How to get Twitter Followers: My path to over 50,000!!!

How to get Twitter Followers:

My path to over 50,000!!!

By: LifeofaMedStudent


how to get twitter followers

This is a little different style of post, one that may be of most interest to other bloggers and social media types. As of publishing, #LifeofaMedStudent currently has 54,350 followers on Twitter. Reaching that amount is no accident, and certainly not without a lot of effort. I never “bought” any followers, and never subscribed to the “we follow/follow back” sites. A lot of the early success I made up as I went, but at this point, I consider myself a semi-expert at social media accounts and traffic. This post is thus my “how to” attempt at what tricks/tips/advice on how to get twitter followers!


Find your niche

When first starting an account, dedicate some time to considering who your audience will be. Particularly, I focused on an area that I felt was missing – a site for sharing the humor and lives of medical students and those in medical training. There were and still are very popular “anonymous” accounts by medical students, but there wasn’t much about the life of medical students in general and there wasn’t any single central site to unify those experiences. Likewise, I early on realized that by creating an account around a hashtag, my account would not only be extremely visible, but it would allow the account to quickly find and share tweets by medical students across the globe. It’s not random that the hashtag “#LifeofaMedStudent” is in my profile – I click on it multiple times a week to quickly find the latest medical student tweets to share. By finding a niche that was both specific (medical life) but still broad (there are hundreds of thousands of pre-meds, medical students, residents), and creating a hashtag and site to connect their experiences, I was able to instantly have a large audience and provide a medium for them to share across the globe.

Whatever your niche or your audience, first identify it. Then find a way to provide something new or different. This is the building stage. It’s not as easy as “if you build it, they will come” .. getting the audience to your site and to click that follow button is the harder part…. And that we’ll focus on next.


Time & consistency

The number one advantage I’ve had is #LifeofaMedStudent has been around since December 2011. The number one thing I’ve done in those 6 years is producing content consistently. When it was first started, there were several other twitter accounts out there for medical students with 10-20k followers at that time. Most all of them have died off and haven’t had any new tweets for years. While there were periods of time I can’t say I tweeted content every day, for the past 6 years there has been something from #LifeofaMedStudent MOST days. Producing tweets consistently helps people find your content. It keeps your old followers engaged and sharing – the key to spreading your brand. Now I have about 5 tweets each day (1 humor or medical tweet, 4 posts to the website) and will RT those or other #LifeofaMedStudent tweets later in the day or next day. I find it’s important to dedicate at least 1 tweet a day for “engagement” – meaning a tweet that’s funny, inspiring, or relatable and thus designed to get likes and retweets. This helps keep a steady stream of new and old followers interacting with the site.


Automation/Refreshing Old Content

It’s time-consuming to come up with new content to share and also plan when/what time to produce it. For this reason, for several years now I have been using CrowdFire’s app to plan my tweets out days, sometimes weeks in advance. I usually would find some downtime during the week, and load up at least one tweet a day to automatically be fired off. Doesn’t matter what is happening at work, what is happening at home, those tweets will go out and #LifeofaMedStudent followers will have new content to spread/share. Since consistency is so important in growing a following, automation is key to helping maintain that consistency in our otherwise busy lives. There are now various tweeting apps that can publish pre-written tweets at your specified time, but Crowdfire was the one I started with and continue to use. You have the ability to set the time of the tweets, the amount per day, or set it to a “best time” that publishes the tweet at a higher traffic time of the day.

With regards to the posts linking to the website, I use the plugin “Revive Old Post” which randomly selects and tweets links to posts on the website. While these can be set at any time interval you want, I use every 6 hours to get 4 posts per day to the website. With 100+ posts, this means on average a post is tweeted out only about once a month. I find this is not frequently enough to become annoying to followers.

With regards to the funny or relatable “engagement” tweets, as followers grow, you’ll want to find ways to get the best of your prior content seen by new followers. I use the app TimeHop to keep my content queue filled. TimeHop is a social media app that shows you what you posted on the current day in years past. Because #LifeofaMedStudent has been around 6 years, rarely does a day go by I haven’t posted something on a past day that is worth reposting today (or queue up CrowdFire’s app for a future day). Yet, because it’s only reposting old content once a year, old followers aren’t put off and new followers constantly get to see some of the best content #LifeofaMedStudent has ever posted over the last half-decade!


Get people’s attention – interact!

While your own tweets being shared can certainly help find new followers, another tactic is to consciously interact with people who are also in your target audience, especially if they don’t already follow you. Reply to tweets, whether you agree or disagree. I like to “quote” tweets (below) because the whole tweet/reply can then be easily retweeted. This benefits both parties, as the original account gets to send out their tweet again with a response, and the replying account is now seen by a whole different group of followers.

