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How I Use Human Behavior to Grow My Twitter Audience

3 months ago, with no active followers, my early days on Twitter were tough.

I made up my mind to find ways to grow to 400 followers asap.

I look at this number as a milestone to make me look like a "real Twitter person" and unlock further engagement.

So I thought about it from a human behavior perspective and used a few things I knew about making friends in the offline world.

Here's how I did it.

1) Finding out which circle I want to be in ⭕

Both online and offline, people always find similar, like-minded, friendly people to hang out with.

Once you know what types of friends you want to make on Twitter, go to key influencers that match your description.

I looked at who was replying to the influencers' tweets and followed them. The action of replying to tweets shows how active this person is and how likely she is looking for people to engage with.

2) I wasn't following everyone I could find ❌

People come from all walks of life, I didn't want to follow all of them.

I wanted friends that we could help each other grow.

So I only followed people with <600 followers, they're likely to be on the same stage as me, maybe a few steps ahead. They still want to grow, so they'd dedicate time to engage with anyone who just follows them. This means, they'd care about me.

They'd notice me and potentially follow me.

3) I didn't mind making the first move 👋

Imagine today is your first class at a university. You go into the classroom and have exactly zero friends, you can either pick a corner and sit with no one, or you can quickly scan the room to see who is smiling at you and sit near this student. The person who is smiling at you makes the first move in the relationship.

When one person makes the first move, the other person appreciates it.

So I followed them and engaged with their tweets first.

4) As down to earth as possible 🌎

They then checked out my profile.

I had to grasp this opportunity to win a new follower. I needed to present the best, authentic version of myself in my profile.

I had a genuine profile with my photo, simple words, and some values I care about.

I wanted to be a friend, not an influencer.

5) When they showed interest, I was ready to make friends 🙆‍♂️

When they followed me back, I took the chance to turn a cold relationship into a meaningful one.

I asked questions, joked, and helped because we were, at this point, Twitter friends.

I didn't rush to exchanging DMs as that is very pushy.

6) After I consistently put in 8 weeks of hard work, I got there to my first 400 followers. 🙌

Kevon Twitter Analytics

I now don't have to look like a crazy guy poking my face everywhere.

I'm more focused on creating valuable content. After reaching 400, I got to 743 now after another 4 weeks just by sharing good content. You can see my account here.

This is just a tactical "hack" to get a jump start, it doesn't mean you can forget all the genuine things about making friends and building an audience. The downside is you should also set aside some time to clean up your follower list because it can go up quite quickly... and it doesn't look good to others when you're following 1342 and have 179 followers.

Hope this can help all of you out there who are just getting started!

Obviously, this is a short version, so for a full story you can read here :)

I'm sure many builders/creators here have other ways to grow, happy to exchange thoughts!

  1. 4

    Congratulations :)

    How did you get your first 10 followers?

    1. 2

      Because I created my account in 2009, I had about 100 followers in those 11 years. Mostly were friends in real life. So it did help to at least give my jumpstart a jumpstart lol!

      But I would think if you get a profile set up + start tweeting interesting things, some people wouldn't mind being your first 10. You just gotta get out and engage with people you find interesting.

    2. 1

      Seasoned twitter pros frown at them, but using hashtags for your desired communities are a good way to gain some initial traction!

  2. 2

    Congrats! thanks for sharing.

  3. 2

    Thanks for sharing, I started this week and this is proving to work quite well for me!

  4. 2
    1. I didn't mind making the first move

    I can confirm this is pretty effective when I started.

    Recently, Instagram implement a new notification, which I think to trick users to use this. Take the example from the photo below.

    In the past, when someone follow you, you'll get the second notification ... started following you. You can choose follow back or not (shiny button mean "Do it").

    Now they has who you might know..., which has the same design, but encourage users to follow someone else

    1. 2

      That's pretty neat! A little psychological push to make you feel slightly connected.

  5. 2

    Great work! and thanks for sharing =)

    1. 1

      Hope it helps :) I see that your Twitter account doesn't exist haha

  6. 2

    You made a good point Kevon 👉 "Go engage with people you find interesting". That's the icebreaker! Nobody would care if you only have a few followers. If you can consistently share your value, engage with your audience, more new followers will come.

    I followed a lot of hidden gems with just a few followers, but tbh, they are so awesome, much more helpful to me than those so called "influencers".

    1. 1

      Yea totally. Up till now, I still use Twitter to make friends more than to follow big names haha

  7. 2

    I like your post. Nice strategy.

    1. 1

      Give it a try and let me know if it works for you too lol

  8. 2

    This is a great guide/help. Thank you!

