This blog article is a guest post from Kori Hill Wallace from AddThis.


A New York Times article about the practice of paying for Twitter followers recently caused a news feed frenzy. The exposé not only included figures for what it costs to increase your following, but also name dropped some of the more famous figures guilty of implementing the sketchy strategy. Needless to say, it was quite a social media scandal.

Paying for followers is a controversial digital marketing tactic. Most marketers are aware these types of services exist, but smart social media strategists know good growth comes organically. Organic growth is not something that can be paid for or that will happen overnight. This typically goes for most things in life and business that will bring more value in its return.

So, how can you grow your Twitter following organically, without paying? First and foremost, patience is key. Don’t expect that implementing the tactics below will be like flipping a light-switch and suddenly you have 1000 new followers in mere days. It often takes sustained, consistent execution to start seeing real results. But here are some tips to help you focus your time and efforts…


1. Don’t just consume.

Many users leverage Twitter as only an inbound channel and do not take advantage of their own tweeting capabilities. Don’t be shy! Put your thoughts out there. No one wants to follow a silent stalker. To facilitate a following, you must provide value.


2. Know the trending topics and keywords in your industry and tweet about them using hashtags.

If you don’t know about hashtags, it is time to learn! Most likely if you’ve been hanging out on the internet, you’ve seen a term preceded by this symbol: #. That is a hashtag. They are the best way to make your tweets discoverable on most social platforms, especially a noisier one such as Twitter. When you use a hashtag, your post will be grouped in a feed with all the other posts that also contain that tag.

A great tactic for figuring out which hashtags you’d like to use is to revisit your keyword research in your SEO strategy. These keywords are the topics you have targeted to be the basis of your brand and they should be consistent across the board.


3. Follow industry leaders and influencers.

Retweet their content and engage with them in conversation. Influencer marketing is an increasingly popular way to reach new audiences on social media. Do some due diligence and see if soliciting the help of established online personalities can help you reach some of your goals.


4. Try testing some plugins.

There are all kinds of applications and services that you can connect to your Twitter for various sorts of reasons. For example, Buffer is popular to help schedule tweets. Quuu is a tool that can help you find relevant content to share. Leverage these services to help take some of the work out of tweeting and to create a consistent posting schedule.


5. Use visuals. Especially GIFs.

Did you know visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared? With that stat, it’s a no-brainer to tweet with photos and videos whenever possible. GIFs are becoming increasingly popular, especially on Twitter, and are a great way to make otherwise uneventful content fun and engaging.


6. Participate in Twitter chats.

Similar to hashtags, Twitter chats facilitate micro-communities and conversations on a noisy platform. Twitter chats are usually recurring, scheduled “meetings” where a group of users gather online and participate in a conversation surrounding a particular topic, using a specific “chat” hashtag, and tagging other chat participants. Getting involved in a few Twitter chats is a great way to discover other people in your industry and connect with some online influencers. If you find this to be an effective method, you may even create your own Twitter chat.


7. Be authentic.

Being true to yourself and your brand is the best way to find the right followers. The right followers are the ones who are drawn to you, appreciate what you have to offer, and care about what you have to say. They will be the most engaging and bring you the most value in return. So, much like in real life, don’t try to be something or someone you’re not. It will not get you anywhere good.

“You get what you pay for” is a term that comes to mind in regards to paying for Twitter followers. You will get bots and disinterested, non-engaging followers. In the world of digital marketing and social media, time and effort is far more valuable than a few dollars. So put in the work and it will pay off without you having a spend a cent.  


Kori Hill Wallace is a marketing specialist for AddThis, a world-class publisher products platform that helps website owners understand their audience and drive traffic. Kori handles outbound messaging for AddThis, including content management, email marketing, and social strategy. In her free time, Kori helps her husband run their small food business, ‘Chups Craft Condiments.