How to Steal Your Competitor’s Twitter Followers


Why do you think my companies have done so well from a traffic generation perspective? It’s because I’ve created a popular blog for each of my companies, right?

Although that is correct, it’s not where we started our traffic acquisition. The very first piece of social media real estate that I create for any business I start isn’t a blog. It’s actually a Twitter profile.

Over the years, I’ve learned a few strategies that have helped me grow my Twitter accounts, which, in turn, has helped generate traffic and – more importantly – revenue. One of these strategies is stealing your competitors’ followers, which you can leverage by following these steps:

Track and respond to tweets about the competition

On Twitter, you can find out who is tweeting about your competition by using the search feature in the top right area of the screen. For example, one of KISSmetrics‘ competitors is Mixpanel. So, I performed a Twitter search using their name.

mixpanel search

When you search for people tweeting about your competition, you have to dig through the results and look for anyone who may have a question or is upset. If they have a question, you should answer it without pitching your own product or service. This will help with your brand awareness and will generate more customers for you.

If someone is upset or disappointed with your competition, like this guy is, you can always follow up with them.

mixpanel tshirt

I could respond to the tweet above from the KISSmetrics Twitter account and offer the author of the tweet free help. A simple tweet, like the one below, would work:

mixpanel response

By tweeting and trying to help people, you can win over customers in the long haul and gain a lot of the same followers that follow your competition.

Analyze your competition through Twitonomy

Have you ever used a free Twitter analytics tool called Twitonomy? All you have to do is type in your competitor’s Twitter handle, and the tool will tell you everything you need to know about the company you are researching.

For example, I typed in Mixpanel, and here are some of the things I learned…

mixpanel mentions

As you can see, the Twitonomy shows you which users Mixpanel retweets, replies to and mentions the most. If you were trying to attract its followers, you would want to interact with these people. Just make sure to avoid the people who work for that company.

You can also see the type of content that their followers enjoy the most as Twitonomy lists their most retweeted and favorited tweets.

mixpanel most retweeted

Once you’ve analyzed all of your competitor’s Twitter data, you are now ready to steal its followers.

How to steal your competitor’s followers

The first thing you need to do is create a list on Twitter.

twitter lists

Within this list, you’ll want to follow the most active users that your competitor is engaging with. You can get a list of these users from Twitonomy.

Once you’ve created a list, make sure you monitor what those people are tweeting and provide a helping hand by answering their questions.

Next, you’ll want to look at all of the lists that follow your competitor and engage with the users who created those lists.

twitter lists to follow

Typically, you’ll see hundreds of lists, so you should first engage with the users who have the biggest lists. By having your Twitter profile also being part of that list, you’ll instantly gain followers from your competition.

The way you would convince someone to add you to their list is to first tweet a few times at them around topics that you feel will interest them. If you also see them asking questions on Twitter, make sure you respond with an answer.

After a few weeks of engaging with them, kindly ask them if they would be open to adding your Twitter user name to their list.

You’ll also want to make sure you are leveraging all of the information you have learned about your competition to your advantage. For example, if you are looking at their most used hashtags, you can then start using similar ones in your tweets to appeal to their followers.

twitter hashtags

You can also do this with timing. By knowing the days and hours they tweet, you can start tweeting during those times to also appeal to the same followers.

twitter timing

And what I really love doing is seeing when my competition isn’t active on Twitter. For example, Mixpanel isn’t very active on the weekends, so if I started to tweet content that their followers would love on the weekends, I’d slowly start taking their audience.


When I first started to steal followers, I just followed everyone who followed my competition, and roughly 30% of those users would automatically follow me back. But over time, this tactic started to become ineffective.

Although the steps above require a bit more work, it’s a much more effective strategy to gain your competitors’ followers than my old strategy was.

If you aren’t active on Twitter, I highly recommend that you fix that. It’s easier to maintain than a blog, and if you work on stealing your competitors’ followers, you’ll notice that Twitter can be a good revenue source for you.

So, in what other ways can you steal followers from your competition?


  1. Parmveer Singh :

    Thanks Niel Sir!!

    Great Timing, I was looking for such information. I’ve never used Twitonomy, will give it try.

