Growth June 5, 2020

How I do Twitter for Indie Hackers

Rosie Sherry @rosiesherry

In August 2019 I took the lead on posting to the Indie Hackers Twitter account from a community perspective. I do about 95% of the tweets that go out.

I'll tell you the truth. I was worried at first. Maybe I would post the wrong thing. Or make some stupid mistakes. I was apprehensive about representing the Indie Hacker brand. 😬

Turns out it's been alright.

  • I started with 24k followers, we are now at 39k.
  • We were averaging around 600k impressions per month. In May we hit 3.5 million.
  • I don't really track anything else specifically, though I do keep an eye on number of comments and likes.

I'm pleased with the progress, I haven't measured it against anyone else, but I did a talk on it recently, so I thought I'd share how I've done things.

Twitter can be an extension of your community

I went into Twitter with a pure community focus.

It matters how you look at something. I threw my so called 'marketing hat' far away and focused in on what I could do to help the community. I didn't want it to be about 'marketing' and pulling people into the Indie Hackers websites.

Perspective matters.

I decided I would reflect the Indie Hacker community from here onto Twitter. I had a vision of conversations, people helping one another out, ideas being shared, people being connected, and (new) voices being amplified.
I wasn't sure how, but that was the focus in my mind.

I wanted people to feel the Indie Hacker vibe on Twitter, so that whenever they do end up deciding to come over here then they'd feel right at home.

Twitter as a tool to help you build community

Clicks, conversions and traffic was something that I decided not to measure or focus on at all. I have no idea how much traffic Twitter drives. It doesn't really matter to the work I'm doing.

Over time I found a flow in certain types of Tweets, as follows.

Tweet Type 1 – Questions

I love asking questions. And from a community perspective it's a great 'social tactic'. They are such a great way to get people talking.

In communities we want people talking, that's where the magic happens. I felt this was an ideal way thing to do on Twitter.

Questions, when asked in the right way are magical, they are:

  • a great way to get to know your people, they just come at you with all kinds of knowledge bombs.
  • like mass community coaching, every answer made has the potential to teach everyone something new.
  • a lightweight way to get people participating
  • a mini version of what happens over here on Indie Hackers

Once you start looking for questions, it's hard to stop. Like really hard. My inspiration has mostly come from:

  • Indie Hackers forum posts
  • podcasts (mostly Indie Hackers)
  • books, articles, tweets, blog posts and trends.

If I have an idea for a question, I write it down, otherwise it just disappears from my brain. I have a notepad, Notion and Whatsapp messages with ideas. It's messy, but it works and my list just never ends.

Some forum posts are just super easy to copy the title

alt text

Others require a bit of editing and reduction to make 'em good

alt text

I started trialling out some 'ritual' Indie Hacker forum posts 🥰

alt text

And more questions, inspired from everywhere!

alt text

Tweet Type 2 – Just for fun

Some times it's ok to let your hair down and post fun Tweets. Here are some examples.

alt text

Tweet Type 3 – Bring the community to Twitter

The focus of this is to stop trying to just bring people away from Twitter and deliver or summarise the info within.

Screenshot to capture lots of info

Usually I do my best to tag people in, either within text or within images. I also do my best not to link back.

alt text

Zoom in the text or a few specific and interesting words and screenshot

More polished versions of text 'true indie hacker stories'

This is a more polished version of the above. I'm not convinced the extra time spent doing the image makes a difference, time will tell.

Tweet Type 4 – Threads and summaries

I love it when people write posts on Indie Hackers that are designed to turn them easily into Twitter threads.

It's also super helpful when people use headers or bullet points. I'm highly more likely to tweet them out if this happens.

Tweet Type 5 - Do kind things

When Covid-19 came around things got a bit depressing. I wanted to do something for indie hackers. And this is what I decided to do. Most days I put out a random tweet of kindness, based on active member contributions.

I know some of these have led to direct sales and leads. But it's not just about that. The more we can highlight the work of indie hackers the more we can learn from one another.

Sometimes I'll give some guidance when people ask. To give them the best chance of success. That's what happened in the tweet below.

Overall thoughts?

It's been great fun.

Indie Hackers has grown a lot in the past 10 months. It was hard to find good content to show case at the beginning, now I am a bit spoilt for choice.

This is a bit of a flywheel effect, or as @harrydry might refer to it as loops. As the discussions and community gets stronger, so do the Tweets. It continues serving one another.

👩🏽‍🏫 Study your people
👍 Deliver value where they are
📈 Start small, experiment and improve over time
🎨 Be creative
👀 Pay attention to layout, structure is importatn
🏆 Pack in value
✋🏼 Take off your marketing hat
🤷🏽‍♀️ Don’t compare yourself to others
🥳 Have fun!

  1. 8

    You do it way better than 90% of social media managers!

