6 Steps to Grow From 0 to 20k Followers on Tech Twitter
Content Creator and Developer
16 min read
I built my Twitter following from 0 to 20k in 5 months. My email subscribers, from 0 to 1.8k in 2 months. Companies are paying me to write content, and I didn't spend a dollar.
Here's how I did it.
To Grow a Community on Twitter, No One Solution Fits All.
That's why I've divided this article into 6 sections based on followers count:
- 1 to 100 - Ready, steady, go.
- 100 to 1000 - Start making numbers
- 1000 to 5000 - Create trust.
- 5000 to 10000 - Connections are everything
- 10000 to 15000 - Compound interest.
- 15000 to 20000 - Broaden your reach.
In every section, you're going to learn, step by step, the same techniques I used to build a 20k+ online audience on Twitter in 5 months.
Before going deep into it, let's first analyze a couple of core principles about building communities online.
How to Grow on Tech Twitter no Matter The Followers.
When it comes to building an online community and creating content you should follow 4 main principles:
- Bring consistent value to your users.
- Show up every day.
- Sincerely engage with people / make real connections.
- Optimize for conversion.
Those points are not specific to Twitter only, those are the key fundamentals to deal with people online, and convince them you're someone worth their feed and time.
Let's analyze each of those principles.
Bring Constant Value to Your Users.
Want to create a community? Bring value, and help others.
Share knowledge, create guides, tips, and tricks.
Every day, we see around 7k content, and stopping someone from scrolling means hooking their attention. To get the interest of people, especially online, your content must provide some sort of value.
Studying, understanding, and knowing your target will allow you to create content that focuses on its needs. Answering your user's questions and sharing new knowledge that meets their needs, will bring them value, eventually converting them into people interested in what you have to say (followers/subscribers).
When creating new content, keep in mind that: At least 80% of your Tweets have to bring value to the readers. 20% can be used for bullshits or promotional material.
Of course, bringing value once in a while won't work, you need to be consistent and show up every day.
Show Up Everyday
People and Twitter's algorithm love consistency, be sure to post at least once per day.
Posting, tweeting, or publishing with consistency will tell your users:
" Look, I'm actively bringing you value! Don't you want to be updated?"
But remember: you have to be consistent.
As someone said:
" If you put a spoon of shit in a rolling barrel of honey, it will become a rolling barrel of shit".
Better not posting anything if you don't have anything to say, or better, when you don't have anything to post: limit yourself at sincerely engaging with people.
Sincerely Engage With People.
Twitter is a social network.
Social means you have to spend time with people.
Network means you gotta make meaningful connections.
Be sure to engage with people through DMs, replying to comments and supporting them. Create genuine connections, out of love, not out of growth. You'll end up creating very valuable connections that will eventually be interested in your content and what you have to say.
Now a harsh truth:
People do not care about you, but about what you can bring them.
We're 7.9 billion, you need to clearly communicate your potential and the value you bring, saying:
"Here's why I will help you achieving your goals, in a better or at least similar way of your current best resources", and you have around 7 seconds to accomplish it.
To do so, you must optimize your profile for conversions.
Optimize Your Profile For Better Conversions.
Nothing will work if your profile doesn't communicate your purpose, fast and enough to hook your users.
Make sure to use a high-quality portrait as a profile picture, that communicates trust; better if with a monochromatic background.
You will also need to optimize your bio, avoiding any kind of ego, and focusing on describing the value you bring.
A template that works on Twitter is: " I help X achieving Y | Doing W and Z | Talking about H "
Avoid putting more than one link, keep your Call to action clear. Do not put hashtags and put handles only if very relevant to your description.
If you want a real-world example of an optimized bio and profile image, I've spent a considerable amount of time optimizing my Twitter profile.
Once you'll have an optimized profile to convert visitors, it's time to start growing your online presence.
How to Grow a Community on Tech Twitter.
We've gone through the fundamentals of Community Building, understanding how important is to genuinely engage and bring value to people.
Now it's time to dig deeper into the tips and tricks of growing an audience as a developer, on Tech Twitter, step by step.
Disclaimer: The following steps are what have worked FOR ME, it doesn't mean they will work for you 100% the same. Be original, fundamentals are still the same, but you might want to re-adapt your Twitter Approach.
Ready, Steady, Go - From 1 to 100 followers:
This is the hardest part but is where everyone has started from.
No one will look for you, and your reach will be very low.
To grow in this phase you need to focus on one thing:
Engage with small accounts.
Here's how I did it:
- Tweet 2 to 3 times/day
- Use popular hashtags such as 100daysofcode
- Go to hashtags pages and engage with new posts of small accounts
- Start following and interact with big accounts.
Why Hashtags Are Important at 0 Followers?
Because they will get you some extra visibility, and at this moment all you need is VISIBILITY and, of course, valuable content.
