize an article so sometimes it might be easier to summarize one particular piece of the article instead.

    8. SocialOomph or Buffer. Within the automation realm, I rely on SocialOomph to automatically post my tweets at a specific time and date. I’ve started to use Buffer and it looks like each service deliver the same results, so deciding which to use is a matter of personal preference. One note on Buffer, their suggested times received about half of the interaction compared to what I’ve learned as the best times to tweet through SocialOomph & ManageFlitter. Try out a few different posting schedules and see what works based on your followers and target audience.

    9. As you become more comfortable with automation, you’ll see it is easy to creep up to 10+ tweets a day. The lifespan of a tweet is about 30 minutes, so tweeting twice an hour is not too much.

Pencils down! Ahhh, that was quite a lot of information!

Wait, one more piece of advice:

Have fun with it.

For me, Twitter has been a love/hate relationship because it took a lot of time and stress for me to figure things out. Now, I can safely say any and all negative feelings have gone away and I feel the process is smooth.

Alright, well that was probably WAY more detail into Twitter than you were expecting. At the least, I hope you can now go through the process smoother than me!

As mentioned above, I’m confident you can take this approach and reach 10,000 followers in less than 3 months. It took me 4 months, but there was a lot of trial and error in that process.

Let me know if there’s anything helpful that I’ve missed here. If anything wasn’t clear or you had follow up questions, you can reach out via my contact page. If you decide to give this approach a try, please check back and leave a comment on the results.

Matt

45 comments… add one
  • Vicki@MSDLifeCoaching Jun 17, 2016, 5:53 am

    Thanks so much for this Matt! The social media piece of blogging is a very new “world” to me and I too was worried about whatever I was typing. I will be using this over the next week to build (hopefully real!) followers. Thanks for “deviating” from your norm a bit today to help out your readers!

    • Distilled Dollar Jun 17, 2016, 6:11 am

      An unstated benefit in this approach is that you’ll be able to see if the people you are following are real accounts or not. Sure, some might slip through, but the fake accounts will become more and more obvious to you over time.

  • Apathy Ends Jun 17, 2016, 6:26 am

    Great info Matt, I have been using a similar strategy and if you are consistent you will see results quickly.

    The weeks I do the little things you talk about I end up with 3-4x followers vs weeks I don’t have time for it

    • Distilled Dollar Jun 19, 2016, 10:59 am

      Glad you found the info helpful! Now when people ask me about Twitter, I won’t feel bad for giving them a quick response of, “read this post here”.

  • Jax Jun 17, 2016, 7:37 am

    Thanks for this! I am also a very nervous tweeter but am gaining confidence day by day. Has the increase in Twitter followers translated into more readership for your blog?

    • Distilled Dollar Jun 19, 2016, 11:20 am

      Thanks for the comment Jax. I don’t have much to compare it to, but you can see based on my actions that I do feel Twitter is valuable. Twitter has led to some of my best connections and it continues to draw in new people each week.

  • Jon Jun 17, 2016, 8:26 am

    Matt, this is great info, thanks for sharing! The 10,000 number seems daunting, but when you break it down, it’s only a few hundred a day which is really not unrealistic. A good strategy, consistently applied makes for huge gains over time.

    A question about #7 above, as I’m pretty new to Twitter myself. Are you saying that you’ll tweet out the same article/post three at three different times with different language each time to see which one performs best and then continue promoting that one?

    I’ve been following a similar but much less disciplined approach for the past couple of weeks and just broke 900 followers this morning. I’ve still got a long way to go and will take your advice to start tweeting more frequently.

    • Distilled Dollar Jun 19, 2016, 11:28 am

      For new posts, I follow this tweeting schedule:
      3 tweets the day of (usually right when I post, an hour later and then 3-4 hours later).
      2 tweets the next day
      1 tweet two days later
      1 tweet 1 week later usually as a “in case you missed last week’s post…”

      Then from there, I’ll see which tweets did well and which articles were received well and I’ll retweet those more often. With a full week of info, that means I’ve given each variation of the tweet at least 2, possibly 3 attempts to see what type of traction it gained. The successful ones stick around. That’s why I’ll still tweet out articles from a few months ago because each time I do, they see a few new readers.

      • Jon Jun 19, 2016, 12:20 pm

        Thanks for sharing your strategy, Matt. It seems to make sense and you’re giving your content a good chance to be seen and/or shared.

