The recipe for followers

The beginning of this semester marks the birth of my professional Twitter account @bridget_downes. Since January, I’ve worked my way to 46 followers. My personal account has 228. Gaining followers is a feat that takes time if you don’t happen to be a celebrity.

Screenshot by Bridget Downes.


To gain followers, you must follow a recipe: post frequently, tag all posts, and interact with people. Posting frequently is important because not only does it show your followers you’re alive and kicking, but it provides a constant feed of information, which is what people want.

Tagging posts is another helpful tactic. By adding #freedom to your tweet regarding your 320 homework, any Twitter user who searches for freedom may stumble upon your tweet. This increases the chances of people visiting your Twitter account and potentially clicking “follow” when they enjoy your amazing, fully comprehensible, well-tagged tweets.

Adding hashtags won’t hurt your SEO, either. In fact it would do the opposite. So add all the appropriate hashtags your heart desires, without being excessive. If you add too many, people will stop reading them.

Comic by Sarah Lesson/

Interacting with people is another important ingredient in the recipe to gain follower count. People like being responded to. People like being acknowledged, noticed. If others see that you interact with your followers, they might be more inclined to approach you. This is also a good way to network. Twitter is a social medium, after all.

In addition to my personal Twitter account and my professional one, I run the account of Stony Brook Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood. I work as the social media coordinator for Vox, which includes running Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. This means I am in charge of publicizing and promoting our events to increase turn-out. As a group, we also post relevant articles that deserve signal boosting to spread awareness.

Screenshot by Bridget Downes.


Under the Vox account, I follow Twitter and Instagram accounts that have similar messages and goals as our group. This leads to follow-backs, based on similar interests.

Though I don’t have hard proof, I’ve heard people say that some accounts gain followers by going on a “follow spree,” and then unfollowing the accounts after gaining the follow-backs. Although this sounds effective, it seems morally wrong in my opinion. So I’ll stick to the original recipe.


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