So you want to grow a Twitter account fast, so do I so feel free to follow my SEO/marketing relevant Twitter accounts and I’ll probably follow back…
Before maximising Twitter growth you need to understand the basic Twitter limits follow/unfollow so you don’t fall foul of them and get your account considered SPAMMY resulting in suspension or banned.
Twitter Follow/Unfollow Limits and How Close to Those Limits You Can Go?
Technically there aren’t any Twitter unfollow limits, theoretically you can unfollow as many accounts as you like in a day, BUT see the Twitter aggressive follow churn warnings later. In practice it’s OK to say once or twice a week to unfollow 500-1,000 accounts, that’s highly unlikely to cause a problem.
Twitter allows you to follow up to 1,000 accounts in a 24 hour period.
Is it Safe to Follow 1,000 Accounts a Day?
Although you can safely follow 1,000 accounts in a particular day, it’s not wise to follow anywhere near 1,000 accounts per day on a regular basis: eventually you will get your account suspended and possible banned. Realistically to follow 1,000 accounts every day you would have to use aggressive Twitter follow churn techniques within 5 days because of other Twitter follow limits (see the 10% limit later).
“Aggressive follow churn is when an account repeatedly follows and then unfollows a large number of accounts. This may be done to get lots of people to notice them, to circumvent a Twitter limit, or to change their follower-to-following ratio.” https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/twitter-following-rules
The extreme of Twitter follow churn is following 1,000 accounts every day and unfollowing them ALL X days later, in theory this would grow an account super fast, but I doubt your account would remain live for more than a week: don’t try this at home :-)
The 10% Twitter Followers Limit at 5,000 Followers
There’s a limit when you’ve followed 5,000 Twitter accounts, at this stage you can follow 10% above your Twitter followers.
In practice this means if you’ve rushed to follow 5,000 accounts, but only have say 1,000 followers you won’t be able to follow anymore accounts until around 4550 accounts have followed you OR you unfollow accounts to keep below the 5,000 limit until at least 4550 accounts follow back.
If you have:
- 4,545 or fewer followers, you can follow 5,000 Twitter accounts.
- 5,000 followers, you can follow 5,500 Twitter accounts.
- 6,000 followers, you can follow 6,600 Twitter accounts.
- 7,000 followers, you can follow 7,700 Twitter accounts.
- 8,000 followers, you can follow 8,800 Twitter accounts.
- 9,000 followers, you can follow 9,900 Twitter accounts.
- 10,000 followers, you can follow 11,000 Twitter accounts.
- 11,000 followers, you can follow 12,000 Twitter accounts.
- 20,000 followers, you can follow 22,000 Twitter accounts.
To know your maximum follower number take how many accounts you are following and multiply by 1.1
So if you follow 7867, you can follow 7667 x 1.1 = 8434 Twitter accounts.
Hitting the 10% Twitter limit doesn’t appear to cause any problems (no penalty), you get a notification and it stops you following more until either more people follow you or you remove some of those you’ve followed who didn’t follow back.
Remember be careful with too much following/unfollowing quickly, this is considered Twitter churn and can get your Twitter account banned. For example if you are following 500 accounts every day and 3 days later unfollowing them all, you’ll probably get your account banned eventually (Twitter considers this abuse): there’s not much point getting an account to say 30,000 followers only for Twitter to ban it for Twitter churn!
More on Avoiding Aggressive Follow Churn
Even if you don’t unfollow accounts which followed back (only unfollow accounts which didn’t follow back) AND 50% of accounts follow back (500 new followers a day) you would still have to unfollow 500 accounts every day so you can continue following 1,000 new accounts every day.
An unrealistic example where 50% of Twitter accounts always follow back might be:
Day 1: Follow 1,000 = Following 1,000 and Followed by 500
Day 2: Follow 1,000 = Following 2,000 and Followed by 1,000
Day 3: Follow 1,000 + Unfollow 500 = Following 2,500 and Followed by 1,500
Day 4: Follow 1,000 + Unfollow 500 = Following 3,000 and Followed by 2,000
Day 5: Follow 1,000 + Unfollow 500 = Following 3,500 and Followed by 2,500
Day 6: Follow 1,000 + Unfollow 500 = Following 4,000 and Followed by 3,000
Day 7: Follow 1,000 + Unfollow 500 = Following 4,500 and Followed by 3,500
Day 8: Follow 1,000 + Unfollow 500 = Following 5,000 and Followed by 4,000
Will hit the 5,000 + 10% issue here and would have to unfollow more…
Day 9: Follow 1,000 + Unfollow 1,000 = Following 5,000 and Followed by 4,500
Day 10: Follow 1,000 + Unfollow 500 = Following 5,500 and Followed by 5,000
Day 11: Follow 1,000 + Unfollow 500 = Following 6,000 and Followed by 5,500
I’m sure you can see the footprint following/unfollowing this way will generate, in just 11 days the account would follow 11,000 accounts and unfollowed 5,000 accounts. This would be very easy for Twitter to automatically spot and mark your account as low quality and ban the account! In 100 days you will have followed 100,000 Twitter accounts and unfollowed 50,000 accounts and have an account with 50,000+ followers. IME 50% of accounts tend not to follow back, even if you use techniques to follow those who are active (if active they are more likely to follow back) you will be following thousands of accounts which do not reciprocate and to continue following more you’ll have to unfollow them within about 5 days.
If you try to achieve the above it’s also obvious you’ve used automated tools which is breaking the Twitter TOS (who is going to manually click a mouse 1,500 times every day: 1,000 follows, 500 unfollows) and you are using aggressive follow churn techniques.