  • Jim @ Route To Retire Jun 17, 2016, 9:39 am

    I appreciate this article, Matt – although I’m a technical guy, Twitter is not a love of mine, so this is pretty helpful. It looks like we’re already doing some of the same things. Right now I use Hootsuite (which is fantastic) and Hootlet to tweet articles I come across and particularly to retweet my own posts. However, I’m still not good at changing up the actual text of the tweet so maybe I need to spend some more time doing that.

    I’m also going to take your advice on following followers of people that tweet similar topics out and see how that does for me.

    Thanks again!

    — Jim

    • Distilled Dollar Jun 19, 2016, 11:30 am

      I hear Hootsuite is also great, but I haven’t used it myself.

      It is nice to see you found the review helpful! Let me know how it goes.

  • Matt Spillar Jun 17, 2016, 10:57 am

    Great article, thanks for sharing all these tips! I’ve tried a few of these so far, with limited success, so hopefully adding a few more of these will do the trick. Your Twitter success is very impressive!

    -Matt

    • Distilled Dollar Jun 19, 2016, 11:32 am

      Yeah, I haven’t seen as much success when I only tried a few of these tricks. Let me know how it goes when you incorporate more of these steps into your process.

  • Kate@TaxOptimizedInvestment Jun 17, 2016, 11:03 am

    This is super helpful. I also noticed that I get more response and follows when I post midnight my time (PST).

    • Distilled Dollar Jun 19, 2016, 11:33 am

      I also noticed this in the past week or two. I used to tweet only during the day, but I find a small surge of people reading the site very late at night. Thanks for the comment Kate and good to see you found it helpful.

  • Physician On FIRE Jun 17, 2016, 1:39 pm

    I’m not sure what to make of Twitter. Seems like a lot of people shouting and maybe a handful listening. That being said, I’m on it most days, new posts are auto-tweeted (@0400, I should change that), and I will interact with others a bit here and there.

    Thanks for sharing your strategy. Obviously, it’s working for you. I have noticed that following creates some followers, but I’ve let the followers trickle in for the most part.

    How much traffic do you see from Twitter? Looks like we have similar Alexa numbers, but you’ve got 30x the Twitter followers. Is it worth the effort to create a large portfolio of followers?

    Thanks!
    -PoF

    • Distilled Dollar Jun 19, 2016, 11:49 am

      I just checked my sources of traffic and wasn’t surprised to see Twitter as my #1 source for users. The nice aspect about twitter is that it tends to compound on itself. On days where I am not actively following others, I am seeing more and more people follow me first. As each week goes by the traffic from Twitter is only growing, so I find value in spending the few hours each week to set it up.

      Again, as mentioned above I’m bias since I don’t have any other social media profiles. I might be coming back to this post in a few months to tell you Twitter is not the way to go and that Facebook or Pinterest is driving more traffic. Despite that, Twitter isn’t taking up much time at all for me now, so I think I would continue to do this, especially this early into my site where I do have the time for one on one conversations.

      Between each of the steps above, I can’t imagine someone spending more than a 3-4 hours each week to build up an audience. The largest amount of time might be spent trying to figure out what the actual tweets should say or the responses in individual one on one conversations.

      • Physician on FIRE Jun 19, 2016, 6:10 pm

        Nice. It sounds like it would be worth the effort. let the FollowFest begin!

        -PoF

  • Financial Samurai Jun 17, 2016, 2:21 pm

    WOW! Now that is impressive! I think it took me 5 YEARS to get to 10K followers. And in those years, sometimes I felt it was necessary to step away from Twitter and focus on my site. It’s fun, but it gets distracting.

    But at your pace, you will be at 100K followers in 5 years no problem! Now that would make Twitter a significant traffic driver!

    Sam

    • Distilled Dollar Jun 19, 2016, 11:54 am

      Thanks Sam! 100k sounds extremely daunting, but then again, so did 10k when I started. I recall telling my girlfriend that I wanted to reach 1k followers at the end of my 2nd month, which felt extremely ambitious at the time.

  • Thias @It Pays Dividends Jun 18, 2016, 10:21 am

    I have been working to be more engaged on Twitter since it is easier to interact with a wide variety of people. I have focused on it in spurts but when I have, I have used similar strategies you lined out. Thanks for the tip on ManageFlitter. I will need to check it out!