    1. 2

      Thanks Shar for the kind words! I also saw that you're building in public, woohoo! Amazing

  9. 2

    Nice way of putting follow/unfollow tactic. No offense tho, that's the way to grow. Works better when you do it manually.

    Numbers says you were doing great on October tho, 75% tweet to follower ratio :)

    1. 2

      Haha that's true, it is actually just follow/unfollow with a bit more manual touch, which makes it time-consuming but better for the long-term. LOL to the 75%!

  10. 2

    Simple and honest.

    Thanks for sharing.

    And you got one more follower on Twitter.

    1. 2

      This is what I notice as well when I read others sharing their strategies. After a while, I realize most are simple tactics, the hard part is really to consistently do it, even when you feel directionless and hopeless. Thanks @meydjer I'll see you on Twitter too!

  11. 1

    Thank you for your valuable advice. I need to try to operate by those rules. But I'm not ready to unfollow 500+ people. They are all fine people I generously interested in.

  12. 1

    Congrats Kevon. I feel like I'm witnessing the start of an awesome journey here watching your online presence grow :)

    1. 2

      Thanks Preetam. It is important to have a few people who are a couple of steps ahead as references, and you're one of them haha! Thank you for being so supportive!

  13. 1

    Thanks for the great advice. I want to find a way to leverage Twitter for my SaaS. My only issue is that the company I work for full time doesn't know I am working on a SaaS. So that makes me worried they'll easily find out. Either way, I think I'll try this strategy first to build a base before I worry about pushing my SaaS and relevent topics on it.

    1. 2

      Hey Jessle, this is something I've seen coming up again and again. If that's the case, it might be possible (just a bit harder) to not put your real name and real photo. As long as your content is good, people will still follow. Then until one day you quit and do it full-time, you can change it.

      The reason why I suggest that is that there are a lot of people on Twitter I haven't met on video call, I only see their "illustration" pic and a first name, but I become super good friends with them exchanging ideas via DMs. So it is def possible!

      Here is a good Twitter friend of mine: https://twitter.com/itsLeo_m I'm putting Leo on the table haha

      1. 1

        Thanks! That's actually really great advice considering the difficulty I find myself in. I really think that could work for now. Appreciate it.

        1. 1

          Anytime :) Love to stay in touch and follow your journey!

  14. 1

    An interesting concept really. I am trying to grow my YouTube channel and have been struggling to grow a platform specifically on Twitter.

    Will most certainly be trying that, having followers that engage is so important!

    1. 1

      YouTube is def a different monster, given there is no way to "follow" each other.

      What I like about Twitter is that you don't have to "follow/connect" with someone before engaging, so that helps a beginner's early days for sure.

  15. 1

    Thanks for sharing. Followed you.

    Curious as to how you think about what specifically you want to happen as a result of your efforts. What does success look like for you as it relates to Twitter?

    Secondly, how do you think about the 'pick your circle' aspect? Correlated to the first question i guess.

    I am asking because I enjoy twitter and spend time on there following conversations on a wide range of topics (VC, tech, eComm, real estate, sports biz, investing, crypto, Cyprus, others). I rarely engage with anyone and the utility for me is either learning or entertainment. I have at times considered changing that, however the "pick your circle" problem set is always a stumbling block for me.

    1. 2

      That's a super good question! Without a purpose/goal, this "grow Twitter" thing doesn't make sense.

      Since I stopped working on my funded startup in Oct, I've been exploring what I wanted to do next. So many directions I could take and I was lost.

      Then I discovered things like creator economy, passion economy etc. and many people are able to stay true to themselves, explore new skills and topics, and discover "problems" and "values" for others along the way. They then create either micro SaaS or info product or even eBook to serve those needs. I was completely fascinated.

      So after I got 400 followers, I wanted to continue to grow my audience. But at that point, I didn't want to brute-force it because I knew that wasn't the point. So I started working on a Building in Public free guide to help people get started to be transparent in public. Btw, the guide includes many of the people I mentioned above that inspired me.

      I worked on all these because I have this "vague" destination I want to get to, but I'm not exactly sure what's there yet, so I just keep creating value and sharing at this moment. I believe its a discovery process, it is hard to know when I'm just sitting at my desk. The only way to get to the right place and the right circle is to keep moving.

      So for you, if you look at Twitter as just a way to consume, then yea I don't think you'd need to do much of this. If you start to want to curate a following/audience, then it makes more sense.

      Hope this helps. What a long story!

      1. 2

        Super helpful and insightful. There is no doubt that having an audience is powerful regardless of what one does or where they sit in the pecking order.

        I'll certainly take a look at your building in public guide and see if it lights a fire under me to be more open about what I'm doing and why. I came up in a different era where this was not the way :)

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