Also, periodically visiting the hashtags page will show you the latest posts from small accounts, starting their journey on Twitter, this is beneficial because:
- You can interact with them while they're online
- You get to know communities, people, and other handles you may not want to miss.
More than hashtags though, what gives posts extra visibility is Topics, and to use them you need to understand some Twitter SEO.
Learn How to Use Topics and Twitter SEO
It is key to understand how the Twitter algorithm works, even before tweeting your first tweet.
Whenever you tweet something, Twitter tries to categorize your content into a topic and show it to all the users interested in that topic.
There are different topics, such as:
- Web development
- Open Source
- Machine Learning
But where can you find those? Let me show you.
Where Are Twitter Topics?
To see a topic, you just need to search for it:
- Go to the TW Search bar and write: "Web Development"
- Click on the topic
- Take a look at the posts
Attention: Twitter has to be in English, otherwise you will only find topics related to your country.
On the top side you'll find the Trending Profiles, scrolling down you'll see all the posts in those categories.
Every time someone follows a Topics, Twitter will automatically pick some random content and display it on his/her feed. As you can imagine, if one of your contents gets picked, you'll get some great reach.
Your tweets will be shown to thousands of people, and remember? You need VISIBILITY. On the other hand, without appearing on a topic, your tweet will only be visible to your followers, and retweets.
But how do you appear on a Twitter Topic?
How to Appear in a Twitter Topic
To appear in a topic, your content needs to be relevant to that topic.
Now that you have a good understanding of Twitter basics, let's grow to 500.
Start making numbers - How to go from 100 to 1000 followers.
Your main goal, while bringing your Twitter following to 500, is to create real connections with your first followers.
Having the support of your community, even if small, is a game-changer. A single retweet might completely variate your tweet's engagement rate, and comments will boost its visibility.
I've personally sent a DM to every person hitting that follow button until 500 followers, greeting them, genuinely curious to know more about my "early adopters". This allowed me to create long-lasting relations with amazing individuals, eventually interested in what I have to say.
Other than creating connections, you want to:
- Tweet 3 times/day
- Stop using hashtags COMPLETELY, unless needed.
- Activate notifications under big accounts and comment as soon as they post.
Hashtags Are Fake Helpers
Simple answer? Are ugly, and even if will bring you some extra visibility, those are huge malus when it comes to engagement.
People are less prone to retweet something with a hashtag. This is true unless describes some strong community identity, such as #100daysofcode, #buildinpublic, and the much more important and iconic #BLM.
Using hashtags such as #dev #devlife and similar, won't bring you anything else than low engagement, and no retweets from humans.
The other key thing that will dramatically boost your Twitter growth is commenting under big accounts.
Comment Under Big Accounts to Broaden Your Reach
Commenting under big profiles as soon as a tweet is published, will put your profile in front of thousands of people.
You can do so by activating notifications for the handles you intend to keep track of, and whenever someone posts you'll be notified.
Comment to add your value to the already valuable content. Tell your opinion concisely, without spamming your stuff or trying to promote yourself. Comment out of sincere interest, not out of growth. People with huge followings, and humans in general, are used to opportunism and will spot faulty moves.
With those tips, you should reach 1000 followers in two months and a half. Now let's make it serious, and grow to 5000 members.
Create trust - How to go from 1000 to 5000 followers.
Now you have a broader audience that, hopefully, interacts with your tweets.
At this point, your goal is to create trust in the fanbase, establishing yourself with some great content and awareness move.
Creating trust, producing great content, interacting with the community in a deeper and more structured way, will create a loyal fanbase willing to share and interact with you and your content.
At this point you should:
- Tweet 3/4 times/day.
- Start doing calls with community members.
- Start writing Threads.
- Join chat groups and make connections. Let's see what the last two mean.
Why Threads are important?
Threads are tweets with up to 40 sub-tweets, used as a short blog post, to explain more complex topics or concepts.
This kind of content is loved both by users and the Twitter algorithm.
From users because:
- You can pack an awful lot of information.
- It brings value and confirms your knowledge.
- If valuable, a thread will bring more people to follow you.
From Twitter, because threads rise time-on-platform, and Twitter will try to promote them as much as possible, giving them some extra visibility.
Unfortunately, Twitter doesn't allow to schedule Threads, so you will have to manually post them every time unless you subscribe to FeedHive and make your life easier.
Why are Chat Groups Important?
On Twitter, you can create chat groups, where different users interact with each other, just like Whatsapp or Telegram.
Joining or creating a chat group will allow you to create real connections and form potential collaborations to support each other's goal or growth.
Is in chat groups that people exchange ideas and get feedback. Sometimes with unexpected participants.
There are a few tips to get the most out of Twitter Chat Groups.
How to Get The Most out of Twitter groups
After some time you've started interacting with a user, ask if they want to join a group, of course without being spammy. Sometimes the other way around will happen, and you'll be invited to an already growing group.
