How I Gained Over a Quarter Million Followers Organically

People often ask me for tips about growing their following on Twitter.  They wonder if I bought any of the over one quarter million followers in my Twitter family.  The answer is a resounding, “No!”

The Twitter rules prohibit using sites to automatically add followers. “Twitter reserves the right to immediately terminate your account without further notice in the event that, in its judgment, you violate these Rules or the Terms of Service.”

I manually follow someone when I see a tweet I like in his or her tweet stream.  At times, I’ll follow one or more of those listed in the “shout out” tweets that include a batch of recommended names, since others seem to find those people engaging and valuable.  Likewise, I believe it’s better when people follow me because they find meaning and value in the content I provide – not because they work for a company that sells followers.

Grow your following organically by producing sharable tweets that people want to pass along to their own followers. When your tweets get re-tweeted and, thus, your twitter handle shared, it acts as an advertisement for you. This free, word-of-mouth buzz will help you attract new followers.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I schedule some of my tweets.  I find this is an efficient way to reach all time zones.

Remember, though: the more followers, the more responsibility you have.  Yes, it’s great that people are enjoying and distributing your content, but, you also need to reciprocate to remain human and practice what you preach.

As far as following back those that follow me, I manually #follow and #followback individuals whom express a pro-active interest in me.

I will follow almost everyone back, unless they give me a reason not to.  I also try not to follow the bots, the eggs, the birds and the sexy (too much skin or TMI) avatars.  (Some do slip by, and I will un-follow if I catch them later.)

People who are no longer active, or who consistently post spam will also be un-followed.

Sometimes, when I pick a particular person to follow and then notice pages of egg or bird avatars on their follower list, I believe the account may actually be a bot.  I could be wrong, but when I see 100 of these avatars consecutively, I perceive it as a red flag.

That said, while originally never followed eggs, birds or non-picture bios, I started to notice many of those individuals began re-tweeting me, and so I altered my personal following procedure.  It could be the individual may not yet have had a chance to load a nice picture for their account, or is concerned with privacy and has chosen to remain more anonymous.

Because I’m somewhat selective in these ways, there is a discrepancy in my following-to-follower ratio.

When it comes to buying a bot to attract followers, I don’t see the point, because the products of those efforts are not going to re-tweet posts or talk to you.  If, in the off chance they do start a conversation with you, I assume I am communicating with a bot rather than a human.  What good is that?

At the end of the day, if you’re consistent and stick with your daily following process or method, in time, your account will grow.  This has proven true for myself and I believe it will for you, too.

You own your social media accounts.  They require time, attention, and nurturing.  We each have our own personal preferences on what to tweet, post, share, or pin.  Buying followers can get your account deleted, not just suspended — deleted. This is just not my style.

Photography by @MomsofAmerica

Loading Facebook Comments ...

57 Replies to “How I Gained Over a Quarter Million Followers Organically

  1. Hi Ann, what a great way to increase your followers. I didn’t ask or said you bought followers, but I’d follow the way you do on Twitter so I can as well get a higher number of followers 🙂 And I’ll get into scheduling tweet when I got more followers.

    Thank you – Ferb

  2. Ann, I am so new to twitter and came across your site. I am also very new to internet marketing and learning new things daily. I love to build friendship and share things that are important to me. Your site gave me alot of inspiration. Thank You.

  3. Thanks for this valuable content Ann. I think the real core of how you “gained over a quarter-million followers organically” is that you consistently post value and not filler. It certainly is why I’m here visiting and commenting on your blog and following your every tweet.
    Thank you, often! @Jan_Deelstra

  4. I use to have an automatic follow me I’ll follow you though I stopped that a long time ago.

    Then I unfollowed thousands because it didn’t make sense.

    Since that time I do what you do Ann and follow everyone manually.

  5. Ann, as usual, this is great advice! I’ve never understood way anyone would buy followers. The whole idea is to get real people who enjoy what you post and have similar interests to you. There’s no point in building numbers for numbers sake!

    Thanks for keeping it real!

    1. Hi Bruce,

      It’s my personal preference to grow my following manually, slow but that’s how I like to handle my account.

      Thank you for sharing.

  6. Ann, irrespective of how large you’ve grown your audience – the one thing I notice about your account comparable to others is that you can drive a lot of traffic with your RTs and posts (and I have been the grateful beneficiary of that). I think it has everything to do with the nurturing that you do, the generosity that you show and the energy that you give to those of us who are fortunate to know and learn from you through social. It’s hard for me to express the gratitude I have for your time and for your example, and I’m sure I am one of thousands who feel likewise. Cheers!

  7. Ann, I have appreciated your contributions to social media and twitter for quite some time now. I retweet or repost your tweets and blog post all the time. I study many social media experts online and I happen to think you have your finger on the pulse of social media as well as anyone. I so appreciate all you contribute. I started a new acct to focus on Social Media and will feature your Social Media insights there as well. Thank you so much, Rock

  8. Ann,
    Not only is this a good, solid post regarding your values, it’s also a good, solid post which can encourage better behavior among Twitter members who want to do the right thing, who desire to do the right thing but, who, nonetheless, find it challenging to resist buying followers – especially when they see other Twitter members with huge numbers of followers…some may have to learn the hard way that organic is best…
    Keep STRONG, Ann!

  9. Ann,

    Great post. I actually opened a separate account to do a test. I purchased a 1,000 followers and measured KPIs that were important to me.

    The purchased followers gave a lousy ROI against my KPIs. They were all hashtagged as accounts that do automatic follow backs. It’s like a giant spam network of mutual follow backs.

    On my main account, I just keep doing what I like to do. The follows are much slower, but the KPIs are better.


