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February 21, 2011


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The things you did to get the Twitter follow you have, you would have done anyway. It sounds like the "followship" is the result of the work. But they also helped you get the work, no? So which comes first?


Ah, so that's the secret! To do stuff!

I was ready to listen to more general best practices, but I actually was surprised at this. Gotta love how the secret to Twitter success is to develop social value elsewhere, when Twitter is used to develop interest in what you're creating. A big cycle, everything feeding into each other.

One thing that you didn't mention is how many people did you yourself follow? That's also a good way to gain followers, at least in the beginning before the ball gets rolling.

Geno Prussakov

David, good post. Made me learn something today.

Having compared my info to yours -- I have sent 13,400+ tweets (you: ~4,350), wrote 800+ blog posts (you: 414), published 3 books (you: 4) -- I actually believe that there is a secret, and the secret is in how public you are (+ the wide interest in your niche). After all my tweets and posts I have only about 2,200 followers (you: 50,000+). On the list of things you're doing, and I'm not, I see webinars, 10x more presentations, podcasts, 10x more videos, interviews by famous media outlets + I see that you are also following many more people that I am (you: ~33,800, me: ~70).

Now, on a separate note, I have a question: what does having 50k+ followers mean for you ROI-wise?

David Meerman Scott

Rick & Syrten - Indeed. The ecosystem feeds itself resulting in followers.

Now finding that I didn't offer a complete list. You're right Syrten - I follow 30k + people.

Geno, hmmm... I do wonder how your math is different. Regarding ROI - I have no clue! But I'm having fun!


Great post David and very interesting stuff that Geno is sharing.
I deeply believe that is not entirely how many post, tweets, seminars, webinars, YouTube vids, etc you can share, I believe is all in the way you share that stuff.

What? :) yes is all about how rich is the content that you're preaching, the presence of the persona in all stages, the charisma, the way you connect with the audience, the way you enter their minds.. Is a complexity of things. But like Geno, is how public you're and (my part) how you connect with them.

Looking forward for the next post! Greetings from Mexico


Congrats on hitting the 50,000 milestone! And thank you so much for the love you showed me in the article. I am honored I was the reason you went back to the original quote and realized its importance.

Jim Kukral

You mean you didn't just get all those followers by clicking an easy button David? lol. You should have just bought one of those info products that could have done all this for you overnight with the click of a button. :)

David Meerman Scott

Good point, Josemsanchez80 - the quality of what you do is also important. I could use some Mexico not - it is snowing (yet again) in Boston.

Michael - thanks so much for sparking this!

Jim -- Easy button! Formula! Act now!


Great post, David.

It doesn't surprise me that the genesis of this thought occurred at a music conference. There's an old saying in the music business that you build your fan base one fan at a time, and I don't think Twitter is any different.

Greetings from Nashville - somewhere in between Boston and Mexico in terms of the weather :).

Jo Denny

Looks like those guys are having a lot of fun.



David (in reply to your comment of 10:55 am): Speaking of the differences in our math, as a friend has pointed out on Twitter "the key difference I see between" my activity vs yours is that "publicity has a wider potential audience than affiliate topics". I also think so.

BTW, it'd be great to have a reply-to option when addressing comments.


I am gaining a deeper appreciation of Twitter everyday.

David Meerman Scott

Geno - Could be...

Keep going Tim.

Scott Hepburn

I've been a big fan of yours for ages, DMS -- since I bought my first copy of "The New Rules of Marketing & PR," and probably even before that. This post may be the best yet.

"Start stuff. Do new things. Experiment. Take risks." There's more wisdom in those eight words than in most of the Tweets I've read since 2008 combined.

The beauty of this advice? It's not just the secret to getting Twitter followers, it's the secret to being successful just about anywhere.

Right on, man!

David Meerman Scott

Thanks so much Scott. I appreciate your kind words.


This is a great post David. It is reassuring to know that I'm on the right path. Sometimes when I'm doing the footwork and not seeing the immediate results, I forget that it takes time and patience. I've only recently really put the pedal to the metal w/consistency in my social networking (in the last year) and blogging. It's definitely a commitment, but it's worth it.. I see the growth. Maybe one day, I'll have 50K followers too! I love the "Easy Button" comment by Jim, lol! I wish... Anyway, thank you David for being an inspiration.


Getting followers in twitter doesn't have a easy formula. It is all about experimenting and finding out what works the best along with great and engaging content. Great example is you blog post that you tweet. I started following you in twitter so that I won't miss out on blog posts (great content).

