You signed up for Twitter , added a short bio, uploaded an avatar and are Tweeting regularly, but still nobody's following you.

Now what?

The way most Twitter users (especially new ones) build a base of Twitter followers is by following people themselves. Lots of people follow-back people who follow them, so by going out and following people, you should be able to accumulate a lot of followers .

I recently spent some time using data from  Twitter Grader  to test this assumption. I broke up the database into "buckets" of users based on how many users they're following. If you're following around 100 users, you're in the 100-user bucket, if you're following close to 1000 users, you're in that bucket.

The graph below shows the number of users in each bucket (the red line) and the average number of followers the users in each bucket have (the blue line).

The red line indicates that most users aren't following a ton of people, which is expected given that most users aren't Twitter-addicts. The blue line, however, tells a more interesting story:  People who follow lots of people tend to have lots of followers themselves.

We see that most users have close to a 1:1 ratio of following to followers, meaning that many users follow-back those that follow them.

So does that mean you should go nuts and follow tons and tons of people? To answer that question, let's look at how your following/follower ratio is related to the number of people that follow you.

The graph below shows the average number of followers of users based on their ratio. A ratio of 0.5 means that you follow half the number of people that are following you, and a ratio of 2 means you follow twice as many people as are following you.

This shows that users with a low following to follower ratio tend to have a high number of followers. That means that if your goal is to build a Twitter account with lots of followers, and we assume these factors have some sort of causal relationship,  you should try to keep your ratio near or under 1 (following the same number of people as follow you or less).


The data shows that the best way to build a robust Twitter account for your business is via a stepped approach . Follow a few people (a few of them will follow you back), then follow a few more.  Don't go crazy following thousands of people. Do it slowly and build up your followers gradually. 

Originally published Mar 26, 2009 8:29:00 AM, updated October 20 2016


Twitter Marketing