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How to Build a Twitter Following from Scratch

How to get followers on Twitter for free is probably one of the question I got the most since I hit the 10k followers milestone on my personal account. I’ve worked for almost a year to achieve this, there is no shortcut!

I already wrote a quick post about twitter audience a year ago, but I learn a ton since then. I decided to publish everything that I learned about it, so you can grow your Twitter following as well!


1. Create the perfect Twitter profile

Name & Handle:

Choose a name that is easy to remember and easy to pronounce. Your Twitter handle should be as close as possible to the name you choose.

That’s super important because people will search for your profile when mentioning you as you start growing your account.

Try some iterations to find the perfect handle (you can use namechk.com for that) If you cannot find the perfect name, try these hacks:

For a personal account:

  • First name + last name (separated with a ‘_’ if needed)
  • The first letter of your first name + last name
  • Switch first and last name
  • Condense your first and last name

For a professional account

You can add these suffixes to your name:

  • HQ
  • APP
  • Or add your domain extension like myappio or myappcom

πŸ’‘ Don’t use any prefix in your handle (like hey… or i_am…). It will be harder to find you via Twitter search.

Profile Picture:

If you want to create a professional Twitter account, I highly recommend using your face as your profile picture.

Use a nice shot of your face and shoulders, remove the background, add a color (or a gradient) that will help you stand out in other’s timeline.

πŸ’‘ Check out Brandbird to create your perfect profile pic

Profile Banner

Use your banner as a marketing asset. It will be the first people will notice when they open your profile.

Make it actionable with a Call to Action: _“Follow me and turn on notifications.”

Explain what kind of content you’ll share, Express your personality. People should understand right away why they should follow you and what to expect if they do. Be super clear about it.

πŸ’‘ You can use canva to make your banner. If you want something more dynamic, check-out Blackmagic

Bio

Your bio is super important. Having a good bio will increase your “conversion rate” - the number of new followers/ number of visits to your profile.

It should:

  • Show what kind of content you’re going to share
  • Show some credibility
  • Be actionable
  • Show what type of content you’re going to share

There are thousands of Twitter accounts out there. Even more, if you’re brand new? Why should I follow you? That’s the question your bio should answer to.

β†’ Explain what you’re going to share: what kind of content, about what topics, how frequently, etc..

Credibility

Put your track record in your bio, and tell us why we should trust you. That’s super important! I would follow a new account way more easily if he told me he had a $10M ARR startup!

Be actionable

Add a link in your bio with a call to action. It can be your website, your newsletter, your gumroad page…

πŸ’‘ You can use your location as CTA πŸ’Œ Twitter recently bought getrevue.co. You can add your newsletter (and a subscribe button) directly on your Twitter profile!

Examples of good Twitter profiles:

HeyBernie twitter profile

  • The avatar is recognizable and shows the face of the owner + he uses unique colors
  • We understand right away why we should follow him
  • His banner is super actionable

⚠️ Small tips: He uses his location as a call to action!

HeyBlack twitter profile

  • The avatar is recognizable and funny
  • His banner contains keywords of why we should follow him
  • Nice color scheme
  • The bio is essentially about his HUGE track record (the 77k helps!)

aadith twitter profiledf

  • Nice hand made avatar

  • His banner helps to understand what content he’ll share and how impactful it can be - super smart!

  • Super simple bio (too simple for a small account), but see how he plugged 2 CTA here.

    blackhatwizard

  • Interesting to see a big anonymous account

  • His banner shows his value proposition

  • His bio is all about Social proof. It helps us trust him and buy his course!

  • Again, he has 2 CTA in his bio!

β†’ If you want more examples of an excellent Twitter bio, check out the thread I made about it.


2. Get your first followers

Choose a topic

You need to choose a couple of specific topics and stick to them. Don’t use your professional account to talk about politics or sports if you want to build an audience of startup founders. Please create another account for that and focus 100% on your content.

Post valuable content daily!

Nobody will follow you if your profile is empty. The first thing to do is to start posting tweets, valuable ones!

What to tweet:

  • Tweet about what you’re doing - what you learned recently
  • Share advice for the person you were two years ago
  • Curate the best tweets/threads you liked and shared them in a thread
  • Build your product in public!

Follow the influencers

Once you have your niche identified, look for influencers in this particular topic.

By influencers, I mean someone with several thousand followers and who’s regularly quoted by others. Follow them and start interacting with them. Add as much value as you can to their comment.

⚠️ Activate the notifications for every tweet of these influencers and jump in the comments.

Make Friends

Follow people in your niche and start interacting with them as much as possible. When you begin, try to interact with EVERY tweet,EVERY day! Don’t spam, of course, but try to help people in your community.

Feel free to jump in the DM when you start making connections.

It’s a great way to have a closer relationship with someone! Your content will be shown priority to all the people you interacted with and the people you DMed recently.

Be consistent

Last point but not least, be consistent!

You should spend at least 30 min each day on Twitter if you’re serious about it. Create at least a tweet a day (threads get better engagement), participate in conversations, and follow up in the DM.

There is a big debate about the optimal number of tweets you should produce by day. The more you create, the better. That’s even more true when you’re just getting started! I’d say don’t do less than one tweet a day.

Write threads

Threads are the type of content that brings you more attention and engagement. A Twitter thread is several tweets under the initial tweets - it’s a way to create bigger content than the 280-character limit.

πŸ’‘ Making a thread by listing the people you like on Twitter or the tools you’re using (and mentioning them) is a great way to get quick exposure when you’re just getting started.

The hook

The first tweet of a Twitter thread is called a “hook” it’s about making people click to see more. Use image/GIF if you can. Try to be super catchy.

The content

You can add as many Tweets as you want to a thread. Here are a few rules to make it more readable.

  • Use Bullet points! Huge paragraphs of text are super hard to read, don’t do that.
  • Use GIFs or images in your tweets. It catches more attention
  • Add a title in your thread to separate the different points/sections. It helps the readability.
  • Use emoticon
  • TL;DR: At the end of your thread, you can add a quick summary with only the titles of your threads. It helps to scan your content.
  • CTA: The last tweet of your threads should be a call to action, something like:

Twitter thread CTA example

πŸ’‘ Threads are hard to write in the Twitter app. I use TweetHunter to write mine and schedule them.


3. Road to 1000+ followers

Measure & Recycle

“Creating content is, most times, saying the same thing repeatedly but in 100 different ways.” Now that you have tweeted a lot, you should have enough data to measure what works and what doesn’t.

A good metrics for that are:

  • Engagement - how many likes/RT by impressions
  • Profile clicks - how many people visited your profile after reading a tweet.
  • Collect the best tweets, and try to rephrase them or change the format. You can transform a single tweet into a thread (or the other way around), shift a thread into a list etc.…

Just find a way to say the same thing in 100 different ways!

πŸ’‘ Twitter analytics can be painful. I use ilo.so to track my tweets (and my spaces)

Use Twitter topics as “SEO.”

Virality is super hard to predict on Twitter, but there is a trick that will make it easier: Trends!

Open the Topics (in the more menu of your Twitter client on desktop) and go through the list of topics. As you can see, you can subscribe to these topics, and when you do, Twitter will show you some tweets related to them even if you’re not following the person that tweeted them!

That’s the trick to gaining more exposure!

Here is how to leverage it:

  • Go through the list of topics and pick 3-5 of them.
  • Add the name of one of these topics in all your tweets.
  • Review the best tweets in each topic and copy the format of them
  • Analyze the results and double down on what works
  • Format your tweet to get more engagement!

Virality is unpredictable, but formatting your tweet the right way can definitely help!

Here is a list of formats you should steal!

  • List - list the tool you use, the people you follow, the website you visit every day, etc.
  • How to - Breakdown something you learned in a particular and actionable thread
  • Revenues - Showing graph with MRR always work. People love this kind of content!
  • Contrarian takes - Sharing unpopular opinion generate a lot of reactions (don’t create bad buzz, tho!)
  • Question your audience - Instead of creating a list, start with only a few items and ask your community to list the others in the comments. It will drive much engagement.
  • Giveaways - Ask your community to comment/like your tweet if they want to receive any lead magnets.

Twitter Spaces

Spaces are an audio-only feature that allows you to have conversations with groups of people on Twitter. It’s like Clubhouse on Twitter.

When you join a space, all your followers will see it - and some of them will join. First, listen but try to be a speaker as soon as you’re ready.

It will help you connect with your audience and build trust. When you host a Space, your followers receive a notification, you can also tweet about it.

Being a host is an excellent way to reach more people and reinforce your personal branding. Try it! Some tips for Twitter Space:

Record them! You can recycle this content into a podcast or blog post! j Don’t forget to tweet about your upcoming Spaces, so you’ll have a bigger audience

You can pin tweets in the Space - use this to display the current topic or show feedback from listeners Listeners can use emojis to react in real-time. Use this to engage with the audience! Use ilo.so to track the stats of your Twitter Spaces.

πŸ’‘ A great way to start with Spaces is to create an AMA session (with a guest?)

Scheduling & more

One of the most important things when you want to build your audience, is CONSISTENCY. You have to tweet daily, and that’s hard.

I use a scheduler for my tweets. I try to schedule at least one tweet a day (two most of the time). Many Twitter users spend a few hours scheduling all their tweets during the weekend, so they don’t have to worry about it.

The schedulers come with other super helpful feature:

  • The measure the best time to tweet based on your followers’ activity
  • They can “recycle” your evergreen content - basically, they randomly RT your best tweets every day
  • They can also show you some inspirational tweets based on your activity And a lot of other features. If you’re serious about building your audience is definitely worth the price!

πŸ’‘ My recommendation would be to use TweetHunter to schedule tweets, it’s a complete tool, and the founders are great!


4. Tools

Here is the list of the best tool I use daily to grow my Twitter audience:

Schedule your tweets, write tweets, and get inspiration for your tweets

If you want to grow your Twitter audience, you’ll need to post daily, multiple times a day. You can do it with the web interface or the mobile app, but it’s easier to schedule your tweets.

I use TweetHunter for that. When you connect to it, it gathers a bunch of tweets that worked well to give you some inspiration.

Then, you can write your tweets and schedule them for the day/week. It also comes with some handy automation like:

  • Auto plug after a certain amount of engagement
  • Auto DM if someone replies/like a tweet
  • Recycle your evergreen tweets

The perfect tool for Twitter Analytics

Analytics are super crucial while growing on Twitter. You need to measure what worked and what didn’t. I use ilo.so to do that, that’s just the best tool around!

Build the perfect profile & design material for Twitter

Your identity is super important on Twitter. You want your followers to recognize your tweets instantly. With Brandbird you’ll created some excellent visuals super quickly. It also helps with profile creation!

Write threads:

Typefully is the tool I use to write tweets. It just has the best UI for that. And it’s free. Give it a shot!

TweetDeck

Tweetdeck is a tool made by twitter. If you’re looking for a UI that allows you to monitor hashtags, keywords, and multiple accounts, you should have a look at it!


I hope this is helpful and will help you to grow your twitter following!

Of course, if you have any question, please reach out to me on Twitter.


Source of header image: Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

NB: some links are affiliates links