    • Distilled Dollar Jun 19, 2016, 12:00 pm

      ManageFlitter has been great! A lot of the fake accounts out there seem real and genuine at first, so it is nice to see through the veil at times using ManageFlitter.

  • Ty @ Get Rich Quickish Jun 18, 2016, 5:25 pm

    Dang, Matt – those are come crazy numbers. Congrats on the success! I’m torn on one of your strategies and would love your thoughts.

    Follow-for-follow seems to be the quickest way to get a large Twitter following. But my thought has been that those type of followers are disengaged and don’t lead to retweets, mentions, blog traffic & comments, etc., which is exactly what I’m looking for.

    Are you seeing a lot of blog traffic from Twitter? Based on your followers, I think you should see a TON, but if not then I’d wonder if the big numbers, built using the follow-for-follow strategy, really matter all that much? If you are then I’m going to need to rethink my strategy! 🙂

    Thanks for taking the time to write this up and sharing your knowledge! This is really helpful.

    • Distilled Dollar Jun 19, 2016, 12:08 pm

      Thanks Ty and I’m glad you find the post valuable. It definitely helped me to put it all into one post to clear out my thoughts on each aspect of Twitter.

      As mentioned on another comment, I looked over my last thirty days of traffic and saw that Twitter is my number 1 source of users. Also, I know the traffic from Twitter is growing each month, so there is a compound effect going on that I would expect to see continue into at least the short to medium term future.

      At the end of it all, this approach doesn’t take up much time. I think I spend about 3-4 hours a week on Twitter, but I used to spend more before I fine tuned the automation aspects. Given this, even if I find a great source of traffic when I start a new social media profile, I’ll probably still maintain the 3-4 hours I spend on Twitter each week.

      • Ty @ Get Rich Quickish Jun 20, 2016, 3:09 pm

        Thanks, Matt. I’m quite pleased with the engagement I get my from ~300 followers, but I’m spending A LOT more time on Twitter than you are. I’m not too proud to admit with I’m wrong – in this case it looks like I need to rethink my Twitter strategy. Thanks again for the post.

  • Stefan @Mllnnlbudget Jun 19, 2016, 10:58 am

    Nice article there Matt. We have spoken a lot about this topic and it is nice to see you finally get that article out! Getting to 10k so quickly is no easy feat. I am almost at the 5k mark in 2 months thanks to your strategy but I know after 5k it gets a lot harder.

    My biggest concern with Twitter is the “noise” the platform has. Tweets get lost so easily that engagement is not as high as people hope for with a large following. Luckily automation helps with this process!

    Best of luck growing your following!

  • Beth Jun 23, 2016, 9:42 am

    Finance aside — this post is amazing and I really appreciate it. I am totally going to see what happens when I follow your guide. THANKS!

  • Pamela Jun 24, 2016, 12:41 pm

    Social media world is also very new to me. This article has proven to be very helpful. Thanks for putting this together

    • Distilled Dollar Jun 26, 2016, 2:43 pm

      Ya, I know this article will remove much of the learning curve for anyone new to Twitter, but I also hope it removes the stress revolved around learning Twitter. I know I wish this guide was available when I started, but at least now it will be there to help out others. 🙂

  • Cindy @ Smart Family Money Jul 8, 2016, 11:10 pm

    I apologize if this is a dumb question, but why is it important to unfollow those who don’t follow you back? Is there some disadvantage to following them? I’m not focusing on building a twitter following yet and have mostly only been following those who I think I might find interesting.

    • Distilled Dollar Jul 10, 2016, 12:22 pm

      In your case, then it makes sense not to unfollow anyone. I did the same at the beginning and only followed the people I was interested in.

      When I started to try and grow my audience, I reached out to follow many more people who I wasn’t 100% sure it would be a fit. I basically waited to see if they wanted to follow me back. After enough time, if they didn’t follow back, then that was my queue that they didn’t want to hear what I had to say and so I unfollowed them.

      I hope that answers your question, but let me know if it doesn’t.

      • Cindy @ Smart Family Money Jul 10, 2016, 12:36 pm

        Ok that makes sense. Thank you. I see in Manage Flitter that it lists a ratio of followers to following. Is this a metric that a person would want to be concerned with on their own account? For example, if I am following 1,000 people and only 500 are following me, is that a bad thing?

        • Distilled Dollar Jul 10, 2016, 12:54 pm

          I used to look at the followers to following ration in Manage Flitter, but then realized it was taking up way too much time. This was one of the many items that I eliminated to get my Twitter time down to a few hours each week.

          As for the actual ratio being good/bad, I’m not so sure what is considered “good” or “bad”. Once you hit 10k followers, you’re only allowed to follow at most, 110% of the number of people following you. So, at 10k followers, you can follow 11k. At 11k, you can follow 12.1k, etc. From there, your ratio will basically stick around 1:1.1.

  • Dollar Engineer Jul 11, 2016, 11:33 pm

    Thank you so much for this awesome guide! And so glad I ran into this article just a couple days since creating my blog and Twitter account.

    • Distilled Dollar Jul 21, 2016, 6:19 am

      I’m glad you were able to check it out just in time. Let me know how it goes!

  • Frugal Familia Jul 15, 2016, 4:54 pm

    As a new blogger and completely new to the whole social media thing this def has some good info although I have a couple questions;
    1) When following others do you follow anybody/everybody? Personally I find people who post too frequently somewhat an annoyance. If you’re following 10,000 people and they are all posting 10-20 times a day how in the heck do you keep up with your wall?
    2) Have you seen a direct correlation between followers/visitors to your site? I suppose this is a quality vs quantity argument. How many of your 10k followers do you think are genuinely engaged in your content?

    • Distilled Dollar Jul 22, 2016, 9:12 am

      I agree on following people who post too frequently. It becomes tough to avoid the noise and focus in on the right signals.

      My short answer is, it depends on who you choose to follow.

      The longer answer is, the adage, garbage in, garbage out can be applied here. From my perspective, Twitter has led to a successful blog, it has created one on one relationships with other bloggers that is priceless, and I get to communicate with readers 1 on 1. Obviously, I get the benefits of having retweets, likes & public discussions as well.

      From a purely traffic perspective, Twitter has been my number one source of traffic outside of people coming directly to my site (without clicking on anything).

      I hope that helps answer your questions!

  • Staci @Streamline365 Jul 20, 2016, 1:45 am

    Thanks so much for the great info! New to Twitter so you are right, it has a big learning curve. Also-congrats on your big $100,000 milestone, excited to see your number grow! I love it when people share valuable info instead of hoarding it, there is room for everyone! Thanks again.

    • Distilled Dollar Jul 22, 2016, 9:14 am

      Thanks Staci. We are were pretty happy about that milestone too!

      Sharing the knowledge is what got me to where I am today, since I learned from reading other books and blogs about personal finance. Growing up, my parents never talked about money so I naturally picked up on the behaviors of middle-class America. Sadly, many of these can be extremely destructive to leading a financially free life.

  • Ellie@frugalitygivesusoptions.com Jul 29, 2016, 2:59 pm

    Thanks so much for this. I’m a new blogger and an even newer Twitterer and I must admit Twitter seems to be a very weird beast. Just so fast and some who I follow pump out the same stuff again and again. I’ll be implementing some of these strategies though to try to build things up over the coming days.

    Thanks again 🙂

    • Distilled Dollar Jul 29, 2016, 3:43 pm

      I’m glad you like it! Let me know how it goes!

      Twitter has been instrumental in the early success of my blog so I’m confident you’ll see the same results over time.

  • Ms. Montana Aug 19, 2016, 2:56 pm

    100k is awesome! I was so freaking excited when we hit that mark! That first 100k came slowwww, especially beings we started 50k in the hole. But things will start to move faster for you now. Looking forward to your next big milestones!

  • Gerald Nov 10, 2016, 2:11 pm

    Well, and there I was, happy to have finally broken the wall of 500 followers.

    3 of whom just unfollowed me.

    I think this is one of the cases where it does really help to have a well-defined topic. My blog developed over time, became a little more focused on a theme – that of making oneself at home in the world rather than overlooking everything and living superficially, just because it’s all familiar – over that time, but is still mainly about diverse topics within that theme, as I get interested in them.
    That’s nice for interest, but not good for the consistency that makes it, not the least, easy to find established people with large numbers of followers.

    Still an interesting read you created there – and as you may have deduced from our recent twitter conversation, I’m thinking of writing at least a little bit about the topic of money… It’s been an issue, and something I myself overlooked out of sheer familiarity…

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