  10. Ann,
    Thanks for the great advice! Especially appreciate your points regarding not using every trick in the book to get followers. In “physical” life we don’t compromise ourselves to get new relationships (or at least we shouldn’t)…so why do it online. To me the real gratitude from social media is touching others and having others touch you…and that’s your message.
    All the best wishes

    1. Hi Mikkel,

      Thank you for sharing and I agree with you in making a difference first and foremost.


  11. Hi Ann,
    Interesting post. I actually ended up on your site because you followed me, and I followed you back. When I saw your follower count, however, I got curious and had to take a look at your site!

  12. Hi Ann !

    Thanks a lot for this post. The world of internet, was something bit difficult for me,
    few years ago. since I have found a lot of hype
    and it was initially big waist of time for me.

    I used to work in corporate JOB, which I have liked very much, earning very good money, but out of the sudden this part of life have ended, with the sudden death of my friend and comapny CEO, due to cancer disease.
    It took me some time to survive with the family and to start to open new chapter in my life. In the meantime I have learned some rules of social media presence. I used to retweet, what moved my inner, fragile part, and I have followed people, I like.
    I have noticed, that paying attention to what is important to people, and retweeting their tweets, starts to build a real relation between us.So I am also thankful for your comments, since it proves, that the best way on the road to succesful media presence – is to be yourself. 🙂

    Have a nice day 🙂


  13. Hi Ann!

    I have been following you for a long time and I am greatly fascinated by the way you manage the content to tweet and also manage the followers. Thanks for these tips and also for your lovely tweets!

    Cheers Pinaki ( @mojokajojo on twitter) !!

  14. Hi Ann.

    Thank you for this post. It is encouraging to see that you still take a personal approach and strategy to get such an impressive number of followers. I cannot argue with any of your points and in fact, I support, follow and recommend your strategy as it works very well for me too.

    Thanks again.
    Best regards,

  15. Many thanks Ann for sharing your thoughts and ideas on this. I too, find the idea of ‘buying’ Twitter followers rather odd. I guess that those who take part in this strange practice have nothing of any value to share with anyone! Bit sad really! As a relatively young company, we get a great deal of satisfaction from finding interesting people to follow and hope that they will feel the same.

  16. Hi Ann 🙂

    It’s not that easy to maintain our followers, but hats off to pros like you, for handling them efficiently knowing some of the etiquettes of a genuine follower.

    Congratulations for having such huge quality followers (includes me :P)

    Happy Tweeting 😀

    1. Hi Sunil,

      Thank you for sharing. Yes, it can be challenging to manage big accounts. Due to the size of my account I may not have as much time to reciprocate as I would like to with my generous supporters. I usually know who they are and try to return the favor as time permits.


  17. Hi Ann, Cool way to get such good number of organic followers… Have just started following you a month back, but have really loved your Tweet material… 🙂

  18. Hi Ann!!!
    Amazing Observation. I too feel that follow and follow back should only happen if you find someone’s tweets interesting and those which provoke conversations filled with curiosity.

    Initially I too followed some eggs and birds but now I avoid them unless someone is genuine. Friends can’t be bought. I am new to twitter and your information sharing has proven greatly helpful 🙂 thanks for the valuable advise.

    1. Hi Arpita,

      Yes, a friend of mine shared the tips about the eggs, birds, etc. Glad I followed his advice because I would not have had as many followers today.


  19. Hi Ann!

    Thanks for the tips. I have followed some eggs and birds in past and the only tweets I see from there side is ‘follow xyz’ or ‘follow abc’. One more type of bots I recently came across were following multiple people with same name!

    Its your dedication and passion which has earned you so many followers 🙂 and that dedication and passion is the key for anyone who wants to expand her twitter family.

    1. Hi Sneha,

      Yes, dedication and passion and the art of reciprocating are keys. Thank you for your generous support.


  20. Fabulous post – I love that you are really promoting organically growing a twitter following. I wish more would do the same! I’m very happy that I have been able to do that with my followers also – only 13,000 – but hey it works for me 🙂

  21. Thanks for the nice post. It is so silly that people buy followers… just blows my mind. I always wonder who the people are that have fake followers. Anyways- Congrats on your follower count and I’ll be sure to stay a bit longer and browse through some more of your articles. 🙂

    1. Hi Jean,

      Next time I’m in Boston, I would love to bring our conversation IRL. Thank you for sharing.


  22. Nice post, Ann. Buying followers seems inherently dishonest to me — almost like wearing a cubic zirconia in your ring and pretending it’s real. It may fool others, but you always know in your heart that it’s not a real diamond!

  23. Congratulations on so many Twitter followers and doing it an organic and authentic manner. I am still learning how to do it and to do it well.

  24. Hi Ann!

    I completely agree with you about buying Twitter Followers. They aren’t targeted, they don’t care about you and it’s just kind of silly to ‘buy’ followers. I wouldn’t buy friends so why I would want to buy followers?

    I get that big numbers mean a lot to some people, but as you said, as long as you’re consistent and you’re engaging with your audience as well as sharing awesome content and getting involved in the community, you’ll gain a following in time. 🙂

    Great advice!!!

    1. Hi Morgan,

      It takes dedication and I have to admit it is work but I enjoy Twitter and blogging. Thank you for sharing.


  25. Ann, thanks for sharing these great tips. I especially love that you have grown an authentic, organic list of people who interact with you. Thank you for the advice about the eggs, birds etc.

    1. Hi Linda,

      Yes, a friend of mine shared the tips about the eggs, birds, etc. Glad I followed his advice because I would not have had as many followers today.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *