LearnHow to get more followers on Twitter


Ryan Carson
writes on February 11, 2009

Somehow, I’ve amassed over 8,000 followers on Twitter (ryancarson) and I get roughly 37 new followers per day. I was thinking about this the other day and wondering how it happened … and if I could share any tips. Here we go:

Re-Tweet magic

Once you’ve built up 500+ followers, you need try to get re-tweeted as much as possible. If you don’t know what a re-tweet is or how to do it, Kevin’s written a quick post on it.

The reason why you gain followers when people re-tweet you is that your username is exposed to people who haven’t heard of you.

How do you get re-tweeted? The key is offering valuable content. Try to balance your “I’m eating an egg sandwich” tweets with “Check out this great article on XXXXX” (the XXXX being a topic of interest). These are the kind of Tweets that get re-tweeted because they are valuable and interesting. Think of your Twitter stream as a micro-blog. It needs to be interesting and helpful. Tips are the key!

Speak at events

I think I gained a lot of followers in the early days because I was always on stage at FOWA. I gave a talk about the costs of Building Dropsend, that created a lot of chatter.

How do you get invited to speak at events? You need to get on the radar of the organizers. You may be the most amazing developer in the world, but if no one knows your name, you’ll never get invited.

Make real-life friends

I’ve gotten to know a lot of the leading figures in the web industry – people who are really influential on the Twitter space. I didn’t have some sort of Machiavellian plan – these were just the folks who were speaking at FOWA and FOWD. Once I was trusted by people, they were happy to connect me and recommend me.

The important thing is that I wasn’t trying to use people – I have a genuine interest getting to know them and be of help if they need me for anything.

Get writing

Ask influential bloggers if you can write a guest post for them. I got to know Jason Fried and Mike Arrington quite well and they’ve been kind enough to let me write several guest posts on Signal vs Noise and TechCrunch (list of my articles).

Tips from Mr Kevin Rose

Kevin Rose has written an article on TechCrunch with some additional tips on gaining Twitter followers – definitely worth checking out.


Learning with Treehouse for only 30 minutes a day can teach you the skills needed to land the job that you've been dreaming about.

Get Started

31 Responses to “How to get more followers on Twitter”

  1. Gail D Kitchens on November 20, 2009 at 5:57 am said:

    I use Hummingbird to get more followers on Twitter. I think this is the link: http://www.hummingbird2.com

  2. I use Hummingbird to get more followers on Twitter. I think this is the link: http://www.hummingbird2.com

  3. So Twitter is awesome for Taking traffic to you website . It is very
    simple to setup and its a fun positive way to keep in contact with
    people. To get more followers on twitter check out this amazing

  4. follow me on twitter!!!!!!! lets start makin big numbers together!

  5. Ryan Carson on February 13, 2009 at 8:11 am said:

    Thanks Justin!

  6. Don’t worry Ryan, I ACTUALLY appreciate your blog. Thank you for this post, as well. 🙂

    – “Keep ya head up kid”

  7. @Ryan: that’s actually a pretty decent reason for having a lot of followers. I wonder, though, whether for the ‘average Joe’ if that sort of practice works? You’re well known in the web industry, so you’re bound to garner more replies to questions than (say) myself. Also, this technique only works if you’re a public tweeter. As Twitter becomes more spam and marketing-oriented, more and more of my friends have become private only. At this point, you have to forcibly remove yourself from those kind of exchanges. It’s a shame, but at the moment Twitter doesn’t support a mechanism for making some of your tweets public whilst the rest are private.

  8. Tom; no no, I seriously just don’t have any real life friends. I have a hunch that if I do a lot of retweeting and perhaps speak at a conference or two I might get some more though.

  9. @Bradley

    “What possible gain does a large number of followers give you?”

    I think it’s unwise to follow a lot of people. I follow around 250, max. However, it’s *tremendously* valuable to have a lot of people following you, because you can learn a great deal when you ask them questions.

    When I ask for people’s opinions or thoughts on something, I usually get around 10 replies from my followers. It’s amazing.

  10. @Ben Darlow
    Wow, you have one mighty big axe to grind.
    It’s almost as if you follow this blog just to post your negative rubbish.

  11. Can your next article be about how to make friends, please?

  12. Twitter isn’t one thing. For people like Stephen Fry, Ryan, Arrington et al it’s more of a broadcast thing. There’s no way you can be social with that number of people.

    My follower count has grown slowly but steadily to 200+, and I follow about half that number. Keeps it manageable.

    One horse, multiple courses.

  13. In the words of Tim Van Damme:

    “How to get more followers on Twitter” is the new “How to make your dick longer”

  14. Haven’t we already discussed, on this very blog, that Twitter is a social medium? Last time I checked (outside in “real society”), the object of social mediums was not to gather as many friends as possible, as if in a real like Pokemon game. What possible gain does a large number of followers give you? Ego boosts? More opportunity to spam them with pyramid schemes? This article is ridiculous.

  15. You're Kidding, Right? on February 11, 2009 at 2:26 pm said:


  16. Only recently picked up the twittering myself but I like it. I have already seen alot of interesting stuff that I might have otherwise missed – such as ubiquity.

    Also Someone’s Cranky!

  17. I’ve just passed 500+ followers, I think it’s great to share with people what your reading online, theres always something for someone on your followers list.

  18. Oh, yeah, and my favourite one when people on this blog posts about ‘great Ryan’, ‘pretty cool’, ‘awesome’..

    Come on! Let’s do something yourself and not schmoozing all the time..

  19. Don’t worry about you follow count – It’s all about Content, content and content.

  20. I do really think that Twitter is pointless and takes your time. Do you have a lot of time? Then I understand why you use Twitter. It’s just a hype like iPhone and really really rubbish.

    The whole concept – however – is good but it would be much useful in a corporate environment at an enterprise.

    Ryan, you get up 5.30 am, this is because you need to tweet? Also, I do think that checking mails only twice daily is a rubbish attitude. Replying to client’s email is what is needed to be done rapidly not twittering.

  21. Thanks for sharing the tips Ryan. And congrats on getting to 8k followers. How are the plans for FOWA coming a little less than 2 weeks away?

  22. Good article. I would also add that to keep followers you need to know when to stop tweeting so often.

  23. I can only dream of that many followers. But I suppose we all have to start somewhere.

    Keep on Twittering Ryan!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

man working on his laptop

Are you ready to start learning?

Learning with Treehouse for only 30 minutes a day can teach you the skills needed to land the job that you've been dreaming about.

Start a Free Trial
woman working on her laptop