Update May 21, 2017: I used the followback method to get my first 5k followers in just over a month, but I have continued to use the method.  It’s now been about six months and I have just over 14k followers.  I anticipate getting 1-2k followers a month (spending about 30 minutes each week) to end my first year at 25k followers.

Of all the social channels around today (e.g. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat) Twitter is probably the one that is easiest to quickly grow a massive audience.  Anyone can grow their following to 5,000 in the first month without spending a ton of time and without spending any money, and you can continue growing quickly for an indefinite period of time.

Indeed, there are a lot of non-famous people out there with non-quality posts that have several hundred thousand followers, just because they are willing to take the time to get those followers.

Following the method I describe in this post you can at a minimum grow your audience to 5,000 in the first month and 1-2k more every month after that.  And the best part is that you can do it in only two steps:

  1. Follow people, and
  2. Unfollow people.

That’s it.

Now it’s a little more complicated and nuanced than that, so I’ll provide some of the tricks and tips that I’ve used to successfully grow my own Twitter following to 5,000 in the first month and 10,000 by month four.  But it really is that easy.

Disclaimer:  The #followback method that I describe works best if you don’t care who your followers are (you’re simply trying to grow your followers number).  If you want more targeted followers that will engage with you then these steps will still work but it will probably take more time.

Let’s get started…

Step 1: Follow a bunch of people

If you want targeted followers, then follow people that you want in your audience

If you simply want followers you can follow anyone you want.  But you will have greater success if you follow people that are more likely to follow back.  There are a few indicators that show who is most likely to follow back

  • They have roughly the same number of followers as people they are following
  • They have at least 2-3k followers (preferably at least 10k)
  • They have one or more of the following hashtags in their bio: #f4f #followback #100%followback #followforfollow #teamfollowback #followtrain #ifb #weekendfollotrain

Follow those kinds of followers and you can expect a followback rate of 15-30% within a day or two.  That means that if you follow 1,000 people a day for five days, then after your first week you will likely have 750-1500 followers.  Keep that up for a month and you’ll easily have 5k followers.

A few words of caution:

You can only follow 1000 people in a day.  I recommend you only follow 150-200 people at a time a few hours apart for your first few days/weeks of following.  If you follow more than that your account might get frozen for 24 hours (not the end of the world, but it will slow you down).

You don’t need to have targeted followers—especially in the very beginning—but I have found there are certain kinds of people that are more likely to follow back and stay as followers, while there are others that may follow back but then unfollow you a week or two later.

I try to avoid following people who speak another language, people who show me too much of their body and want to meet on snapchat, and people that don’t have profile pictures (eggheads).

Instead I have found that authors, actors, singers, digital marketers, health nuts, entrepreneurs and small business owners, mommy bloggers, and travelers are more likely to have good follower lists, follow back, and stay as followers.  So I look for people in those categories and occasionally search in twitter using those hashtags.

So that’s step one.

Step 2: Unfollow a bunch of people

Give your followers a few days to follow you back and then start unfollowing all those that still aren’t following you.  There are a few ways to unfollow but I highly recommend using a mobile or desktop app rather than going through your list of followers and manually unfollowing all of those that don’t have the “Follows You” tag near their profile.

There are a ton of apps that will allow you to unfollow others.  Most will either charge a fee or limit the number of unfollows you can do each day (to 100 or 200).  I am currently using Crowdfire, which will let me unfollow 200 people a day (it takes 1-2 minutes total to use this app each day).  In my first month that wasn’t enough so I had to manually unfollow the rest.

What I like to do is follow people like crazy M-F and then use the weekend to unfollow.  Then I start the cycle over again the next Monday.  Now that I have 10k plus followers I’ve slowed down my following pace and just follow 100-200 on most days and unfollow 200 those same days (you can sort on most apps and unfollow those you have been not following you the longest).

And that’s it.  It’s really pretty simple and works really well.  Check out the whole process in this YouTube video: