How I Grew My Twitter Account 233% in 4 Months

Posted on Dec 27, 2015 in Personal Brand, Social Media | 45 Comments

A drawing of a chart

Back in May, I was giving a presentation on using LinkedIn to help build your personal brand. Before I’d even gotten through my first slide, someone piped up from the audience, “How do I get more followers on Twitter?!”

I wasn’t surprised by the question. It happens pretty often, fielding questions about multiple social networks even though you were initially only going to focus on one.

I took a few minutes and talked about Twitter and some things people should consider doing when trying to grow their account. “How many followers do you have?” someone asked me.

“About 600 or so,” I answered. Most of the people in the room seemed to be impressed by that figure. Everyone except me, that is.

As it turns out, I had been giving a lot of thought to my Twitter account around that time. I was starting to feel like it was stagnating; I was hoping for more engagement and wasn’t getting it. My Twitter account was being used primarily to share articles that I found interesting. Occasionally, I’d share, comment or re-tweet someone else’s posts. It was a very broadcast-heavy account.

Telling people I only had 600 followers made me question my ability to provide advice on using the social network.That afternoon was the kick in the pants I needed to get serious about my Twitter presence.

Before I start, let’s look at what my account activity looked like in April:

April Engagement on Twitter

As you can see, my numbers weren’t that bad. Over the thirty day period (April 1 – April 30), my tweets earned over 26,100 impressions. That works out to 871 impressions per day. Not too shabby, right?

Here’s what my numbers looked like in August:

August Engagement on Twitter

From August 1 – August 31, my tweets earned over 116,600 impressions, which averages out to 3,800 impressions per day.

In September, I hit the 2,000 follower mark. From May to September, I grew my Twitter following by 233%. How did I do it?

Learn how to average 3,800 impressions per day on Twitter: Click To Tweet


 How I Grew My Twitter Account 233% in 4 Months

Before I go into the tactics I used, I want to go make it clear that my goals weren’t merely to gain new followers. When I started to really think about it, I set my goals to be:

  • Moving beyond the one-way broadcast method I’d been using
  • Finding like-minded individuals (those who work in digital marketing and social media)
  • Increasing my engagement – likes, retweets and mentions
  • Establishing myself as someone who is knowledgeable about marketing and social media

With the goals decided upon, I set about my tactics.


In the first half of the year, I didn’t spend much time on my lists. Sure, I used Tweetdeck but I only really used it to monitor my notifications and direct messages. I really wasn’t paying that much attention to who was following me or who I was following.

Once I began to give more serious thought to my account and trying to figure out how to stand out, I decided I would need a better system to stay on top of who to follow (or unfollow).

I signed up for Hootsuite since it allows for creating multiple tabs (with even more streams within those tabs).I set up Twitter lists made up of active users in the digital marketing, social, SEO and content fields. I also set up streams to monitor key terms and hashtags that I was interested in.

With Hootsuite, I could see things at a glance and could easily participate in a conversation. It was also super easy to find new people to follow by centering on the key terms I was interested in.

Twitter Chats

Without a doubt, Twitter Chats are a great way to help grow your account. More than that though, they are an opportunity to learn, to share your insights and help establish yourself as someone who is knowledgeable in their field.

I had heard of Twitter Chats before but never gave them much thought or attention. Then one Wednesday, I noticed that #bufferchat was trending and I decided to check it out. From there, I was hooked.

I began participating in the weekly Buffer Chat and immediately found myself immersed in conversation with other people who work in digital marketing, social media, online advertising, community management, or a variety of other areas.

For 60 minutes every Wednesday, I was able to talk to other people who understood the same issues I was running into. I was able to find out what tools and solutions were being used by my peers. Mostly though, I was a member of a community.

After discovering Buffer Chat, I did my research and found other marketing and social chats. I participated in a few and found several that have become my “regular” chats.

After a chat wraps up, my Notifications tab is pretty busy with updates on retweets, mentions and new followers. A few weeks ago, I participated in a chat and noticed the next morning that I had gained 36 new followers:

36 New Followers

Yes, that’s pretty typical after a chat.

Better Follower/Following Management

I didn’t want to just grow my following, I wanted quality followers, people who were sharing good content and who I could learn from. I was working towards a follower feed that was free of spam accounts or egg profile pictures.

