The Hacker’s Guide to User Acquisition: How to Leverage Twitter

Austen Allred, Co-founder of Grasswire, recently shared a marketing information guide on /r/Startups because “most of the marketing information out there is very high-level and mostly BS.” He calls it The Hacker's Guide to User Acquisition, and various acquisition channels are broken down, step-by-step. Why is it called a hacker's guide? Hacking available tools, he says, means using them “perhaps in ways the creators hadn’t intended.” Allred's guide offers tips on leveraging multiple avenues for user acquisition including, of course, Twitter.

When you take into account the obvious fact that Twitter is a free treasure trove of information about what people are interested in, what tribes people align themselves to, and what people follow your competitors, it's plain to see that this is exactly the type of data that marketing departments are constantly scrambling to master. Allred says that now that he has figured out the formula for hacking Twitter, he expects 50 sign-ups per day on Grasswire and at least 150 new active followers per day on Twitter. Check out some of the tips he provides on hacking Twitter to create user growth:

1. Auto-favorite and re-tweet

This is an amazing way to grow a follower base, but beware: it's also pretty robotic and insincere. If you can hack a way to auto-favorite very selective words or mentions that occur in the Twittersphere, you've just gained the attention of, potentially, thousands of Twitter users. This form of growth hacking can get spammy, and can feel invasive to the user who doesn't feel like a favorite or a retweet was appropriate for that particular tweet.

2. Follow as many users as you can

Depending upon how many followers you currently have, Twitter allows you to follow a certain number of new users every day. So go ahead and follow them. When they notice you're their newest follower, they are likely to check out your profile. So, make sure to selectively find the users who would most relate to your account.

3. Find the right followers

Perform a Twitter search that will help you nail down exactly the type of active users who are talking about the things that your company provides, or the things that would show they are interested in your content. Hit “all” in the results column rather than “top” in order to expand the list to all Twitter users. This can be the best way to find your target market if you've got something to sell. Who is wishing for a product like yours? Who needs to buy something you've got to offer? They're telling all of their friends and followers on Twitter right now, and you can interact with them right now.

4. Employ software to help you use Twitter

Allred suggests a tool like TweetAdder to build your Twitter following. This is not a bot, which is against Twitter's Terms of Service. TweetAdder automatically does scrapes and searches for you, but after reviewing the information, it's up to you to manually review and follow each user.

5. Interaction

What business word will take off in 2015? “Conversation marketing” and “H2H” hit the top of the list. Whether it's in book form, blog form, more blog forms, or fancy infographic form, the published data is clear: the thing that marketers have known for some time is that “Human to Human” best describes the communication era we are currently living in. According to this Welcome to the Human Era Report compiled by brand strategy firm Lippincott and advertising agency Hill Holliday,

“Being a Human Era brand goes beyond merely saying that one is more “human.” It requires an authentic story delivered consistently through an inspiring experience. It requires hard work — establishing organizational values and commitments that are customer driven, while also driving them toward daily leadership decision-making and employee behaviors.”

Regarding the use of Twitter, the Human Era Report also shares this anecdote:

If you follow the Starbucks Twitter feed, you’ll see an authentic and interactive style that feels very personal. When Katy Perry tweeted “Today I quit my beloved coffee & make the switch to vitamin B complex :( Don’t worry @starbucks it’s not forever,” Starbucks playfully hit right back with “It’s ok. Today I made the switch from California Gurls to Hold It Against Me. Don’t worry, it’s isn’t forever. ;-)”

Interaction on Twitter should feel personable, relatable, and direct. “True, authentic communication with people who are interested in what you have to offer” is Allred's suggestion for the direct path to getting people to actually care what you have to say. After all, your follower count is a vanity metric. It cannot replace the other metrics that your company, or its investors, are really looking for. Creating relationships with your potential customers provides the greatest opportunity to create people who are interested in what you've got to offer – or, better yet, people who are fanatics and brand advocates. You can utilize tools for this too: both TweetAdder and TweetDeck offer structured ways to keep track of conversations through Twitter.

For more user acquisition strategies, check out the Guide. Do you have any growth hacking tips to share?

Did you find this article helpful? Click on one of the following buttons
We're so happy you liked! Get more delivered to your inbox just like it.

We're sorry this article didn't help you today – we welcome feedback, so if there's any way you feel we could improve our content, please email us at

Written by:
Previously the Managing Editor at Tech.Co, Ann Diab has a background of launching and nurturing of startups and tech companies. Empowering and educating entrepreneurs and startups to better productivity and culture is her passion. Growth Manager at WorkingOn to enable folks all over the world to enjoy work and improve communication. Follow me on Twitter.
Explore More See all news
Back to top
close Building a Website? We've tested and rated Wix as the best website builder you can choose – try it yourself for free Try Wix today