By: Daniel Vassallo
1. Find what's interesting about you
Start by taking notice of what people in real life ask you about. Chances are that if your friends are interested in something you're doing, the internet will help you find thousands more like them.
2. But what if I'm not doing anything interesting?!
Almost everyone is. It doesn't have to be anything spectacular. You might be:
- Learning a new skill
- Doing a side hustle
- Going for a road trip
- Remodeling your home
- Studying something obscure
- Losing weight
- Living frugally
- Moving countries
- Moving from the city to the country
- Homeschooling your kids
- Growing your own vegetables
- Leaving your job
- Looking for a new job
- Fighting an illness
And so on.
Work backwards from what people ask you about.
3. Answer a question about you
Now, think about the answers you give when people ask you about the thing you're doing. Then write a short blog post answering a particular question. Example:
Title: Why I chose to grow my own vegetables.
Body: Explain why, in under 5 minutes.
4. Add a call-to-action
At the end of your post, invite people to follow you on Twitter (or your platform of choice) to get more updates about your story.
Only put one call to action. Don't ask people to follow you on Twitter and sign up for your newsletter. Pick one.
5. Go where people already are
Now you need to promote your post, and the way to do that is to go where people interested in your topic already hang around. There are tons of sites on the internet with thousands of people continuously refreshing the page waiting for something interesting to show up. Go there.
Which sites are these? You'll have to find them, depending on your topic. A few I used are Reddit, Hacker News, LinkedIn, Quora, and Indie Hackers.
You'll have an advantage if you're already familiar with the community, but it's something you can figure out.
Not every post will work, for reasons that might be out of your control (bad timing, getting flagged, etc.). In that case, rinse, repeat. Try small tweaks and variations.
If "Why I chose to grow my own vegetables" didn't work, try "Why I don't trust supermarket vegetables."
When one of your posts gets some attention and you start getting comments, make sure you're there to answer every single question you get. Your willingness to answer authentically will be a huge signal that you're worth following.
8. This works!
Keeping doing this until you get your 1K. Sometimes you get them with your 1st post; sometimes it takes a bit longer. But it almost always works. It's not hard to get someone to follow you (it's free!). You just have to be worth following — and the above is how to show them that.
- Only Intrinsic Motivation Lasts
- Designing a New Old Home
- I Sell Onions on the Internet
- Reflecting on My Failure to Build a Billion-Dollar Company
The first post is mine, and it got me my first 2000 followers. I wrote that one immediately after I left my job. The inspiration came from having spent the previous week explaining to my colleagues why I was choosing to leave a cushy job when everything seemed to be going really well. I figured that if my colleagues found my reasoning interesting, others on the internet might do as well. And that's what happened: In the first week, I got 20K visits from Hacker News, 8.5K from Indie Hackers, and 1.4K from LinkedIn. About 7% of the people who landed on my post became Twitter followers.
Daniel also offers a course on using Twitter that you can pay for. Below are our notes from the course if you don't want to pay the fee.