David Meerman Scott

Yep - there is no "easy button" but I think that is a good thing.


So I guess what you're saying, David, is hard work pays off - eventually. Good for you.

GM Social Media


Hardened biz folks always want to see a tenfold return in sales on each dollar spent so I guess the same holds true for Twitter too. Your breakdown of the effort you've put in is a great example to bring to the corner office when they start wondering, "why do we only have 300 followers?" Undoubtedly, they haven't invested the same effort in building relatiionships and creating relevant content.

I suppose we should add as well that while hitting the 50,000 milestone is a great achievement that was neither easy nor fast, engagement rather than # of followers is really the goal. Of course, David, in your case you've engaged a goodly percentage of your followers outside Twitter.

Gr8 post!

Duncan Robb

Sounds like it's a bit like keeping fit - no one else can do it for you and if you don't put the effort in, you won't get the results you're looking for. Thanks for the kick up the backside.

Steve Keating

Interesting article - I have made it a point not to even mention my Twitter feed outside of Twitter. I've built a strong brand there with over 140k followers but it's all organic growth. In 150+ talks around the world Twitter just hasn't come up, I'm not speaking on Social Media and I'm FAR from a Twitter expert but maybe I need to think about it differently in the future. Thanks for the insights!


David: congratulations, that's a good number! I'm thrilled to be hitting escape velocity beyond 3K!

You neglected the 'easy' answer to getting 50K followers - go follow 70K random people - and I'm glad you did. "Following" and following are two different things.


Account Deleted

Take action, do stuff, get results.

Who'd have thought!

Well done, David - that's very cool indeed.


I started my tweet journey on july,2009!
& now i have only 27k+ followers on twitter! :-)

Great Post! thanks for sharing...

Greg Jameson

Thanks David - best post I've seen on this subject.

Jason Sadler

Not trying to play devils advocate, but how much following/unfollowing have you done? Just curious as I think it's a part of this story that isn't being told. Do you auto-follow people and who do you choose to auto-follow? I saw a few people ask these questions but no answers were given.

A lot of people write blog posts about gaining followers and sometimes they leave out actual tricks/tools that they use. If you didn't use follow/unfollow tools (and I'm not trying to accuse you of it) following 30,000+ people is quite the manual task.

I appreciate that you preach hard work and love the transparency. There are a lot of posts like these out there and since I follow David Garland and he tweeted this I thought I'd give it a look.

Thanks for taking the time to write the post and for responding to comments.


I liked you right away when I saw you were a grateful dead fan!

David Meerman Scott

Ah, a conspiracy theorist. Jason -- No. Absolutely not have I EVER used any trick of any kind.

I looked back in the comments and could not find any that asked the same question. Not sure what you are referring to...

When I first started on Twitter, I looked at everyone who followed me and if they were a human, I manually followed them back.

Then, I used an auto-follow back program for about 18 months that automaticlly followed anyone who followed me and automatically unfollowed anyone who unfollowed me. When this program was no longer available, I stopped.

That's why my ratio is 33k to 50k.

I have never, ever used any trickery. Frankly I'm too busy doing all the stuff outlined in the post to spend time randomly driving numbers.


Gem Webb

Great post. I realy enjoyed the analogy of Duncan Robb: Sounds like it's a bit like keeping fit - no one else can do it for you and if you don't put the effort in, you won't get the results you're looking for. Thanks for the kick up the backside."

I think he is bang on. ROI seems to be on this website that you end up buying a book and someone gets a commission. Nothing wrong with that as great original thought content like this deserves funding.



Awesome post


So far, my Twitter activities have netted me.... 71 followers. That's 71 without the 'K'.

Seriously, thanks for the great post. Really shows that hard work, strong messaging and focused subject matter make the difference in building an audience.

To quote Morpheus from "The Matrix", "There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path."

David you've shown us the path; its up to each of us to walk the path if we want success.

Thanks for that.

Wilson Usman

I thought there was suppose to be a magic bullet or something (sarcasm).


I am rolling up my sleeves as we speak. Lots to do.
Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your impressive achievements!

Jason Sadler

David - Thanks for the response! Good luck with all that you do.

Self Publishing Blog

Follow, RT, post brilliant posts, Tweet, promote (others), network... 858 Followers since August 2010.

Account Deleted

your tips regarding getting 50000 followers are great. Though I knew some of them still then I learned a lot from your post. Thanks for this post.


