How I Grew From 300 to 5k Followers In Just 3 Weeks

Karan Thakkar
Apr 28, 2015 · 8 min read

#GrowthHacking my Twitter account for @Crowdfire Twitter Premier League

[Update — October 3, 2017] The followers script was changed to match the new Twitter UI changes

It all started on March 16th, 2015, when @deepak365 decided to hold the @Crowdfire Twitter Premier League, which trended on social media as #CTPL.

But before I go into the details, let me tell you that I am not a social media guru. I don’t know how to market stuff. I don’t have a sense of humor like @Trendulkar or @GabbbarSingh. To make things harder, @Crowdfire has some awesome people like @iSpiritualist, @KaziUrooj, @NischalShetty, @BuddhaSource who are pretty rad when it comes to #socialmedia, especially Twitter. But I decided that I wanted to win one way or another, and my strategy had one thing that I was good at — Code.

“GrowthHackers are a hybrid of Marketer and Coder.” — Andrew Chen, Entrepreneur

My Twitter stats before the competition:
Following: 635
Followers: 373

Round 1. Maximize your Follower Gain

Follower Gain (FG) = Followers - Unfollowers

FG > 100 = 2 point
100 < FG < 500 = 4 point
500 < FG < 3000 = 6 point
FG > 3000 = 8 point

Bottlenecks: This might seem simple — just keep following people and eventually you’ll start getting followbacks. True. But you have to maintain a certain following/follower ratio.

Eg: You can follow only 2000 users at first. It’s only after your follower count reaches a certain level that you are allowed to follow more people.

Strategy: The first thing I had to do was find people to follow, but there are two big questions here:

  1. How to find people who would followback?
  2. How to make sure those people engage (favorite, retweet and mentions) my tweets?

With some research and actual experimentation, I figured out the answers to these pressing questions:

  1. Choose a niche interest for your Twitter profile.
  2. Find people who post interesting tweets and are active everyday on social media. This ensures that people are active and are likely to engage with you.
  3. Find people who have a Follower to Following ratio of 1 to 2. These people are more likely to follow you back.

Solution: Following thousands of people manually is just impossible when you have to kick some ass in a competition. That’s why I wrote this very simple script that you can run in the browser which will automatically follow people on Twitter. You just have to go to your competitor’s follower list, open Developer Tools for Chrome, paste this script and press ENTER.

a = setInterval(function () {
$('.not-following .user-actions-follow-button.js-follow-btn button.follow-text').click();
}, 1000);

This will automatically follow all visible people on that page, scroll for you, load more people, follow them and so on. If you want to stop the script, just paste the following line and press ENTER.


After this, I was all set for winning Round 1. The only thing you must keep in mind after doing all this is: CLEAN YOUR ACCOUNT (Try @Crowdfire’s Non -Followers feature)

PRO TIP: Give some time for people to follow back. After that, unfollow everyone who does not follow you back to keep your Following to Follower ratio balanced and so that you are not stopped by Twitter’s rate limits on your way to glory!

First Round @GetStatsApp Stats:

Image for post
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Overall Followers Received for Round 1

Round 2: Maximize engagement per tweet

Engagement = ( Retweets + Favorites + Mentions ) / Number of tweets

Engagement < 1 = 1 point
1 < Engagement < 2 = 2 point
2 < Engagement < 3 = 3 point
3 < Engagement < 4= 4 point
4 < Engagement < 10 = 5 point
10 < Engagement = 10 point

Bottlenecks: This round was tricky. Not only must you make sure you tweet less, you must also make sure you tweet quality stuff, at the right time to get more engagement (favorites/retweets).

Strategy: The first thing I had to do was find good content. Best source was Medium. I searched for interesting content related to marketing, social media, growth hacking.

The second thing that was to engage with other people on Twitter who shared the same niche interest that I did.

Solution: I used Buffer to schedule those tweets and track their performance. Based on the performance of each tweet, their reach/engagement/time of post, I rescheduled some of those tweets multiple times throughout the week.

PRO TIP: Every time a new tweet is posted through Buffer, go to Twitter and Pin that particular tweet.