Physician on Fire provides a good example of the quote tweet here. My tweet is thus shown to all his followers, and when I retweet his comment, both his site and my original link are shown back to my followers – win, win!


Like tweets, and a lot of them! Retweet others! Each of these interactions shows up as a notification and potentially a way to get the attention of a new follower. Thousands of my followers have come directly after either RT’ing or Liking someone else’s tweets.


Follow others

This is a big one and probably the highest yield point. Follow a lot of other people. Thousands. There is something about following someone, it almost seems impolite to not return the favor. And don’t just follow anyone, follow the people in your audience. How do you find thousands of other people to follow in your audience? Find a competitor’s account and follow everyone that follows them.

For #LifeofaMedStudent, I probably have followed every single person who followed StudentDoctorNetwork. I followed almost everyone who followed the popular account Medschooladvice. MCAT accounts, KevinMD, you name it! If you’re a finance blog, follow everyone that follows other major finance accounts. You get the idea.

Whatever the niche may be, pick a couple of the leaders in that group and follow away. Even with 50,000 followers and a pretty saturated grasp of my own niche,  I could still see a 10-20% follow back rate. Early on this was even higher! Meaning if you go out and follow a targeted group of 2000 people, I would expect you to potentially have as many as 200-400 new followers within a few days.

There is a problem with this technique that can severely limit its utility…. once you follow more than about 1000 people, it almost becomes impossible to read your own Twitter timeline. With too many new tweets, it becomes overwhelming and difficult to follow along with conversations and the important stuff you really want to see. It also tends to make twitter simply less useful. Always be suspicious of an account that follows 100,000 people and has 125,000 followers – it’s probably not a very interactive or worthwhile account to follow.

However, again, CrowdFire has a great app feature to help with this problem – the “WhiteList.” This is a list of people you never want to unfollow and separates them. Thus, after you’ve followed a few thousand people, waited a week or so, you can unfollow all the new people quickly while preserving the list of people you actually want to follow longterm. Yes, a few people will notice this and may unfollow you back as well, but it’s usually just a handful out of your new couple hundred followers. The better your content, the less this will happen. The key is simply to get them to notice your account. Then wait a week, and repeat the whole process.

I’ve done this literally dozens of times and thus followed thousands and thousands and thousands of people over the years with great success. However, as I hit the 50k mark, I felt this was largely unnecessary and a bit more work than I needed at this level of followers. 400 new followers would be an increase of less than 1%, after all!! And already being a high-profile site, I tend to get a couple hundred new followers a month doing absolutely nothing. However, as an example just for this article, I’m going to show the process and success it still can bring.


Sunday night at 730pm. Current numbers.


I updated my WhiteList with accounts I don’t want to unfollow.


Within the next couple hours, I’ve followed 1000 people who followed “Competitor” accounts that likely have similar interest as mine.

Crowdfire lets you combine these accounts into one easily refreshable list to quickly follow. But because Twitter has “rate limits” you can only follow about 100 people very quickly before it briefly locks you out. It takes only a couple minutes to follow 100-200 people, so then just wait a bit and repeat the process. In a few hours, yet with just a dozen or so actual work minutes, you’ll be at 1000.


Less than 12 hours later, already up 100 followers. Notice most the accounts are already “followed” by me – meaning they saw me follow and have followed back because of this.


24 hours later.


1 week later, having followed a total of 2000 competitor accounts in that time.


And then I unfollow all, but my whitelist, bringing my numbers back to what they roughly were. The total increase in 1 week: 373 new followers while following roughly 2000 “Competitor” accounts.

Everyone I followed is now gone… while my “WhiteList” is held out separately and protected from unfollowing.


In an average month, #LifeofaMedStudent gets about 2-300 new followers anyway, so we’ll round to 50 per week. So subtract out those 50, and you have 323 that can likely be attributed to following the 2000 people – a roughly 16% follow back rate. That’s in a niche that honestly, #LifeofaMedStudent has already saturated pretty heavily. Now imagine over the course of a few years, you did this a few dozen times…. and paired it with an account that was successful enough to KEEP people following. That’s how you can get to 50,000 – not overnight, but not unrealistic either.

And that’s it. Sure, it’s a bit of a “trick” I guess, but it’s really nothing more than a little self-promotion. Most of social media is just getting yourself seen or heard! And this post is a run-down of how using a couple of simple, but powerful techniques, #LifeofaMedStudent has become a 50,000+ follower account and a leader in social media for those in medical training!


Crowdfire, TimeHop, or Revive old Post haven’t paid for me to speak about their apps, and none know I exist. Timehop and Revive Old Post are free. Crowdfire has free and paid versions. I’ve used the paid version for several years now. However, if any of those apps stumble across this article and want to pay me to include links and spread the word, I won’t say no! 🙂 I truly have had great success with these apps!