    Thanks 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing this with us Neil, very useful information.

    I will use some of the strategies in this post to grow my Twitter following, and give Twitonomy a try as well.

    Keep up the awesome work you do 🙂

  3. I used Tweriod (not a nice name) which was not bad but did not give as much details as this does.

    Skimmed this and saved for later, need to read through this properly!

  4. That is quite interesting. Thanks for sharing this very unique idea Neil.

  5. :

    Thank You for sharing this secret weapon strategies about Twitter,I see also many BIG Brands pn the internet use twitter to build an autority Background.
    I will try my best to use twitter for my communication trategies
    Thank You again Sir

  6. Hi Neil,

    Again a masterpiece! The idea you shared are not a rocket science but the tools and the way you encourage people to follow these simple steps is profound. This is definitely because you show it by example and it becomes easy for anybody to follow where you want to lead them to.

    Thank you for an excellent write up and I am sure I am excited to steal some of my competition’s Twitter followers using your technique 🙂

    Have a wonderful week!


  7. Thank you Niel !

    It’s very nicely explained . I have really enjoyed lessons and approach to reach target segment y using data from Twitonomy tools .

    Thanks ,


  8. Hey Neil,

    Great write and thanks for sharing. Personally, I use followerwonk (very dig into it) and its good!

    Anyway, let me try on your suggestion and love the killer headlines.

    *ps Green submit button? 🙂


  9. WOW Neil!! Just awesome. Thanks for sharing with us. Really very helpful for twitter marketers.

  10. I have Twitter accounts for several of my businesses, but I don’t really know what to do there…
    This article will help a lot, thanks!

  11. Great resource once again. Thanks a lot Neil. I am ready to steal my competitors followers.

  12. Melvin Varghese :

    Great stuff as always Neil!

    With regard to your question, I would say look deeper at some of the things that potential customers are commenting on, see what you have in common with them (e.g., interest in basketball), and connect through that medium in your social media posts. I feel like small things like that can help people see you as a person and not just “another” company.

    This post brought up a question for me: How do you balance having a mutually beneficial relationship (e.g., guest posting on a competitor’s website) and pulling their customers to your product/website?

    Thanks again! Melvin

    • You make a good point about common interests. It is easier to build friendships and close deals when you have common interests.

  13. You could also set up an advertising campaign with Twitter that targets your competitions users. This method isn’t free and might only work as well as following your competitions followers, but it is a lot less time consuming!

  14. Kurt Frankenberg :

    As usual you are cutting edge Neil. Thanks for this tactic, which I will immediately steal and implement.

    A thought, though… I dunno if we’re actually STEALING so much as sharing and adding to the conversation. If I can solve a problem that my so-called “competitor” cannot, that doesn’t make us mortal enemies. Maybe we can both be valued allies of our shared customer, and share some more!

    Anyhoo, great post and great time-saving hack as usual. Maybe you can help me find another of yours that I had bookmarked and lost; it was about determining what to write about based on twitter shares and trends. I forget the steps you prescribed. Help a brotha out..?

    Keep Stepping,


    • Kurt, glad I could help. Hmm… I am not sure which article you are referring to. Maybe you could check out my guides or if you have a specific question feel free to ask 🙂

  15. Firdaus Ansari :

    Thanks a lot Neil..!!

    I really enjoyed this article. I never used this before, will definitely try it Neil.

  16. Wow, super informative.. One must know how to utilize these tools beside the main purpose of using them! Thanks for the insights 🙂

  17. manujeevanprakash :

    Hi Neil ,
    Great info , I am using followerwonk to steal our competition and to find influencers. But in India penetration of twitter is much low when compared to USA .so I prefer to use facebook instead of twitter. But this is the first time I came to know about the tool ‘ Twitonomy’ Thanks Neil.

    Cheers !!

  18. Yet another cracking post Neil!

    I find that setting up alerts is the best way to get into the conversation with the most relevant people to my business.

    Austin Allred has some really great hacks on how to increase your Twitter followers! Although I think they work, it can’t beat increasing your followers through engaging with them. After all, if they organically decide to follow you then at least you know you aren’t forcing anyone to do anything that they don’t really want to.

