How to Get More Followers on Twitter: The On-Camera Confessions of Uberfacts founder Kris Sanchez
If you’re on Twitter, you’ve probably seen at least one of his tweets.
Kris Sanchez is the founder of Uberfacts, one of the biggest, most engaging brands on Twitter. His fun, thought-provoking tweets are retweeted, fav’d, and commented on thousands of times a day.
As a result, Uberfacts has built on audience of more than 4.7 million followers (at the time of writing this article) So, if anyone knows how to get more followers on Twitter, it’s him…
In this candid video interview, Kris Sanchez discusses how he reached his first 10,000 twitter followers, grew that to a brand with a six-figure follower count, and eventually reached the multi-million mark. But of course on Twitter, followers isn’t everything.
Kris Sanchez has not only figured out how to get more Twitter followers fast, but also how to engage with his audience. And this interview talks in-depth about how to do it, what to avoid, and what to measure as you grow your brand influence on Twitter.
Hunckler: I’m here in Brooklyn, New York hanging out with the Kris Sanchez, the guy who started Uberfacts, which is a very cool facts page that started on twitter. But now you’re on multi-platforms. How many followers do you have right now, Sanchez?
Sanchez: I had four million three days ago.
Sanchez. And today I’m at four million nineteen thousand-twenty thousand, something like that.
Hunckler: And that’s just on the Uberfacts page and you have your own personal brand page.
Sanchez: I do have a personal page, @KrisSanchez, that’s at one hundred and six thousand followers.
Hunckler: That’s great. And how long ago did you start the personal page?
Sanchez: I started my personal page in April of 2009 but I kept it a secret. That was back when all of my friends didn’t think Twitter was cool. So I was, you know, hidden away. I started actively using my Twitter page in September of 2009.
Hunckler: Ok cool. Well let’s do kind of like this “James Lipton type thing” and I’ll start with: where were you born?
Sanchez: I was born here, in Brooklyn, New York in July 1991.
Hunckler: You’ve lived here your whole life?
Sanchez: I have lived here my whole life, yea.
Hunckler: Ok so 1991. That means you’re just 21 years old right?
Sanchez: I’ll be 22 this summer.
Hunckler: Talk to me about Brooklyn. What’s it like living here?
Sanchez: It’s fun. I mean, I don’t know anything different. City boy.
Hunckler: Talk to me a little bit about that, I mean, you stay here but you could run your business from pretty much anywhere.
Sanchez: I can and I’m still considering moving to California just to get the chance to experience what it’s like to live in places while still being able to work.
Hunckler: Sure. What was your first exposure to social media?
Sanchez: Facebook back in 2007.
Hunckler: Were you instantly hooked?
Sanchez: I was. I was because you want to be in touch with your friends all the time so it was just a really convenient way to, back in the days when you didn’t have unlimited text messaging, to message your friends and be like “Hey!” you know? And stalk them.
Hunckler: That’s fair. I think we’re all guilty of a little bit of social media stalking from time to time. So when did you find Twitter?
Sanchez: When did I find Twitter? 2009. I saw a couple of ads for it and, of course you know, having celebrities on a platform is the quickest way to get people to join it.
Hunckler: So why did you start Uberfacts on Twitter?
Sanchez: Originally, I was just bored one day and I was looking for random information online. Twitter, it was so convenient because you can see what you post in that order. It was an easy way for me to kind of collect facts for myself, an easy way to store them back when Google Docs was not around. That’s originally why the Twitter kind of started. Then I thought, “Ok, sharing this with other people will be cool too. So let me get people to follow it”. I told my friends to follow it…
Hunckler: Do you remember about how long it took you to get your first few thousand followers?
Sanchez: I actually don’t remember how long it took. It was a long time ago. I only tweeted about four times a day for a couple of years. I want to say in about six months I had probably 10 thousand followers.
Hunckler: So do you think that had more to do with your consistency of putting up four posts a day? Do you think it had something to do with the name, Uberfacts? Which is a very cool name by the way.