My aim was to have my followers be a reflection of the kind of content I shared and was looking to engage with. I didn’t want someone to come to my profile and be discouraged by the number of spam accounts I had following me (or was following).

To help me manage who I was following/following me, I used a few tools. I’ve already mentioned Hootsuite and how that helped me find new people to follow.

I also signed up for a tool called CrowdFire to get a better sense of who was following me and unfollowing me. One of my biggest peeves on Twitter is when someone follows me, sends me a direct message asking me to check out their app or product and then they unfollow me.

With Crowdfire, I’m able to get a list of who has unfollowed me and I can easily unfollow them. I also have the option to see who my new followers are. This can be handy, especially when post-chat notifications are a bit hectic. With Crowdfire, I’ve spotted a few new followers I missed via my notifications.

I’ve also become more active in reporting spammers. Whenever I see I’ve been followed by someone with a bio that references buying more followers, I immediately report them for spam.

I’m also more selective about who I follow back. For example, if I’m followed by someone and they have thousands of followers but only a handful of tweets, that raises a red flag for me. How can they possibly have that many followers with less than 100 tweets? Here’s an example of what that looks like:

Red Flag Followers

In addition to avoiding accounts with strange numbers, I also avoid accounts where the bio speaks of strong political views or strong religious opinions. I’m perfectly happy to have a conversation on both of those topics, just not on Twitter.

Even after I hit the 2,000 follower mark in September, I knew that I still had areas to improve upon. Mostly around the use of automation. In the first half of the year, I relied heavily on tools like Sumall to express my thanks and interact with people who had retweeted me.

Tweets like this were common in my Timeline:

Signing up for these tools was easy and while I was technically interacting with people, it wasn’t authentic. I think that’s well reflected in the engagement that I received.

I came to understand that messages that came from me, the person, would be much better received. Instead of relying on tools, I put in the effort to say thanks and hello:

My account is now free of any automated “thank-you’s.” Even though it can be hard to stay on top of saying thanks for a new follow or interaction, genuine tweets tend to stand out.

Was all of the effort worth it? I’d say my goals were met:

  • Moving beyond the one-way broadcast method I’d been using (Check!)
  • Finding like-minded individuals (those who work in digital marketing and social media) (Check!)
  • Increasing my engagement – likes, retweets and mentions (Check!)
  • Establishing myself as someone who is knowledgeable about marketing and social media (Check!)

The numbers speak for themselves, I’ve definitely increased my engagement. I’ve also established myself as someone who knows a thing or two about working in the online space.

I’ve been asked for my opinion on topics in the news:

I’ve been invited to participate in chats:

I’ve even been invited to be a guest on a chat:

There you have it. Growing your Twitter account (and your presence) definitely doesn’t happen overnight. But if you’re willing to put in the time, set clear goals for yourself and be authentic, you’ll see results.

What do you think about the above? Let me know below or send me a note on Twitter.

Top image courtesy of Matt Cornock.

  • Lucy Valdez

    I definitely need to increase my Twitter engagement! These are great tips! How do you keep track of your new followers? Also, what influence does reporting spammers have?

    • Thanks for the comment, Lucy. I track new followers in Hootsuite. “New Followers” is one of the streams available when you set up your dashboard. As for reporting spammers, I don’t know that there is any sort of influence associated with it. I guess it’s more of a personal preference.

  • Lisa Tummers

    This was a very well done post. It’s full of actionable tips and helpful information. Twitter is an area that definitely needs my attention. Thank you!

    • Thank you, Lisa! I appreciate the feedback. Let me know if you have any questions as you become more active on Twitter.

  • Di Hickman

    Wow this is a great post! Like you I’ve taken a little while to increase my twitter following and I’m surprised by number of people that unfollow you as soon as you follow them back. Like they think we don’t know? Third party apps make that pretty obvious now!
    Also yes love hootsuite!

    • Yes, it’s one of my biggest pet peeves. Being followed only to be sent a random DM and then immediately unfollowed. I guess some folks still don’t understand how to “do” social. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  • Sarah Koves

    Holy Cow. I thought I was doing okay on Twitter- guess I better up my game. Thank you so much. I am adding this list to my to do list.