    • Joe, great insights. It’s true: if they willingly follow then they are willingly liking and engaging with your content.

  19. Thanks a lot Neil..!!

    This article will help a lot, thanks!

  20. Awesome Post Neil, I had no idea about Twitonomy 🙂 I’ll try it.


  21. Great tips at time we were leaving twitter profiles without much use. Thanks for the best tips.

  22. Thank you, Neil!

    This was a great, thorough explanation of a very straightforward strategy.

    After giving Twitonomy a try, I can confirm for any other skeptics out there that it’s the real deal. I’m definitely adding this to my social media tool belt!


  23. Neil, I know you do a lot of advertisement on Facebook. It would be great if you can do an in-depth article on how to sell affiliate products using Facebook ads.

  24. HOLY COW! Light bulbs seriously are going off in my mind right now. Thank you for this insight!

  25. Olivier Lambert :

    Why has mass following become ineffective for you? I still use this tactic and it works great for me.

    Is it because it doesn’t scale very well?

  26. Neil thanks once again. I’m going to do this over the next couple of days. Brilliant but simple and effective once again as always. Easy to implement. 🙂 Hope you’ve had a good weekend 🙂

  27. Any stats on time spent versus revenue gained by doing this?

  28. Thank you so much Neil ! Love you !

    Now lets get started with stealing ….. 🙂

  29. This article is just awesome and really helpful in increasing twitter followers thanks for sharing looking forward for awesome articles in future

  30. Brandon Pindulic :

    I love using this strategy. Great for understanding your customers better, and especially good for relationship building w/ influencers and key customers if you’re b2b.

    I have to checkout Twitonomy — I normally just use Followerwonk and sometimes SocialBro

    A lot of times people complain that this “doesn’t scale” but completely miss the point of understanding what’s important to their customers!

  31. Cool post! Was just checking out today, will have to go check out twitonomy!

  32. Nice post Neil! Twitter is a fantastic research tool. Did you use Twitonomy to see what users had a competitor on a list? I like that strategy and will definitely use it.

    I’ve also subscribed (then engaged) to public lists of influential Twitter users in target segments. SocialBro is great for executing this and monitor through a dashboard.

    • Kelley, I didn’t use that strategy but I hear it works great. Thanks for the feedback. Please let me know if you need help with anything at all 🙂

  33. Hi Neil,

    I’d add to your stealing tactic a little tweak – not just follow your competitor’s disappointed client, but also go to this person’s website and interact with him/her in comments making helpful advice.

    ‘Prepare’ the client from different sides – from twitter, website etc – and there will be more chances to win his/her loyalty.

  34. Another great post Neil!

    I always wait for your wonderful insights especially on how to interpret and utilize the results of SMM tools.

    Thank you!

  35. Cool post for me. Now i got to go and steal some followers from my competitors now. Certainly helpful article for newbies like me

    Even i have some data from my analytics which suggests that whenever a person RT my tweet i’m getting good followers to my blog

  36. :

    Thanks Neil such an awesome post i’ll use these strategies from right now.


  37. Its wow post. Nowadays I am learning social media strategy. This article will help me a lot.

  38. Thanks for that analysis tool Info Sir Neil. I always follow your blogs and trying to improve upon the performance for my clients as directed by you. Thanks again for such a great post.

  39. This proved why your are a kind of Big Deal.

  40. Hi, Neil Patel. I like your article. It is very informative so it is very useful for my job. Thanks for sharing this post. Hope to read more helpful information from you. Have a nice day!

  41. Koushik Karmakar :

    Great post! I would like to apply it for my campaign. Could you please share your views about Facebook marketing?

    • Khoushik, you should check out my guide:

  42. Hi Neil, thanks for this great article!
    So far I’ve been using two methods: following people in my field (social media) who seem to be following more than they’re followed. My second technique is faving a bunch of tweets with the same hashtag (let’s say #socialmedia).
    What do you think of these?

  43. Awesome “lethal” secret weapon, thanks Neil!

  44. Even I am going to try it. Sounds interesting and reliable. Thanks buddy!!

  45. Great Stuff Neil!

    Very informative for me & social media marketers to enhance our social media presence. I would love to follow it.

