Twitter Growth hack: 117+ Retweets on 651 follower account

tl;dr: A month ago I spent $26.60 Twitter Ads are boring, so I did a "cash" giveaway based on retweets. It's 2/3 days in and I'm at 116+ retweets and have gained about 50 followers*.

EDIT: It finished with 237 retweets and 62,000 impressions, followers closer to 80.

You can find me on Twitter here. I love following IndieHackers!

While I've been writing a free newsletter on Tech ETFs in the stock market at FinLister, I'm launching a tool in the fintech space in a month, so I wanted to do some marketing warm-up for that.

About a month ago, I did a small paid ads campaign for $30. I ran 2 ads based on a lookalike audience of one of my readers who was popular on Twitter.

The campaigns sucked.

Essentially, I ad recieved 880 impressions and I got a few clicks and 1 like, but nothing crazy.

This cost me $0.03 per impression and no meaningful subscribers or followers came out as a result.

I have actually run a similar experiment in the past with Facebook ads (in 2014) and wrote about that on Medium, which received about 20k views.

which you can check out here

I thought I would switch the game up and offer a more relevant giveaway to drive engagement (which might be against Twitter ToS...but move fast and break things for now).

Given I write for people interested in the stock market, I knew there was an IPO for a tech company called Snowflake coming up on Wednesday the 16th which was garnering a lot of hype on Twitter.

I made a giveway saying that you would win a cash equivalent prize of the closing price of Snowflake on the first day of trading if you gave this tweet a retweet.


It took just over 12 hours to get 10 retweets.

24 hours after that it was at 65 retweets.

Now, I'm at 117 and there is about 14 hours to go.

Right now, its at around 15,587 impressions...well above the 500 or so I generally get from a single tweet.

Given the winner recieves a cash prize equivalent to the price of the stock at the end of first day of trading, I'm not sure how much it will cost me. It may cost anyway from $120-$250 but this is very hard to tell based on the hype around the stock.

At $120 cost, I've paid $0.007/impression
At $250 cost, I've paid $0.016/impression

These are both well under the $0.03/impression I paid with Twitter ads.

Addtionally, I've grown from around 650 subscribers or so to about 710. But I did get a random retweet from the CEO of popular newsletter MorningBrew which may have added some followers (but most of them came the day after this.)

So you could say it cost $2-$4 per follower.

I also got a couple of subscribers to my newsletter which I could attribute to this tweet.

Take aways -----------------------------

This was very relevant to most of my existing followers.

It was timely to a real event.

I only required a retweet to enter. Not to follow me, and you didn't have to comment. My goal was to make it as frictionless as possible.

Additionally, there was some mystery to it given the prize corresponds to a stock price.

Anyway, the giveaway is still live, so these numbers may change.

I'm thinking of running another giveaway which is tied closer to my newsletter list, but not sure exactly.

I did see some this giveaway from BuyMeACoffee which offered $150 cash prize and got 800+ retweets, but that has 39k followers and 150,000 creators on their platform.

So I'm pumped to see what I was able to achieve given I had 650 followers when starting this.

Like I said, this might be against Twitters terms of service so replicate with caution, but I learned something here so thought I would share it and hopefully you found something useful in all of this.


  1. 4

    It was too long for me so I couldn't finish but do you mind explaining the difference with buying followers. They are not into what you share, they are absence just because of the giveaway and they have a similar potential with bought followers on conversion.

    Whenever I see an account with huge numbers on following but too little interaction 🤦‍♂️. I wonder if people too dumb to ignore this fact?

    And this ofc; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAOOdYsK7MM

    1. 3

      Yes I did see a couple of these fake ones for sure, but also I did see many of my followers initially do this.

      Additionally, new followers mostly seemed to be legit accounts but I'm sure there were a few spammers in there.

      Overall a fun experiment.

    2. 1

      Not necessarily true, unless he made following him a condition of participation, which he didn't.

      And even if he did, only people in his niche or who find his contest engaging would actually follow.

      1. 1

        I'm not sure what part are you pointing as not true. They are no different than bought followers?

        As I observed enough, there are people who are faking the giveaways with pictures of empty iPhone boxes supposed to be given away. Also there are people running hundreds of bot accounts to auto-jump to giveaways. And there are legit ones as the one above.

        Either way is fine by me, I don't mind. I was just curios about the engagement afterwards. As I said sometimes it's so obvious with some accounts have huge following but almost zero engaging. I wondered if is it worth to have such an account. I have doubts on people would stick for the content. I might be wrong.

        For example, Mr.Beast build a fortune with giveaways. It's not a new thing but he's content is all about giveaways thus following him makes sense.

        1. 1

          Pure guess based on randomly checking out. I'd say I gained at least 50 real followers and 60% of RT were from engaging accounts.

          5-10% looked like trash.

          Addtionally, I made sure to post a screenshot of the money transfer to the winner (yes some could say that it could be photoshopped but idc).

          In regards to MrBeast, whether there is some fake stuff or not, he is building a killer brand which he can leverage. Sure raw follower numbers don't mean much, but a higher follower count could be the difference in new people perceiving you to be an "expert"/credible which also helps. Twitter seems impossible if you have less than 200 followers.

          1. 2

            Thanks for the follow up answer, I see followers count taken as a creditability score. I've recently created an account to promote my side projects. It has nothing in it an it's hard to motivate myself to start tweeting while knowing I'm talking to a wall. These questions are for me to plan ahead. I wonder if I could do the same and wonder when would be the right time.

            Just to make it clear, I didn't meant to imply you faked it, I've seen people did. That's all said.

            1. 2

              All good! No I didn't read what you wrote like that at all.

              All great questions which I've thought about too.

              Yeah I felt sucked under 200 followers. At 750 now its much more useful. I think if I could get my engagement slightly up that will be all I need

  2. 3

    Love this case studies. Just followed you from @ZeroToUsers. I think your giveaway stood out because you gave a variable award. People weren't just receiving (potential) money, but excitement as well :) Plus, it was timely, people were aware this company is IPOing soon. Really nice job!

    1. 2

      Thanks for the follow, just followed you back.

      Yes, exactly! I think you nailed the reasons why. Will be interesting to try and replicate with the same excitement.

  3. 2

    Great experiment! Looking forward to trying this myself for Airlane!
    I saw @1hakr use this strategy to do an apple giveaway for SimpleOps very recently!

    @1hakr would you mind sharing your thought process / success stats ?

    1. 2

      Yeah, he's been interesting to watch. For his to go live required "1000" retweets. Sure it is for $1000 worth of stuff. Currently looks like it's at 119 retweets after 2 days or so.

      I feel like the 1000 retweet would turn off a lot of people. I think it would have a chance getting a 1000 if the min was lower...and not having to be a follower...but that's just me.

  4. 2

    love this so much.

    1. 2

      Thanks John! It finished with 237 retweets and 61.5k impressions which is pretty cool!

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