    • Thanks Sarah! I know it can seem a bit daunting, but once you start participating in chats, I’m sure you’ll start to see results pretty quickly.

  • Jannine Pampu

    Those are some fantastic tips! Congrats on your achievements! I’m only starting to get my feet wet with Twitter and have found lists and Hootsuite to be very helpful tools.

    • Thanks Jannine! Let me know if you have any questions about Twitter as you continue to use it.

  • Rose Sahetapy

    I’m still learning about social media, but I booked mark your post. Thank you for sharing this, there’s a lot important information which I totally can learn.

    • Thanks for the comment, Rose. Let me know if you have any questions about social media (or Twitter).

  • This is honestly such a helpful post. My account grew dramatically this year, then kind of tapered off. I think it’s time to get way more personal!

  • Sarah

    Great post! I love that you gave some pretty detailed tips, hopefully I can apply some to my twitter account and also watch it grow.

    • Thank you, Sarah. I appreciate the comment. Good luck with your Twitter. 🙂

  • Deb Clem-Buckert

    Twitter has always been my weakest platform however I’ve been trying to grow my following. I need to do a better job with lists.

    • Twitter can be very daunting, especially with all of the noise. I think lists will definitely help you settle in.

  • Great tips I literally just got twitter and I am enjoying it so far. I can’t wait to send out my first tweet!

    • Thank you, Ana. I love Twitter, I think you will too once you get started. Let me know how it goes. 🙂

  • Eileen Murphy Kelly

    I love your post. quite helpful to someone like myself who is a new blogger. Hootesuite is one that I want to explore. I had noidea about those #bufferchat. quite interesting .

    • Thank you, Eileen. I’m planning a post on the chats I like and how to find chats you may be interested in. Check back soon. 🙂

  • Great tips! I need to go back to twitter and find my voice there! Totally need to start on twitte chats again!

    • All it takes is one good chat and you’ll be hooked. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Natalia.

  • Kaylene

    I love to use twitter chats and authentic conversation to grow on twitter. You’ve had some great results! 🙂

    • Thanks, Kaylene. Which chats do you like to participate in?

  • Pam

    These are some great tips! I need to start attending more twitter chats! I’m currently working on growing twitter and these tips will help. 🙂

  • jillconyers

    Congrats on the growth and thanks for the tips. I’m upping my twitter game even more this year.

    • Thanks, Jill. I hope you see the results you’re hoping for.

  • So much information to ponder, thank you so much. Since I started blogging, my twitter followers have grown, but I still get spammers or strange followers. I will definitely be looking into some of the tools you mentioned above to better manage my account.

    • Glad to hear it, Blythe. Let me know if you have any questions about the tools.

  • Monroe Bishop

    Best “Grow your Twiitter post ” hands down!!! I am a very new blogger and social media has been my Achilles heel .. Thanks you 🙂

    • Thank you, Monroe. Appreciate the feedback. 🙂

  • Awesome job! There are so many social media accounts it can be overwhelming! For instance, I just used periscope for the first time today and got a call in the middle of it, which promptly disconnected my scope – not that anyone was actually watching! I have a pretty good following on Twitter, but I definitely want to expand my reach and build more community with the people who I follow and that follow me. Great tips!

    • Getting started on Periscope (and Blab) are on my to-do’s for this year. Have you tried Blab yet?

  • nicole

    I need to grow my followers, but I am not a fan of twitter.

    • I think some of the points apply to any social platform. Being authentic will always help you grow your presence. 🙂

  • I have had a Hootsuite account for the longest time, and I find great value in it, especially if you are a blogger. I really enjoy connecting with new people on Twitter. I will try to implement some of your tips when I find the time.

    • Hootsuite is so handy! I hope you see some growth with your account. 🙂

  • Wow! Your grew your twitter a lot! I will definitely try some if the thing you tried to increase my twitter engagement and community!


    • Thanks, Ana. I hope you see an increase in your engagement too.

  • My goodness – most of that just went over my head – you know your stuff for sure on twitter – and I’m sitting here just thinking “what are impressions?” Could you point me in the right direction of something on the basics of twitter. I have been on it a long time but just really use it to share instagram and blog posts and thats it. I tend to follow fellow bloggers and fave celebs but that’s it really….

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