  46. It will take long time through this but great idea to get relevant followers from the competitor’s followers… Thanks.. 😉

  47. Thanks Neil! I have signed up for Twitonomy. It will help me. Thanks for your great information.

  48. Hello Neil, Your all posts are brilliant.These are really informative. I always read them , it helps me a lot in online marketing. Your blog is my online study tutorial.

  49. Belgian Chocolate :

    I did not know about the Twitonomy tool. My method was more manual, like finding the big guys in my niche then checking their followers. But it seems that the tool will give me more insights. Thanks!

  50. Hmm! Interesting strategy. I have a question, is this not a black hat approach?

    I have shared this question in where I found this article.

  51. Excellent ideas here, thank you BUT I have to object (mildly) to the post title – you aren’t really stealing, are you? Rather providing value + encouraging people to follow you because you will help them. Not as good copywriting, but much more zen. Thanks, again, for the good stuff in here. I’m off to encourage my competitor’s Twitter followers to follow me. 😉

  52. I enjoy reading your blog and I did learned a lot from it. Thank you for sharing all these information.

  53. Maybe how to steal your competitors customers would be more interesting ;p

  54. Yes it would be but in this way we can also get more customers as Twitter is one of the best social networking site and it’s on up-to you how you are using your followers.

  55. Love it, also analyzing their follower lists with something like Followerwonk

  56. I have tried to do this and it’s working. Thanks for this tips! More articles please for us to follow.

  57. Anthony Marlock :

    Great article and work. This website really help us doing our seo stuff. Thank you!

  58. Hey Neil thanks, I definitely going to try this. 🙂

  59. Heey,

    I was wondering, does this tactic also work well in a B2B dynamic? Because I doubt you will find many tweets from one company talking shit about the other…Thanks in advance!

  60. That’s insightful but an aggressive way to steal followers. Nice one!

  61. Thanks Neil for your valuable post. I am a long time reader of your blog. But maybe it’s my first comment on your blog. It’s because the inconvenience of typing through mobile phone.

    I am just starting using twitter to promote my services. I am using a tactic you have mentioned.

    I logged in on twitter at night when i got my followers most active. Because almost all of my client’s timezone is opposite of my timezone.


  62. Hi Neil that’s a very interesting article. I’m going to have a look at Twitonony and see if it’s something I could use. These sound great tactics if I can find the time but, stealing my competitor’s twitter followers? It just sounds so naughty!

  63. I have never used Twitonomy. You are great Neil. You know all the tricks on how to utilise all sites. Keep sharing good work!

  64. Twitonomy says that it will update your Twitter profile and post tweets for you.

    What is your opinion of having a program do this on its own?

  65. Firstly thanks, great post. I’m not a complete newbie to twitter but is it better to have a personal twitter account ie. Branding yourself or have a business account branding each business?

  66. Brilliant stuff! I am quite excited after knowing the tricks..Twitonomy looks great.Lets hope I get some good results with twitter now 🙂 Thank you Neil for another gem.

  67. Thank you sir for providing new way to get more useful twitter followers.By the way i started working on it.If all things are done correctly i’ll share my experience with you sir.

  68. Neil… Is it an effective strategy to follow your competition?

  69. Thank you Neil, I’ll try it out!

  70. superb neil ,

    again new excellent post and Twitonomy is new for me. Here i need your little help neil can you please suggest me how can i create my twitter profile more engaging.?

  71. Emmanuel Olonade :

    Thanks Neil,

    I have saved this page…Thanks for the info.

  72. Heather McLane :

    Hey Neil,

    Good stuff here. I’d never heard of Twitonomy, but will check it out now.

    Question: Have you considered having links in your posts open in a new tab? It’s nice to try out your advice while reading about it, without leaving your post.

  73. A great tactic on how to steal your competitors’ followers. Twitter is my favorite social tool. Recently I searched Twitter for people searching to “buy a car” and use it as an example for car dealers to reach out and ask/answer questions.

