How a side project to a side project lead to 255 Million impressions in 9 months
Last year I had an idea for a side project. I approached the subject methodically and realized I would get next to no traction on the idea unless I had an audience.
I, therefore, started diving deeper into how to build an audience and grow on Twitter (as a side-project to the original side-project). I took a course, got to know many like-minded peers, and started getting some reps in publishing content on Twitter.
Fast forward to today, nine months later, I have:
- 255 Million impressions of my tweets 🤯
- 149 000 followers
- 19 000 newsletter subscribers
- 1 800 tweets
These numbers are rather mind-boggling. Especially considering my starting point: I had about 400 followers and tried publishing thread after thread without any traction. Suddenly one of my threads hit a nerve, and my phone started to burn. 100 likes, 500 likes, 1 000 likes. I woke up the next morning and had 20 000 new followers. I stumbled upon a topic that combined my interest in UX with what users found useful: Features on iPhone that are hidden but practical.
I continued digging up interesting tidbits hidden in iOS and new features released in the next iOS version. After diligently publishing a thread every Saturday for half a year, I suddenly had amassed 75 000 followers. I guess you could say I found a Product Market Fit.
This lead me to start a newsletter with one daily iOS tip covering a new hidden feature in iOS. The perfect guide for anyone new (and experienced) to the device. Check it out at isecrets.io
Hello Elon Musk!
I continued publishing one thread every week on hidden iOS features, but last week something special happened:
A thread I had written had previously done quite well with over 1.5 million impressions and 2 500 new followers, but Elons comment catapulted it into a completely new life:
I had set up notifications for every person subscribing to the newsletter. Suddenly my phone wouldn’t stop buzzing, and the followers poured in. After one week, I had gotten nearly 75 million impressions on the tweet and 70 000 new followers! It is funny how many people you can reach with what you create on your mobile phone while your kids watch TV in the morning.
What tactical nuggets have I learned?
This journey has been interesting, and I am lucky to have stumbled onto a topic that resonated that much with people. Twitter is a great platform for building an audience, and I grew a large one in a relatively short time with a couple of great pointers:
- Provide value for others
- If you want to grow on Twitter, you need to write threads (sorry all thread-haters 🙈)
- Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are the highest-performing days for threads – Monday and Friday are horrible.
- Everyone tells you you should tweet daily, but I got fatigued from that and ended up on a pattern of publishing one thread a week instead. I didn’t see any change in followers from that — quite the contrary.
- Everything comes down to your hook: Will people click the “Show thread” button?
- Your profile is important. It should tell what you write about and what they have to gain from following you. Pin your most valuable tweet, and clean your timeline now and then for new followers.
- Avoid this:
- Linking off platform
- @mentioning at the beginning of a tweet (causes it not to be seen)
- Give too much away in the hook
- You need a crew to get through the cold-start problem that can promote each other and help give feedback to your threads. This is especially important for hooks.
- It takes time. Crafting quality content that people enjoy is time-consuming. I usually spend at least two hours on each thread. (Based on this, my hourly rate has been 7 000 followers per hour worked on average)
- Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that numbers are the only way to measure success. Sure, it’s fun to reach millions of people, but it doesn’t matter much in the big picture. I haven’t earned a single cent from it (yet), but I’ve met many interesting people I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and even a few friends.
- The implementation of double opt-in for email subscriptions is crucial in enhancing the open-rate of emails. However, it can be disheartening that almost half of the subscribers fail to engage with the double-opt in emails and are lost. (14k subscribed, 8.2k double opted-in )
- As everything else in life, habits are important.
And if you’re sitting there at the end of the post and wondering: “What was that original side-project he wanted to launch?”. Add your mail below, and I’ll make sure you get a notification when it’s released!