As I write this, I have around 3,000 followers on twitter — so I am by no means an expert at this game. Here is what I’ve figured out so far, and this is the playbook I’m running:

  1. Treat your profile like a product landing page. You are the product. Your bio, photo, and cover photo (and optionally: pinned tweet) should give people a strong reason why to follow you. The best way to do this is to pick 1-3 topics that you’re knowledgeable on, and state them in plain english. Give enough background so that it’s clear you’re a credible person on those topics.

    The reason this is necessary is that, until you’re mega famous like Elon or Oprah, strangers on the internet aren’t all that interested in following you. What they are interested in is following topics that help them out in some way — topics that make them richer, fitter, entertained, etc. You want to position yourself as the subject matter expert on your topics (or at least as someone who’s building in public in those areas in an interesting way).

  2. Send tweets. There isn’t really a hack here. You get big by putting in the work. Threads are really effective, especially when they’re unique and well-written. Quality and consistency are key. Stick to your 1-3 topics mainly. My favorite tool for composing and scheduling tweets is Typefully.

  3. Engage. One of the quickest ways to grow a following is to reply to “locally famous” accounts. Remember the 1-3 topics you picked in step 1? Follow 25 or so interesting accounts who also tweet on those topics. Consider making a special list so you can focus on just those 25 accounts.

    Whenever you go on twitter, reply to any fresh tweets you see these accounts. The goal is to be a top reply on a viral tweet — hitch your wagon to their star. You do this by commenting early, ideally within 10 minutes of the tweet, and by adding value to the conversation. Pretend you’re at a cocktail party and you overhear someone saying something interesting — if you have something interesting to say on top, interject and slide in. As you make friends on twitter, this gets easier.

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