In both cases, when in a group, there are several things you can do to get the most out of it:
- Organize video calls (Team building).
- Ask for content feedback.
- Create connections.
- Organize events.
Joining forces while building an online presence is key, and it's the only effective method that will bring your following up to 10k in no time.
Connections are everything - How to go from 5000 to 10000 followers.
Now that you have more than 5k followers you are ready to:
- Build a brand
- Create a product
And you can do it:
- Writing Threads.
- Being active in the community.
- Connecting with bigger accounts, out of genuine interest.
As said, Threads will bring the biggest part of your audience and are a key component of my content creation process, think about that:
You write a thread -> Transform it into a blog post -> Advertise your blog post -> Take post pieces and share them as tips.
Countless contents out of a single thread, and if you work smart enough, you can gather all of your thread to build an eBook or a small swipe file.
Let me tell you why creating a product is key for your online presence.
Building a product - The currency of Content Creation
Simply put: because the web uses "exchange" as a currency.
Having a product (eBook or course) will allow you to:
- Monetize it.
- Gather email subscribers (Lead magnet).
- Establish trust and a brand.
Whenever you'll need to ask something to your users something, you'll be able to give something in return.
Remember? Give before you ask, is the only effective way to get something.
This will also allow you to establish even more trust in your users, through a structured piece of content that gives you full creative-knowledge freedom.
For example, when I had around 6k followers, I've released The Customer Funnel - Kickstart your freelance business, a free eBook that brought my newsletter subscriptions from 400 to 1800 in 12hrs.
With those tips, you should easily be able to reach 10k followers in around 4 months of full commitment.
Tired? Now becomes much easier, and I'll show you how.
Compound Interest - How to go from 10.000 to 15.000 followers.
Boom, now compound interest will start kicking in and your followers/day ratio will increase.
This is not the time to relax, you need to fully exploit the gained momentum:
- Post 4/5 times a day.
- Use automation.
- Engage and reply to comments.
- Broaden your boundaries.
#Use Automation to broaden your audience. Now that you have a bigger audience, why not attracting users from the most distant time zones? People 12hrs ahead of you might not have been lucky enough to see your content, and that's a huge visibility loss.
That's when automation tools come in:
If you need to manage a big audience, keep track of your analytics and schedule your posts consistently while broadening your audience, you need to use FeedHive.
This will unlock a bunch of superpowers:
- Posts and threads scheduling, especially nighttime.
- Analytics. -Cross-posting and drafting.
Use it to schedule nighttime content, and to start sharing your content on different platforms such as LinkedIn or Instagram, this will also broaden your visibility and reach.
Attract users from other platforms
Now that you have a great community and some experience, start thinking of opening a new channel like:
Lots of non-Twitter people might be interested in your content, and you want to satisfy this necessity.
Reached 12k followers, for example, I launched my newsletter, where I share the same exclusive tips and resources for developers, I used to build my business.
Keep in mind though, that building multiple audiences on different platforms it's added effort. Avoid overdoing, keep it simple.
Do not overdo it, keep it simple.
As you might know, creating a community is an awful lot of work. Be sure to start one journey at a time, to provide the best value to your future and old community members, without burning out.
You'll need to engage, reply to comments, and satisfy the needs of two different audiences, you'll need to work smart.
Broaden your reach - How to go from 15.000 to 20.000 followers.
Now things will be much easier, you'll just need to thoroughly follow all the principles we've gone through in this article. There's something more you should do actually.
Because of compound interest, profile optimization, and the trust you've established throughout your journey, you'll now be able to spend less time growing your Twitter audience, and more on fine-tuning your secondary channels such as:
- Other social platforms,
Continue bringing value with your content, in a consistent way, while broadening and reinforcing your audience on different platforms, better if owned by you (website, newsletter, etc).
Why Owned Platforms Are key.
No matter how cool Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube are: you don't own those platforms or the audience in them.
Not owning your audience means you can lose it in a matter of seconds, you don't have full control over its data, and you can't tailor the user experience towards the desired outcome.
Having full control over your audience's experience and platform, on the other hand, will allow you to optimize your conversions, raise engagement, reinforce your brand identity and awareness.
For example, I was hosting my blog on a blogging platform until I've decided to launch a blog for developers where I weekly post new guides and resources. This allowed me to add a subscribing form to my newsletter at the end of every article, rising my subscribers by 15% in 23 days.
Ok, this is the end of our journey, let's wrap it up.
As someone said: "Growing a community it's a marathon, not a sprint" I started with 0 followers, like anyone else. It took me 4 months and an awful lot of effort to reach this milestone. ANYONE with the right motivations can do the same.
Be genuinely interested in others, help them, but especially: Give way more than asking. Start small, understand what you like and what you don't.
A world of opportunities is waiting for those who want to commit.