Sanchez: Originally it was not called Uberfacts. It had some massively long [name] like “Your Daily WTFs”. It was just way too long. Then I changed it to “Daily WTFs”. So these people went through each name change with me. I think the consistency though is what caused it to grow. Consistency is pretty important, yea totally.
Hunckler: So you had mentioned, kind of that the first couple of years you grew kind of slowly and that you weren’t doing necessarily a ton of engagement early on. What shifted?
Sanchez: In 2011 I was like, “I want to have two hundred thousand followers on this page” and that was my goal. So I started tweeting more and made it a point to tweet four times an hour. Then I also started promoting with other people on Twitter. So I would pay people to have more followers and I did it to talk about the page.
Hunckler: That’s awesome. So do you think it’s important to have goals when running a social media account?
Sanchez: Of course, and they need to be reasonable. I think that’s a great way to start is to, you know, if you have one hundred thousand followers, hit two hundred thousand. Get those people engaged with your content.
Hunckler: So it sounds like you, from the start, had a very strong focus on really, quality content and consistency.
Sanchez: I mean I only wanted to tweet things that I would be interested in reading and I felt like that was a great way to measure whether or not something actually belonged on my page: if I would want to read it.
Hunckler: Yea that’s a good, kind of, litmus test. Did you have a very particular voice that you used when you were tweeting out these facts?
Sanchez: Not really, just anything that I could find that sparked my interest would go up there.
Hunckler: That’s cool. So you actually had a passion for these facts yourself?
Sanchez: Yes, I had a passion for learning and I still do, just for discovering new information.
Hunckler: Anyone who actually follows you, I think can tell that you have a passion for the facts that you’re tweeting out. I imagine that has some influence on the fact that people want to follow Uberfacts and stay in touch with that page and that brand.
Sanchez: Yea, and they’re great conversation starters.
Hunckler: So talk to me about that. You know it sounds like, in 2011, that’s when you really started having more conversations with the people that were following you on Uberfacts.
Sanchez: Yea. I would respond to them through my personal account just as a way of communicating. If they had questions, I could give them answers. If they wanted links, I could tweet them links. I didn’t want the Uberfacts page to do it just because it gets messy to read, but I would engage with them.
Hunckler: Is that the same practice you have to this day?
Sanchez: It’s harder to this day because Uberfacts gets so many mentions. I think it’s like 35 to 40 thousand mentions a day. So I can’t really see everyone’s questions but, those questions that I do see, I try to respond to.
Hunckler: What are, kind of like, some of your favorite tips and tricks, or maybe even lessons learned, as you took that page from the 40 thousand it was in 2011 to the million that you had… when did you hit a million?
Sanchez: April of last year? March or April of 2012.
Hunckler: Wow awesome. So what was that leap like?
Sanchez: Oh it was great. A couple of things that I learned were to tweet a lot. I would originally stop at night and start tweeting again around eight or nine the next morning and as soon as I started tweeting throughout the night, my followers grew a lot because I was getting people from other countries to also follow the page. So that’s one huge thing, is consistency. Another huge thing is to not over-promote other people on your page
Hunckler: I imagine there’s some amount of trust you build up as a brand with both Uberfacts and with @KrisSanchez and if you’re doing too much promoting, I imagine that dilutes the message.
Sanchez: Yea, you know as a consumer you hate seeing advertisements put in front of your face. “Go follow that person. Go follow this person”. It gets tiring.
Hunckler: You like to have, kind of a good ratio of “value ad” to “promoted tweets or posts”?
Hunckler: That’s great. When you’re doing kind of a “campaign” or if you’re doing sort of a “schedule of posts” for the day, do you pay attention to things like the length of the post or the kind of language you’re using in each post?
Sanchez: I pay attention to how many characters it is. It has to fit and sometimes it’s really hard to do, especially if something is interesting. In terms of language, I don’t really. I try to keep it as neutral as possible. Of course you get people who always disagree with the fact because they don’t like the fact itself, but I try to maintain an unbiased stance on the page.
Hunckler: And so do you ever solicit things like retweets or ask for retweets on any of your posts? Or does that all happen pretty organically?