So what you're saying David is that it's easy and it's hard - do the little things - a LOT of them - and you'll get there! I'm on it!
Thanks for a great post!


When I read the headline my intial thought was "well of course, it's easy for him, he's written that famous book".

But then I saw the list of things you'd done in the time you'd been tweeting (and blushed with shame).

Even without a pre-existing best seller, all that doing is going to get you followers. Well done.

@geno - one difference may be the field you're in. My suspicion is that more people are interested in following and watching what a social media guy does than an affiliate marketer. Nothing derogatory about affiliate marketing - just less people interested in it I think.

Adriana Hire

Great article. Bottom line... you do what you do, and be open and social about it. everybody is an expert on something, so evolve yourself into that niche and the rest is consequence o that spread. I think what you generated it is a sustainable presence in twitter, that comes as a consequence of credibility. It is the base of New marketing, I would guess. Be open and social, give away what you know, so people know that YOU DO KNOW! Then, they will come to you. Great article. (the magic button can attract many followers, but that is not sustainable I believe...)


Thank you for sharing your experience about twitter and how to get success with Twitter. Great to know how you did for a newbie like me.


Really thanks for your tips.I really appreciate all of this.Even i have used many techniques for gaining the number of followers on twitter but nothing worked out...


David, I'm glad that you have pointed this out.. as so many people are always seeking for quick numbers. 'A magic bullet' and we have always tried telling clients that it's not really possible and slow but direct informative way is forward.
So now rather than trying to explain I will just forward this link! It will save us time.


David, great article. I am not famous but have grown my Twitter account to over 100,000 followers. I have written an article outlining how I did managed to attract over 100,000 followers in Twitter. I break it down into 3 key areas ~ http://tweethelp.blogspot.com/

aluminium kozijnen

Thanks for this tips.. I will start surely..


I still have to start my twitter journey and this is more than helpful...thanks a million.


Nice article, but it creates the illusion it was hard or takes a lot of effort to get 50.000 followers. I started September 2010 and by now (May 2011) I have 47.000 followers, now growing about 350 per day. no webinarsm no books, no interviews with presidents.
All I did was follow people and unfollow those that did not follow back - but follow someone else. That's it.
Check out my stats - all organic growth: @4minuten

Bradley H Smith

It's no secret. You've shared it for a few years and you and I have worked it together (http://www.ibradley.com/davidmeermanscott.html)... it's the delivery of smart product. For you very specifically, your product is "content." There is no trick to that other than hard work. Well done.

David Meerman Scott

Thank you Bradley!

Charles McCool

I like when secrets are not really secrets. Like losing weight and finding travel deals. Best wishes!


No secrets? We might have uncovered at least one:

Loved the quote, the post, and the valuable discussion. Gradually growing my following myself, below the 10 followers/activity batting average, of course. Most of my "activities" are blogging (http://givoly.com), tweeting (@givoly), and public speaking. I do not follow many, only the most interesting people I see.

Contrary to the essence of this post and its subtitle, it does seem, however, that there is one "secret" trick to creating followership, and @4minuten employes it to great effect, and that is randomly following people (and unfollowing those that don't follow you back).

Another related thing that I haven't seen discussed here is all these services to create / fabricate "real" followers. For instance, www.bulkguaranteedfans.com - allowing someone to "buy" fans. I'm actually wondering how different this is from the approach of @4minuten (it could be that they simply charge money to do this trick for you!).

So this trick seems to be a secret employed by some.

The question is whether this "community" of followers is then of any value? How can we compare the impact of this followership vs. "real" followership that is a result of "real work"?

Madalin Blidaru

Well, there are some things you have done since 2008... It's a great article... Congrats!


Hi David
With a title like that, I had to come over and investigate.

"You need to build a fan base one effort at a time over the long haul."

Thought so... more hard work. LOL

Thanks David - I'll make sure that I follow you and hope you'll follow back.


Great article. I currently have over 6,000 followers which I built by following people and unfollowing the ones who did not follow back. I would give them time-like a month or two to follow me back. I have been doing this-I think-since 2010. My reason for getting a lot of followers is to read articles that I write on Associated Content (now yahoo voices). But I am going to need way more followers to see any sort of profit and your ideas are excellent. Maybe not get involded in speaking engagements.


Thanks for sharing this information, i truly love your weblog. Keep this good work & enlighten us with your new post. Thanks.

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