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How I Grew From 300 to 5k Followers on Twitter In Just 3 Weeks

It all started on March 16th, 2015, when @deepak365 decided to hold the @Crowdfire Twitter Premier League, which trended on social media as #CTPL.

Three weekly rounds, three targets, one winner in the end. Simple.

But before I go into the details, let me tell you that I am not a social media guru. I don’t know how to market stuff. I don’t have a sense of humor like @Trendulkar or @GabbbarSingh. To make things harder, @Crowdfire has some awesome people like @iSpiritualist, @KaziUrooj, @NischalShetty, @BuddhaSource who are pretty rad when it comes to #socialmedia, especially Twitter. But I decided that I wanted to win one way or another, and my strategy had one thing that I was good at — Code.

“GrowthHackers are a hybrid of Marketer and Coder.” — Andrew Chen, Entrepreneur

My Twitter stats before the competition:
Following: 635
Followers: 373

Round 1. Maximize your Follower Gain

Follower Gain (FG) = Followers – Unfollowers

Scoring:
FG > 100 = 2 point
100 < FG < 500 = 4 point
500 < FG < 3000 = 6 point
FG > 3000 = 8 point

Bottlenecks: This might seem simple — just keep following people and eventually you’ll start getting followbacks. True. But you have to maintain a certain following/follower ratio.

Eg: You can follow only 2000 users at first. It’s only after your follower count reaches a certain level that you are allowed to follow more people.

Strategy: The first thing I had to do was find people to follow but there are two big questions here:

    1. How to find people who would followback?
    1. How to make sure those people engage (favorite, retweet and mentions) with my tweets?

With some research and actual experimentation, I figured out the answers to these pressing questions:

    1. Choose a niche interest for your Twitter profile.
    1. Find out people who post interesting tweets and are active everyday on social media. This makes sure that these people are active and are likely to engage with you.
    1. Find out people who have Follower to Following ratio between 1 and 2. These people are most likely to follow you back.

Solution: Following thousands of people manually is just wasteful when you have to kick some ass in a competition. That’s why I wrote this very simple script that you can run in the browser which will automatically follow people on Twitter. You just have to go to your competitor’s follower list,open Developer Tools for Chrome, paste this script and press ENTER.

a = setInterval(function () {
window.scrollTo(0,document.body.scrollHeight);

$(‘.not-following .user-actions-follow-button.js-follow-btn’).click();

}, 1000);

This will automatically follow all visible people on that page, scroll for you, load more people, follow them and so on. If you want to stop the script, just paste the following line and press ENTER.

clearInterval(a)

After this, I was all set for winning Round 1. The only thing you have to keep in mind while doing all this is: DO NOT FORGET TO CLEAN YOUR ACCOUNT (Try @Crowdfire’s Non Followers feature 😉 )

PRO TIP: Give some time for people to follow back. After that, unfollow everyone who does not follow you back, so that your Following to Follower ratio gets back to normal and you are not stopped by Twitter’s rate limits on your way to glory!

First Round @EagleEyeApp Stats:

Overall Followers Received for Round 1

 

Round 2: Maximize engagement per tweet

Engagement = ( Retweets + Favorites + Mentions ) / Number of tweets

Scoring:
Engagement < 1 = 1 point
1 < Engagement < 2 = 2 point
2 < Engagement < 3 = 3 point
3 < Engagement < 4= 4 point
4 < Engagement < 10 = 5 point
10 < Engagement = 10 point

Bottlenecks: This round was tricky. Not only you have to make sure you tweet less, you also to make sure you tweet quality stuff, at the right time and get more engagement (favorites/retweets).

Strategy: The first thing I had to do was find good content. Best source was Medium. I searched for interesting content related to marketing, social media, growth hacking.

The second thing that was important to get more engagement was to engage with other people on Twitter who shared the same niche interest that I did.

Solution: I used Buffer to schedule those tweets and track their performance. Based on the performance of each tweets, their reach/engagement/time of post, I rescheduled some of those tweets again during the course of the week.

PRO TIP: Important thing to do is, every time a new tweet is posted by Buffer, go to Twitter and Pin that particular tweet.

Next up was getting more engagement. So I searched for tweets based on a variety of hashtags like #growthhacking, #socialmedia, #smm, #marketing, #seo and #blogging. At any point of time, these hashtags are always your best bet. As always I created a script that would favorite all the tweets on the search result page, scroll for more, favorite, scroll for more, and so on.

a = setInterval(function () {
window.scrollTo(0,document.body.scrollHeight);

$('.js-actionButton.js-actionFavorite:visible').click();

}, 1000)

After favoriting approximately 1000 tweets, you would be rate-limited by Twitter. So don’t spend all your favorites on one hashtag; distribute your favorites among different hashtags. If you want to stop the script, just paste the following code and press ENTER.

clearInterval(a)

PRO TIP: Another interesting trick that I used was based on the logic that you add someone to a list, the person gets a notification that someone added them to a list and checks out your profile. Now there is a 50–50 chance that they will favorite your pinned tweet. I can’t be sure of the conversion from this, but it’s an interesting idea and worth a shot.

Obviously, I won’t be leaving you alone with so much to figure; so here’s a tool I used to crack this round: list-copy. What you have to do is find people who have super awesome lists of Growth Hackers, Social Media Gurus, etc. Now just go to the above site and copy their list. How awesome is that!

Second Round @EagleEyeApp Stats:

Engagement (RT, Mention, Fav) w.r.t Tweets

Round 3: Maximize engagement per follower

Engagement Score = ( Retweets + Favorites + Mentions ) * 100 / Total Number of Followers

Scoring:
1 < Engagement Score < 10 = 1 point
10 < Engagement Score < 20 = 2 point
20 < Engagement Score < 30 = 3 point
30 < Engagement Score < 40 = 4 point
.
.
.
Engagement Score > 150 = 8 point

Bottlenecks: This was like the toughest round of all or so I thought at first. I would not just have to tweet like crazy but would also need insane engagement to even think of winning! But then while chatting with my friend @VanhishikhaB, I got a strategy in mind. Eureka!

Strategy: To make sure that I absolutely win this round, I had to get a score of 8, that is my engagement had to be greater than 150. I had around 3200 followers around that time. Assuming that I grow to 5000 followers by the end of the round, and if I get 1 Retweet and 1 favorite on each of my tweets, I would have to post roughly:

(150 Engagement score * 5000 Followers) / (100 * 2 Engagement) = 3750 Tweets

Now, take a breath and think about that for a moment. 3750 EFFING TWEETS IN 7 DAYS! That is almost 535 tweets daily. Now there was no way I could *manually* search and post those many tweets. BUT, if I could put together a list of interesting social media accounts that tweet original stuff and piggyback on their tweets and post them to my account, I could still win this!

Solution: I researched and found that there is something called as theTwitter Streaming API that lets you listen to events which tell you when a user has posted a tweet. So I wrote a script that would do just this. It would wait for a tweet from the accounts of my choice, then it would tweet the same text from my account. Now using this script does require some programming knowledge as it written in nodejs.

For those who are familiar with it can checkout the code here. For those who aren’t, check the note at the bottom of this blog post. 😉

Third Round @EagleEyeApp Stats:

Engagement (RT, Mention, Fav) w.r.t Followers and Tweet

My Twitter stats after the competition:
Following: 4.7k
Followers: 5.2k

Needless to say, I literally ruled #CTPL.

TL;DR: there are a few points that I’d like to make:

    1. Don’t follow blindly and expect a followback. Think, choose your target and follow wisely.
    1. No one likes inactive accounts. People will unfollow you if they see that you are inactive (A lot of people use @Crowdfire’s Inactive Following tool to figure that out 😉 ) That is the reason you should post quality tweets and stay active.
    1. Post content that people have started expecting from your account. Do not tweet about a myriad of subjects. No one likes that.
    1. Use TakeOff, which recently launched scheduling for Twitter, or Buffer to queue good content.

Happy #GrowthHacking!

Note: I understand that a lot of people who are reading this are probably not good at programming. Hit me up on Twitter or email and I’ll help you set it up ☺

PS: Thanks to @prisharma25, @iSpiritualist and @VanhishikhaB for helping with the edits.

(This post first appeared here)

***

First Published on: Apr 29, 2015

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26 Comments

  1. Profile photo of Rishi

    While this is great, unless one is an influencer, with so much noise on Twitter wouldn’t # of followers be just another vanity metric? Would be interesting to see how all increased engagement (if any) ties back to something more concrete (i.e., increase in blog followers, sales etc.) 

  2. Profile photo of Karan Thakkar

    I understand that a lot of people are skeptical of the techniques in the post. While the blog title talks about a vanity metric, you’d see that there are a lot of small small hacks that I’ve used that helped me get insane engagement. I have also had the opportunity to talk to a lot of interesting people over DM. 

    As for your final question, the post on Medium, that I only marketed on Twitter, got almost 3k views and 800 reads in the first 40 hours. That is concrete enough for me. What do you think?

  3. Profile photo of Amit Shroff

    Karan, this just playing with number. I don’t see any advantage of doing this since it would not generate more traffic to my blog or website etc. The follow, retweet etc should be actual with strategy and example, on how to engage customer and create a buzz.

  4. Profile photo of Karan Thakkar

    Regarding traffic, check my reply to the comment above. If that is not an advantage, I dont know what is.

  5. Profile photo of Divya Rai

    I am sorry, but all three are extremely desperate measures. I would not like to resort to them, for who knows while I am gaming Twiiter in this tech-game, I get gamed in the long run by losing time/efforts.  

  6. Profile photo of Tejas Vishnu Nimbargi

    Whoaaa!
    Although I doubt the relevance and usefulness of this to my business in term of conversion but this is a wonderful thing for engagement. The techniques and math used is interesting. Great work dude. 

  7. Profile photo of Karan Thakkar

    I’m open to other strategies (if any) that you may have 🙂

  8. Profile photo of Karan Thakkar

    Thanks, Tejas. Appreciate the kind words. Different strategies can be used based on the goal/value that you want to achieve out of this. Most important thing to note is, your strategies need to evolve based on what you learn.

  9. Profile photo of Sheth Raxit

    @Amit

    I am founder@smart_mumbaikar   (please follow) we are running 8-10 nodejs twitter script (all custom made), Not exactly what Karan has post but very much similar (data crunching + engagement)

    40% of our existing users are from twitter!

    Discl: Using Crowdfire 🙂

  10. Profile photo of Dinesh Kumar Kotha

    Dude..This is awesome…Im going to try it…

  11. Profile photo of Karan Thakkar

    Hey Sheth,

    Great to hear that. I’d love to discuss these with you. Lets exchange strategies 😉

  12. Profile photo of Karan Thakkar

    Thanks Dinesh! Glad to know you liked it.

  13. Profile photo of Rishi

    Yes, if that is what you wanted 🙂 These are some good hacks (no doubt), would be interesting to see how it plays out in the long term. Keep us posted.

  14. Profile photo of Karan Thakkar

    I will 🙂

  15. Profile photo of Divya Rai

    Ok. So this was an interesting experiment, especially because I am totally a non-geeky person with zilch know-how of twitter. Here is my understanding till now from practical application of the gyaan in this post:

    1) This is largely a number game. Take this up only if you are OK with a lot of junk crowd following you back. Please do not go ahead in case you want to Shah Rukh Khan/Prasoon Joshi to follow you back.
     (Junk= ‘Mah lyf, mah rullzz’ as description/intro)

    2) Within seconds of running the script on certain people’s profile, my inbox stated receiving messages like “wanna frandship?” (even while the script was still on, and had yet not finished its job). I have a feeling that even these guys have some kind of script that instantly  messages back saying “Hey. cool girl. Wassup?!”.  

    3) If you are worried about accidentally following your high-school crush, and coming across as a creep, then it is for you to be a bit careful about  the whole thing.

    This whole thing might work wonderfully well if it is company account. 

    I have high doubts of this crowd being useful for anything, but I am open to surprises. Waiting for Twitter to un-block my account to try step number 2 & 3.

  16. Profile photo of Sheth Raxit

    my no. is 9892238248 / email raxit@m4mum.com

  17. Profile photo of Karan Thakkar

    1. Yes it is a numbers game. Yes you definitely wont get followbacks from celebrities (unless the content you post is kickass and original). Yes, there will be a lot of junk followbacks that you will get. The only way to avoid that is to copy followers/following of only those accounts that interest you. Try not to copy followers of celebrities because everyone follows them and you dont want such people following you. If you want targeted followbacks, you need to do targeted copying. Just because the script can copy followers for you doesn’t mean you just run it anywhere. Think, research, experiment and then use it. Automation with proper research can lead to fantastic results.

    2. Technically speaking, it is not possible to get a script like that up and running. Twitter API does not give out gender details. So unless the *guys* that you are talking about send the same message to guys as well, I think they are personal messages. If you dont like such messages, you can report them. I know a lot of the female population faces such problems, but I can guarantee you that it is not the fault of the script that you ran.

    3. This is one case that the script cannot handle. It can if you want it to. If there are a certain conditions that you want the script to keep in mind while following, write your own custom script or ping me and I’ll help you write one.

    4. I feel that the reason that this entire thing worked wonderfully for me was because it was my *own* account. When it is your own account, your own baby, you take proper care and do research while automating. 

    5. As for the usefulness of this crowd, by marketing my post only on twitter and #TRH, my post received engagement of over 5k views (Medium + #TRH), 1.2k reads (Medium) and 65 recommends (Medium). And all this within the first 3 days of writing. If this is not useful enough, then what is?

  18. Profile photo of Divya Rai

    You are spot on regarding all the points. I dedicated today morning first half arriving at point no 1 (as stated by you) as learning. There is simply no point following celebrities. 

    I am not blaming the script/you for point no 2&3. Just stating my experience. Apologies, if it looked like I am complaining. 🙂
    And I get it that it is part and parcel of the deal. The good thing was, that even if immediately after running the script, I unfollowed people, they STILL followed!

    I will figure out how I am able to use this thing, and keep you posted on the same. 

    Thanks!

  19. Profile photo of Karan Thakkar

    I am glad you are putting it to use. Hope its of help to you. Do let me know how it works out for you 🙂

  20. Profile photo of Tejash D Mehta

    Karan this is very useful information in detail to get not only more followers but quality followers as well. 

  21. Profile photo of Karan Bhatia

    Hi Karan

    Thanks for sharing this. Wanted to ask, how “blackhat” is this. I am sure twitter would block the account if I do this beyond a “point”. 

  22. Profile photo of Anoop Nair

    This is really cool.. Will try this for sure 🙂

    Thanks for sharing

  23. Profile photo of Padmanabh Nargunde

    This is very good article… Exhibits your strength – coding … I need some guidance. Can you share your mobile no?

  24. Profile photo of Anoop Nair

    Hey Karan

    This technique works well for Twitter. Thanks for sharing.

    Do you have a similar technique for Facebook / G+ / LinkedIn ? Please share in case you have.

    Thanks!

  25. Profile photo of Mohit Khurana

    Oh I a soo bookmarking this page. One hell of a heaven!! 😉

  26. Profile photo of Alok Rodinhood Kejriwal

    Karan,

    Your post was one of the most read articles on therodinhoods.com and we are happy to have featured it again on the home page! Check out – http://therodinhoods.com and congrats!

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