    Somewhat similar to what you do, reaching out and offering help, not pitching. Although, I got the idea from Mr. Vaynerchuk 🙂

  74. Thanks Neil for the Twitonomy link. I hadn’t come across it before but will explore the idea now.

  75. Sure Neil… I definitely inform you about the result..!!!

  76. Very interesting discussion and informative too. It’s very useful to all the twitter users, Thanks for sharing.

  77. Hi Neil! I’m trying to figure it out why lists are so important to get your Twitter user name added to them?

    Why is it important to engage with users who have the biggest lists? As far as I can see, even the biggest lists don’t have too much subscribers. So, what does really matter about lists? Would appreciate any hint. And, thank you for your great post!

    • Vitaly, it’s important to engage with people with large lists because they often have the most clout and can share your content with many people. It’s all about reaching out to power users.

  78. I recently signed up for Twitonomy to track my own stats, I didn’t realize how helpful it would be to find out information about my competition and grow my Twitter followers. Thanks for the good information as always!

  79. Ur information is quite helpful, i wil try it out, thank’s, please i want to enquire if someone from Nigeria can become a successful online marker? I mean like can he become an amazon an other companies affiliate.

  80. Thanks for the info Neil.

  81. Shahroze Naeem :

    I use Twitonomy, like you said. I too, only manage to get a follow-back rate of 30%. I know what ineffective meant; you would have to follow streams of people to get a small bit following you.

    To even that out, 3rd party tools are also present, such as and Using that, we can simply unfollow the people that are not interested in keeping up with our content.

    Thanks for the Lists bit, really informative! 😀

    • Shahroze, sounds like you have a good strategy going for you.

      Thanks for sharing your experience, much appreciated 🙂

  82. Thanks Neil, This trick is well suited in use at my online store

  83. Thanks Neil Its is really new and good article keep it up…

  84. Great article Neil with some awesome tips. I’m wondering about following the owners of lists. Would it be better to get onto a list with the most members, or a list with the most subscribers?

    Some lists have thousands of members in them, but aren’t used by anyone. Whilst other lists have a few hundred members, but are followed by many more people.

    Or, am I misunderstanding something here?

  85. Do you follow people manually or do you use a bot?

  86. Wesley Bradley :

    Hi Neil,

    As per usual – great article 🙂

    We are currently implementing this strategy for one of our twitter accounts, however having a bit of confusion around the list sections of this strategy. You say – “Typically, you’ll see hundreds of lists, so you should first engage with the users who have the biggest lists. By having your Twitter profile also being part of that list, you’ll instantly gain followers from your competition.

    The way you would convince someone to add you to their list is to first tweet a few times at them around topics that you feel will interest them. If you also see them asking questions on Twitter, make sure you respond with an answer.”

    This is all well, but when looking for the best and biggest lists, should it be based on the number of ‘members’ or the number of ‘subscribers’? And whichever one it is, why is that? Also, is there a cut off number where you wouldn’t bother spending the time/effort in trying to get added to that list?

    Thank you in advance!

    • Wesley, great points! Thanks for sharing your insights they are much appreciated. Please let me know if you need help with anything at all 🙂

  87. Bookmarked and will use as part of my strategy. Very useful article.

  88. Sayyed Parvez :

    Hi Neil,
    You have beautifully mentioned the tricks in simple words. Thanks for the helpful post.

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  90. Thank For Sharing Information. surly It increase Knowledge get help full for business

  91. Anubhav Gupta :

    Hopefully, i am ready to followers. Great article patel.

    i want to add one bullet point to get attraction followers towards you.

    use attractive images with msg which grab attention among lots of tweets


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  94. Is there no way to extract a list of competitor followers into say a CSV or something and than mass analyze that list of users to see which ones are active / haven’t tweeted etc? That way you can get laser targeted lists of people to target via Twitter ads and direct engagement as well.

  95. tweetadder is also a good tool for this. a little intimidating at first but quite useful. you have to pay though, as i think you have to pay now for socialoomph. but they let you download a trial version that actually lets you set up autoresponses for new follwers, which is great!

    • It’s worth it for what it does Sam. It may not build you the biggest following, but you’ll be able to create one that’s engaged enough to make your efforts worth it.

  96. nice and useful information

  97. Super useful – I love your advice, Neil, it’s practical and actionable. Thank you for your help!

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