How Many Twitter Accounts Should I Follow?
Let’s be far more realistic…
Depending upon the current age/size of your Twitter account will determine how close to the 1,000 limit per day you can go. I avoid following more than 500 accounts per day, I aim for around 400, but take breaks: I don’t do this every single day, so over the course of a week it’s following around 2,000 accounts.
For a brand new account I’ve found if you follow even 200 accounts in the first few hours the account will be considered SPAMMY and those you follow won’t see your account in their followers list for 24hrs. Some call this Twitter Ghost-Banned, while “ghosted” those you follow can’t see your account has followed theirs, they can’t followback.
Basically you are temporarily hidden from other Twitter users, you’ve probably noticed this with some accounts following you if you tend to follow most accounts back, you will find single accounts you didn’t follow back a day or so longer after you would have followed back. If you use a tool like Twitonomy the ghost-banned accounts you are following will be listed as following 0 accounts. While ghosted there’s an increased chance of accounts you follow who are following back will unfollow because tools like Twitonomy list the account as not following back. Sometimes I’ll find dozens of ghosted accounts (0 followers) via Twitonomy: I unfollow them all, no idea if Twitter has quality filters, but if they do this is bound to be a filter and following accounts which get ghosted COULD cause a penalty to those following them.
A way to check this is have a “Ghost Check” Twitter account you don’t use for anything (don’t follow anyone including your account, don’t Tweet etc…), follow that Ghost Check account and if when logged into your Ghost Check account you do NOT see your important account in the followers list you’ve been ghosted for following too many accounts. Stop following for 24hrs and check again, when the ghost-ban is lifted be more careful with how many you follow.
What you should take from this is start slow and work your way up or your account will be marked as SPAMMY, could be ghosted, temporarily suspended (requiring phone verification) and might even be banned.
For example I started a new account on the 18th December and started by following 200 accounts the first day: not all at once (spread through the 1st 24hrs) and already (6 days later) the account has 1,786 followers (see screenshot below).
The account is following 2,400 account, so averaged 400 a day and ~75% followed back (not unfollowed any yet), see later for how to get a high follow back percentage (though 75% is very high and not what I see on all accounts). It’s unlikely the account will continue to grow at this pace, I expect the follow back rate to drop to below 50%.
Others grow accounts much faster, but it’s risky and they’ll get some accounts banned: to date I’ve never had a Twitter account banned.
Let’s get to how to quickly increase your number of followers.
How To Quickly Increase Twitter Followers
I grow my Twitter accounts by following most accounts back, emphasis on MOST not ALL.
- I avoid following adult accounts (porn).
- I rarely follow accounts which lack a profile image or biography: if the account owner hasn’t bothered to upload a profile image and a sentence for a bio, they probably aren’t Twitter engaged…
- I avoid following accounts I’ve previously followed/unfollowed and accounts who followed/unfollowed my account (this is difficult to manage).
The above means on my accounts with over 10,000 followers there will be 500+ accounts following I won’t followback, add that to the 10% Twitter limit described above and there’s plenty of scope for following/unfollowing without being an aggressive follow/unfollower.
How it works (for me) is I keep a track of how many accounts I’m following in a spreadsheet so I know how many accounts I’ve followed/unfollowed in a 24hr period (I aim for following 400 a day). When I hit the target, I stop following until the next day, pretty simple really.
At irregular intervals I’ll unfollow enough accounts to keep the process going, but if I find I’m having to unfollow thousands of accounts I’ll take a break to allow others to follow the account so I’m not unfollowing too quickly. Unfollowing accounts which haven’t followed back within 10 days appears to be safe IME.
To grow a Twitter account fast the trick is following accounts which are more likely to follow back relative to randomly following accounts.
For example you know I’m actively growing multiple Twitter accounts, this means the accounts which recently FOLLOWED an account of mine almost certainly followed today (100+ new followers a day isn’t unusual): the most recent 10 followers could have followed within the past hour. If they followed my account recently, they are actively following accounts and if you follow them there’s a significant chance they’ll follow back: far higher percentage than randomly following accounts.
How to Find Twitter Accounts to Follow Which FollowBack
A quick way to find accounts to follow is search for a keyword or hashtag relevant to your Twitter account, check the People tab to show a list of accounts, tend to be around 50 listed: see screenshot below of the SEO hashtag search.
Don’t follow them, you have no idea if they are active/engaged/abandoned accounts, instead open the FOLLOWERS page for some of the accounts listed and follow whoever recently followed them.
You can see from the screenshot above the account has been followed by 80,000 Twitter accounts, but only followed back ~200, the owner of this account won’t follow you back. The 20 most recent accounts to follow this account though might follow back, consider following some of them: in the 6 accounts shown 4 don’t have a biography (2 don’t even have a profile image), I wouldn’t follow them, but the other 2 are worth considering and you know not only have they followed this account recently, it’s an account that doesn’t follow back so they might not be checking in detail who they follow (making an assumption they want to increase their follower count).
Another technique is to find Twitter accounts in your niche who are obviously using Twitter follow churn techniques and follow their followers. I stumbled on an account in a niche I’m interested this month that’s just over 3 weeks old and already has 11,000 followers (it’s following 3,000 accounts) so it’s averaging about 500 new followers a day. Strongly suggests the owner is using relatively aggressive follower churn techniques, but so far has got away with it: useful to me because I know the 11,000 followers have followed within the last few weeks and the newest 1,000 probably last couple of days and they’ll probably follow my Twitter account in the same niche.
David Law : Freelance SEO Consultant