Sanchez: It happens pretty organically. I don’t normally ask for retweets.
Hunckler: Is there psychology behind that or you just kind of never did it?
Sanchez: I feel like, when you ask people to retweet it, they are going to be more reluctant to retweet it because it’s kind of like “Oh, you asked for it? I don’t really want to do it”, but if it’s interesting enough they’ll retweet it on their own anyway.
Hunckler: What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people making on their Twitter page?
Sanchez: There’s this thing called goaling, which is where two twitter pages agree to get each other followers at the same time. They’ll say, “Lets goal for 400, 500 followers” and they will promote each other’s page by saying, “You’ll gain 250 followers by following this account”. I mean, of course the person who follows the account never actually gains 250 followers and you tend to pick up on that. So that really hurts engagement on Twitter pages. So that’s one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen.
Hunckler: Avoid goaling.
Sanchez: Avoid goaling at all costs. And over-promoting in general is another, even if it’s not a goal. A lot of people will want to pay you for shout outs and retweets on Twitter and doing too much of that also drives away your loyal following. Also, copy and pasting tweets from other people’s pages is a huge “no no” because people will catch on eventually.
Hunckler: Well I imagine a lot of people probably do that with Uberfacts. It’s so popular. Do you see a lot of people taking [tweets]?
Sanchez: I do see a lot of people doing it. Unfortunately, there’s really nothing that I can actually do about that. I guess, since the page is as big as it is, I don’t really worry about it because there’s not so much of a competition. You know what I mean? But, for all those other quote pages on Twitter, I can only imagine what that’s like.
Hunckler: Yea no kidding. So how about tone of voice when you’re out there promoting? Obviously you could be scripting a post or having a conversation and, I see this a lot, where Twitter pages are very mechanical or businessy and I feel like Uberfacts, even before I knew you, Sanchez, and even before I knew Uberfacts, I feel like it’s just very personable when you come through my Twitter screen. I’m like “Oh that looks like something I want to check out”. Is that a conscious thing?
Sanchez: I just try to tweet from the perspective of a normal person tweeting to another, you know, like how a friend would tweet to all of their friends. I use correct grammar and punctuation but I don’t tweet as if I’m trying to sell anything. You know? Just keep it on a personal level.
Hunckler: So talk to me. You‘ve obviously got a great following on Twitter but now you’re also on Facebook and Tumblr, you have a website. Talk to me about expanding that.
Sanchez: As of now it’s not my primary goal to expand the Facebook or, you know, there’s also an Instagram page. I just use it as a way to keep everyone else on those platforms engaged with the brand. My main focus is the Twitter account and then the website is there so that way if there are any tweets that need an explanation [or] any interesting articles, I can link them.
Hunckler: Do you do a lot of cross-promotion?
Sanchez: Not a lot. I’ve recently started promoting the Instagram account more. I don’t promote the Facebook account as much. I’d see that the Facebook community grows within the Facebook community. So it’s tough to get people from Twitter to “Like” you on Facebook. It’s tougher than getting people on Twitter to “Like” you on Instagram. I guess because you can do both from your phone.
Hunckler: Well talk to me a little more about the different formats. So obviously, Instagram you have to use a different approach than Twitter.
Sanchez: They’re photos. They’re text photos so it’s a cool font, different colors, looks fun. That’s the approach that I go about on Instagram.
Hunckler: And you design those all yourself?
Sanchez: I do.
Hunckler: That’s awesome.
Sanchez: Photoshop. I try to do about one a day. I think lately I’ve been slacking. I don’t think I’ve posted something in about two days.
Hunckler: And how about Tumblr?
Sanchez: I barely use Tumblr. The same things that I put on Instagram go on Tumblr. Originally Tumblr was the account that I used for articles, but once I got the website I kind of just let that go. So I just use the photos from Instagram on Tumblr now.
Hunckler: How do you decide where to invest your time when you have so many different channels, so many different platforms?
Sanchez: Just in order of which ones are doing better, which ones have the larger following. So right now it’s Twitter then Instagram then Facebook. The Facebook and the Twitter account; whenever I put facts into the Twitter account they go to the Facebook account also. It’s a cue. So I have facts for about the next two to three months.
Hunckler: What other platforms are you not using right now that you are kind of interested in?
Sanchez: Vine. Vine is one, if I can figure out a way to turn facts into videos, you know, I’ll do that and I think that’s about it.
Hunckler: Video is very interesting, especially mobile video. I mean twitter is, I think, 60-80% mobile audience on any given day so I feel like there are some very interesting things you can do with engagement there, especially with your personality and the brand that you have. So do you use any tools to measure or track your accounts?
Sanchez: I use a couple. All the tweets are scheduled with a buffer. Bufferapp.com and I look at a lot of analytics, so I do Trends Map for the analytics to see where people are tweeting Uberfacts the most. And it’s through there that I’ve learned that it’s huge in the UK and well America in general I guess. I also use a site called Statweestics which shows you where, on Twitter, you are in terms of popularity and engagement. I think I’m in the top 10, like number eight or nine.
Hunckler: Wow that’s great. So do you have any goals for where you’d like to be by the end of this year?
Sanchez: Not specifically. The closer to the top, the better. It’s tough because the people at the top are YouTube and Justin Beiber.
Hunckler: Alright, so now I have to ask; what are some of your guilty pleasures in terms of the followers or Twitter accounts you follow?
Sanchez: I follow Kim Kardashian on Twitter. I try to follow the celebrities that follow me, so Khloe Kardashian. I also follow Snooki.
Hunckler: What do you think they do really well with their Twitter pages?
Sanchez: I have no idea. Well I mean, in terms of the Kardashians, they’ve branded themselves very well. They do a lot of articles to their CelebBuzz.com accounts. It keeps people reading you know? They’re doing fashion and where they were. It’s kind of like you can keep up with the Kardashians.
Hunckler: Why do you think branding is important on social media?
Sanchez: I think branding is important on social media just because you need to make your presence known. The bigger your presence is, the more effective your brand is and the more popular it is. Everyone is on social media, everyone. It’s so convenient and if you want to be in people’s pockets you literally have to be on Twitter.
Hunckler: And it sounds like kind of what you’re saying is that a lot of celebrities that are very popular on Twitter are consistent and at the same time are engaging with their fans, which allows them, ultimately, to have a bigger reach. That’s a pretty insightful kind of piece that I think we touched on earlier in your interview; that obviously Uberfacts has done a great job of branding. And I want to make sure we talk a little about some of the cool things you’re doing with your brand this year because I think people will be very interested to learn about that. And one of the things I think we touched on earlier was just your love of learning and I love the internet just because it gives you access to all this information. And on top of that you have things like Wikipedia. It’s just surfaced limitless wealth of information that people are passionate enough about to curate themselves. Why do you think people relate to Uberfacts as part of sort of that interweb of information?
Sanchez: I think just because it’s entertaining. You know? I mean, who doesn’t love random information? Who doesn’t like random facts? If it’s something that can relate to them, it’s even better. So they can kind of read about themselves in a way. You know? Like, “the average person spends 25 years of their lives sleeping”. They’re going to be like “Oh my god. That’s how much time I’m going to spend sleeping”. Even if it’s not exact, it can relate to everyone. Everyone is interested in it.
Hunckler: So what’s next for Kris Sanchez and Uberfacts? You’ve built this great brand from twitter, you’ve moved to new platforms on the web and Tumblr and Facebook and Instagram now. What’s the next frontier?
Sanchez: There is a book coming out based on the Uberfacts page. So that’s a huge project I’m super excited for and there are a couple of other things I can’t quite talk about.
Hunckler: So if people want to find out about it they have to follow you?
Sanchez: You’ve got to follow me online: @KrisSanchez
Hunckler: We’ll put it down below. I really appreciate you taking the time to kind of talk through all of this with me. It’s really a fascinating story and I’d love to do a follow-up when you hit 10 million followers. I really appreciate it and we’re really excited to work with you, obviously, at Social Reactor.
Sanchez: I’m excited.