My next step was creating more engagement for my tweets. So I searched for tweets with trending hashtags like #growthhacking, #socialmedia, #smm, #marketing, #seo and #blogging. For social media marketers these hashtags are always your best bet. And of course, I created a script that would favorite all the tweets on the search results page, scroll for more, favorite, scroll for more, and so on. You get the gist.

a = setInterval(function () {
}, 1000)

After favoriting 1000 tweets, you will be restricted by Twitter, so don’t spend all your favorites on one hashtag; distribute your favorites among multiple trending hashtags. If you want to stop the script, just paste the following code and press ENTER.


PRO TIP: Another interesting trick that I used was based on the theory that if you add someone to a list, they will get notification that someone added them to a list and check out the persons profile. Now there is a 50–50 chance that they will favorite your pinned tweet. I can’t be sure of the conversion from this (hence the theory), but it’s an interesting idea and worth a shot.

I don’t want to leave you alone with without having any tools to track the success of all my tips, so here’s a tool I used to crack this round [list-copy]. You want to find people who have super awesome lists of Growth Hackers, Social Media Gurus, etc and then copy their followers list. How awesome is that!

Second Round @GetStatsApp Stats:

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Engagement (RT, Mention, Fav) w.r.t Tweets

Round 3: Maximize engagement per follower

Engagement Score = ( Retweets + Favorites + Mentions ) * 100 / Total Number of Followers

1 < Engagement Score < 10 = 1 point
10 < Engagement Score < 20 = 2 point
20 < Engagement Score < 30 = 3 point
30 < Engagement Score < 40 = 4 point
Engagement Score > 150 = 8 point

Bottlenecks: This was the toughest round of all — or so I thought at first. I would, not only have to tweet like crazy, but would also need insane engagement to even think of winning! One day, while chatting with a friend, a strategy came to mind. Eureka!

Strategy: To win this round I had to get a score of 8; meaning my engagement had to be greater than 150. I had around 3200 followers at the time. I would have to grow to 5000 followers by the end of the round, and hopefully for every 1 of my tweets I needed at least one favoraite and one retweet. I would have to post roughly:

Now, take a breath and think about that for a moment. 3750 EFFING TWEETS IN 7 DAYS! That is almost 535 tweets daily. Now there was no way I could *manually* search and post that many tweets. BUT, if I could put together a list of interesting social media accounts that tweet original stuff and piggyback on their tweets and post them to my account, I could still win this!

Solution: I researched and found something called as the Twitter Streaming API that lets you monitor events and tells you when a user has tweeted. So I wrote a script that would do just this. It monitors the tweets from the accounts of my choice and then tweets the same content from my account. Now using this script does require some programming knowledge as it written in nodejs.

For those who are familiar with it, checkout the code here. For those who aren’t, check the note at the bottom of this blog post. ;)

Third Round @GetStatsApp Stats:

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Engagement (RT, Mention, Fav) w.r.t Followers and Tweet

My Twitter stats after the competition:
Following: 4.7k
Followers: 5.2k

Needless to say, I literally ruled #CTPL.

TL;DR: there are a few points that I’d like to make:

  1. Don’t follow blindly and expect a followback. Choose your target and follow wisely.
  2. No one likes inactive accounts. People will unfollow you if they see that you are inactive (A lot of people use @Crowdfire’s Inactive Following tool to figure that out.) That is the reason you should post quality tweets and stay active.
  3. Post content that is relevant to your niche market. Do not tweet about a random of topics, no one likes that.
  4. Use Publish, which recently launched scheduling for Twitter and Instagram, or Buffer to automate good content.

Happy #GrowthHacking!

Note: I understand that a lot of people who are reading this are probably not good at programming. Hit me up on Twitter or email and I’ll help you set it up ☺

Warning/Disclaimer: Try the #growthhacks mentioned above at your own risk and go through these Twitter rules before trying.

Thanks to Priyanka Sharma, Vanhishikha Bhargava, and Sam

Karan Thakkar

Written by

he/him 💖 react native infra @Skyscanner ⚛️ prev: tech lead @Crowdfire 👨‍💻 Built @tweetifyio & 💛

Karan Thakkar

Written by

he/him 💖 react native infra @Skyscanner ⚛️ prev: tech lead @Crowdfire 👨‍💻 Built @tweetifyio & 💛

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