Update (2/14/18): Crowdfire now does participate in affiliate links and if you use a paid version of their app through one of the links on this site, a small portion will go to keeping the lights on at #LifeofaMedstudent. Thanks, all!



Have an exciting medical story to tell or some advice to give? A unique background or path into medicine? Want to share your own post or experience with our followers?

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  1. Thanks for sharing your tips (and a screenshot of my Retweet). I use some of the same strategies, but I frown upon the mass unfollow. I feel cheated when someone follows me, I follow back, and later realize that person no longer follows me. Makes me feel like Groundskeeper Willie. “Ya used me, Skinner, ya used me!!!”

    Obviously, what you’re doing is working for you. I deal with the lengthy feed that goes with the many people I follow in two ways. One, I mainly see stuff that I get notifications for, and Two, Twitter’s algorithm seems to prioritize people you interact with more. I kinda like seeing the what random docs are tweeting about, too. Keeps my finger on the pulse.


  2. Thanks for the comment PoF! I appreciate your thoughts, they (especially mass unfollow concerns) are common. But let me digest why it shouldn’t be so and may actually be counter-productive to your goals! I’ll use you as an example (feel free to send my SoMed advisory fee 😉 ), but this will really apply to anyone. First, social media for a business account is all about PR/optics. You were introduced in joining the WCI-Network as being unparalleled in your ability to quietly self-promote. SoMed is no different! Let me elaborate:

    1) Whenever peaple ask for RTs/follows, or as you and WCI do these twitter competitions for follows, I’m reminded of a millionaire street beggar. Why would two blogs with a combined 10million page-views/year be asking for followers? Sure it works, you get a little change in your pocket or a few more followers or whatever… But why? Self-promotion of the brand on a new platform is ultimately why – but everyone can see it.

    2) You always win those competitions! Why? Because you admittedly follow a few hundred accounts at the end – the best way to gain followers, no doubt. Now does anyone believe you suddenly found a few hundred physicians you found especially interesting? No way! Or to use your own Simpson’s reference – you are already “using” those followers, Skinner! Except again, everyone can see it.

    3) Likewise, twitter already makes sure you are on the “pulse” by having retweets and now even “likes” pop up on newsfeed. No one will look at an account with 10,000 follows and 10,000 followers and think “Oh that account probably just wants to stay on the ‘pulse’ of twitter!” I rarely follow any account with the same number of follows/followers, especially large numbers, because the impression is that it isn’t likely to be an interactive or worthwhile follow. Again, optics!

    4) Whether I’m right or wrong, I do bet you’ll eventually grow tired of following so many people, especially as your account continues to grow. Maybe you can deal with following 7,000, but what about 10k? 15k? Someday you’ll want to “clean up” your list. And to take a personal finance twist, to me its similar to all those that get excited about how long to wait to do a backdoor roth. A day? Month? Year? Truth is it never mattered, no one was ever going to believe a high earner made a non-deductable TIRA deposit, without the eventual intention of rolling it over, anyway. Just like no one is going to believe someone following 7000 people only did so to find interesting people to follow, and not without some premise of self-promotion and likely eventual unfollowing. And the more prominent your site becomes, the less people care if you unfollow later – they get it, too.

    So while I completely agree the mass unfollow may be a bit disingenuous, it’s quick, a little more discrete, and most importantly it ironically keeps your account looking more genuine in the process. And I promise, nothing in social media looks as disingenuous as seeing an account with the same large number of follows and followers!

    Just some food for thought!

  3. You make some great points, and as the guy with 50,000 followers, I should probably take them to heart.

    But… I can still think of two prominent people in the personal finance space who not only followed me, but Retweeted and liked my stuff for awhile, and then eventually I noticed the interaction has ceased. Turned out they had unfollowed me, as well. Not for anything I said or did, but as part of the game.

    I shouldn’t take it personally, and I realize it was extremely likely it was a hired hand doing all the social media stuff for them, but I don’t hold those two in the highest esteem.

    I also like the fact that anyone I follow can direct message me without landing in the “requests” page that I rarely check.

    Eventually, I may resort to unfollowing people who have followed back, but I don’t know that I’ll ever feel good about it.


  4. One of my favorite things about your blog/account is you always have a personal story to guide your thought-process. And I don’t blame you for taking it a bit personally, though in my method’s defense (and justification, I guess), I do not interact or follow the accounts longterm. It’s meant only as an attention getter, and I don’t “lead them on” as I think you justifiably felt. Then once an account makes the “White-List” it’s there to stay. Thanks for sharing your side of it, I appreciate it grately and certainly gives another aspect for thought!

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