  2. 4

    Great advice Rosie and well done on creating a highly engaged community on Twitter too!

  3. 3

    Rosie, this is awesome — thank you for taking the time to share how you tackle Twitter for IH! You’ve been doing an amazing job 😀 I really liked the bits about bringing the community to Twitter and doing kind things. This was an incredibly helpful read for me, someone that’s relatively new to Twitter and isn’t always sure about what to share.

  4. 2

    Thank you Rosie for your openness and to outline your process in such detail. I love your work! You are doing all with such a healthy and kind attitude.

  5. 2

    I was stuck on how to use twitter for growth. Now i've found my answer haha. Thanks for this, going to bookmark this for future reference

    1. 1

      Hah, glad it could be of help.

  6. 2

    Amazing post.
    When I started on Twitter I was just trying to put out as much content as possible whether it was useful content or not but I soon realised that it wasn't working. I've now stopped doing that and I'm just focussing on what I want to post and what my audience might want to see.
    @BenjaminGJDavis In case anyone reads this and fancies following ;)

  7. 2

    I’ve loved how you classified the tweet types. Very useful post. Thanks @rosiesherry

  8. 2

    Thanks for the "your side of the story"!

  9. 2

    Really useful breakdown! Thank you

    Clicks, conversions and traffic was something that I decided not to measure or focus on at all. I have no idea how much traffic Twitter drives. It doesn't really matter to the work I'm doing.

    I think this paragraph is really key. Anyone going into Twitter directly aiming for clicks, conversions and traffic misses the point

  10. 2

    I always point out how IndieHacker is the best example of how to do a brand account :)

  11. 1

    "take off your marketing hat" - spot on!

    Also, riding on @andreboso's comment, I remember countless of times I struggled in my profession as Digital Marketing Lead who wore all hats under its domain including social media. It gets into a mundane routine with same tone and style quickly. I wanted to be more creative, but there were lots of distractions or barriers.

    "Is it too casual and sloppy?"
    "It doesn't sound trustworthy"
    "I did not consent to using my photos on social media!"
    "you should always choose the colour according to the brand guideline"

    I think there's something in a large organization that kills creativity and innovation - not sure the word for it.

  12. 1

    This is awesome stuff, thanks for sharing!

  13. 1

    I loved this, Rosie. The timing is interesting as I've recently been thinking about my Twitter use.

    Can I ask how much time you spend on Twitter in any given day/week?

    1. 2

      It's hard to say tbh as I don't go into Twitter mode at a specific time and do stuff, it's more integrated in my daily activities. So maybe 1-2 hours a day.

      1. 2

        Actually to add to this.

        I have to be very careful with my time. I hate wasting it. And for the position I'm in, Twitter is just a small part of my overall job. I have to be efficient, super efficient in how I spend my time. I don't have the luxury of spending hours researching or browsing, I have to focus on getting stuff done.

        I have rules for myself – e.g:

        • I don't scroll on Twitter
        • I have a quick look at the daily stats/Tweets every day
        • I set myself personal goals (on monthly impressions) every month.

        I also have to prove, even if it is just to myself, that where I'm spending time brings a ROI. Not that it is specifically measured, but if I don't get results then there simply isn't any point/justification for doing when there are a multiple other things I could be doing to make an impact.

      2. 1

        ha, I was literally thinking as I read your response that I need to be really intentional with my time, and especially so on social media / anywhere that's conducive to scrolling/procrastinating.

        thanks for your response - and for that follow-up too.

  14. 1

    Great insight! I found it while trying to look for a twitter content strategy :)

    1. 1

      Oh nice! Was that from searching on Indie Hackers? or Google?

      1. 2

        Indie Hackers :( But I believe that with more retweets it will be on Google's first page too!

  15. 1

    Thanks for sharing this.
    I started a few months ago to be more consistent on Twitter and checking my analytics and so far I'm seeing some results but sometimes I don't feel "inspired". I've come up with a strategy for those moments but there are great lessons to learn from this post 🙌🙌

  16. 1

    There are some great tips and advice in there. Thanks for sharing @rosiesherry !

    I'm thinking it was probably you tweeting about Browse AI a while back. That single tweet got us over half of the people on our waitlist. I can't thank you enough for that! I feel like sometimes a single tweet like that at the right time could push an indie startup months or even years ahead.

    1. 2

      Thanks! And the result you got is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for!

  17. 1

    Awesome tips, thanks for sharing!

  18. 1

    Great tactics to grow your Twitter account!

    Repurposing content that did well across various channels is the state-of-the-art way of building one's audience.

    I also liked how you asked questions (another popular growth hack) to jumpstart discussion and get the comments to pour in.

    PS If you guys are interested how to grow your Twitter audience, particularly if you're starting from scratch, I actually have a Twitter growth hacking blog that complements my Twitter growth hacking app.

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