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How to get more followers on Farcaster

The guide you all were waiting for

Somewhat in jest, 0xsmallbrain recently casted that he had googled "how to get more followers on farcaster" and there wasn't a guide. To remedy this terrible oversight, I have decided to write one. You just found it.

You may have recently joined Farcaster and be frustrated that you don't have an active badge (currently requires 400 followers) and therefore your casts get de-prioritized. Or, you look at friends who joined just a few months earlier and they have thousands of followers while you have barely breached a hundred. So, now you want to remedy this injustice as quickly as possible. You want thousands of followers also. Ideally tomorrow.

Now, first and foremost, take a deep breath. You have plenty of time. You can't expect to build a meaningful following in a week or two, but if you take a longer-term view (and in my mind, that means a couple of years at minimum) you can build a strong audience that will be the envy of new Farcaster users a few years down the line. I will discuss some strategies here that will help put you on this trajectory, but the most important strategy of all is sticking it out. Most people don't have the patience, consistency, or stamina to execute a long-term growth strategy. If you can commit and stick to a strategy you're already ahead of 99% of the other people on the platform.

Next, your goal may be to get as many followers as possible, but I don't think that's a useful goal. You want quality followers, followers that give you engagement when you cast. It's better to have 1000 followers who actually care about what you're casting than 50,000 who don't. I have first-hand experience with this from Twitter, from before Elon took over. (To be clear: this is not related to the broadly lamented decline in engagement people have experienced there over the last fifteen months.) I had about 20,000 followers, mostly from my work in data science, data visualization, and R package development, and when I shifted my interests to web3 and generative art many of those followers just didn't care. My engagement numbers for tweets on web3 topics were comparable to those of generative artists with 500–1000 followers. Alignment between your followers and what you're posting is extremely important. I didn't lose my followers on Twitter (I still have about 20,000) but they stopped engaging.

As of this writing, I have almost 4000 followers on Farcaster, and I only joined three months ago. So I'd say I've been reasonably successful in building an audience from scratch. Now to be fair, I benefitted tremendously from the release of frames, which led to a massive inflow of new Farcaster users and caused everybody's follower counts to go vertical. However, even before frames I was gaining about 200 followers a month, which is very respectable. And, since Farcaster is still so young and small, there will be other events similar to frames that will cause further spikes in follower counts for active users. You may have missed the frames opportunity, but you don't have to miss the next one. Be ready.

My follower count on Farcaster, from Nov. 22, 2023 (when I originally joined) to Feb. 16, 2024 (when I wrote this post). Graph made with @karma's amazing follower frame: https://warpcast.com/karma/0x503694fc

Profile page and bio

Let's start with your profile page. First, make sure you have an engaging bio. Why should I be interested in you? Put something there that indicates why you may have a valuable voice in this space. Maybe something about what you can do. "Smart-contract engineer." "Generative artist." "Professional chef." Whatever it may be. Or something about your work. "Founder at XYZ." "VC at ABC." Whatever it is, make it stand out and unique. If you write "I like crypto" or "Hi" or "To the moon" nobody will care. Also, don't write "Will follow back" or "follow 4 follow". Why should I follow you if the only thing you've got to offer is you'll follow me back. You're almost certainly not going to be a quality follower for me.

Then, add some links to other sites where you have a presence. If you've got a linktree, definitely add that. Otherwise, link to your personal website, or your Twitter account, Instagram, or NFT gallery. All these links provide potential followers the opportunity to learn more about you and feel more confident that following you is a good idea.

Put some effort into your profile picture. For sure, not setting a profile picture at all is a bad idea. The profile picture helps other casters to remember you, so it needs to be unique. The default picture is not. If you've got an established brand or logo, use that. (For example, I always use the same image everywhere.) Alternatively, if you have an NFT from a famous collection and identify with the vibe of that collection, consider using that (e.g., a punk, or an mfer, or an opepen). But really, you can use any image that looks distinct and works when scaled down to a small size. Just be careful with images that have tons of detail. When scaled down, they may look like mush. Mush is not memorable.

Finally, make sure you've got some interesting casts in your timeline. In particular, if your main "Casts" tab is completely empty I may have doubts about who you are and whether I should follow you.

Casting

Now that your bio is done, let's talk about casting. If you're coming from a platform that is highly algorithmically curated, such as Instagram, TikTok, or Twitter, your approach may be to cast as much as possible and try to get your casts go viral. This strategy is unlikely going to work on Farcaster. There is no strong algorithmic curation at this time, and for sure no algorithm that tries to maximize engagement. The algorithm on Warpcast (the default client) mostly just tries to hide the noise. Chances are your posts will look like noise. So this is a losing proposition.

Farcaster also doesn't have hashtags, but it does have channels. Channels work more like subreddits on Reddit than like hashtags on Instagram or Twitter. You have to actively cast into channels, and each cast can only go into one single channel. Tagging channels in your cast has no effect.

You should definitely cast into channels. This will increase the visibility of your cast, in particular if the channel is not extremely large and busy. Your cast will be visible to everybody subscribed to the channel, which likely is more people than are following you (if not, why are you reading this post?), and as long as your cast is on-topic for the channel all these people should be interested in what you have to say. Pick a handful of channels and keep casting into them repeatedly, rather than spraying your content all over, so that the followers of those channels start recognizing your name.

While casting regularly into the same channels is extremely valuable, make sure you don't overdo it. If you cast the same thing five times a day into the same channel people will quickly get tired of you. My rule of thumb is almost everybody can cast once a day and not annoy people. If you want to cast much more than that, say more often than three times a day into the same channel, you have to be really good and have tons of diverse content. If you don't, just don't do it. If you're an artist and you want to sell that NFT collection, don't post about it more than once a day into the same channel. However, posting one image a day consistently over a long period of time is a really good strategy. It shows consistency without getting on people's nerves.

Most importantly, engage with others on the platform. Don't just cast your own stuff. Instead, engage and interact. While likes and recasts are engagements also, and are valuable, they don't replace actual replies. Ask questions. Make witty comments. Provide answers or counterpoints. Engage. And if others engage with your casts, engage back. If somebody makes a witty comment, give a witty response. If somebody asks a question, give an answer. If somebody challenges you, defend your position or acknowledge they are right. Say something.

Another good growth strategy is transferring content from one channel to another. Find two channels that are related, say /food and /pasta, and whenever you find a banger cast in one channel just quote-cast it into the other, for example saying "Found in /food." This allows you to get some credit for banger casts that you would not have come up with yourself, and it also advertises your account to the person who you're quoting. Double-win. Of course this strategy extends beyond just multiple channels on Farcaster. You can also repost content from Twitter, or from Reddit, or from the New York Times. Whatever works for you. Just make sure you keep casting quality content.

Finally, there are traditional growth strategies where you give away NFTs or other rewards for follows, recasts, and/or likes, and these techniques definitely work to get your numbers up. However, you're unlikely to gain quality followers this way, so use these strategies carefully if at all. You don't want to get a reputation for just constantly engaging in these transparent and shilly growth strategies. The real quality followers will likely be put off and quietly disappear.

Following

It's important to follow others on the platform. You can't expect to be followed without following yourself. If you're too stingy with following others you will likely miss out on a lot of positive interactions and opportunities to grow your network.

At the same time, don't just follow everybody. I always get skeptical when I see accounts that follow thousands of accounts while having relatively low follower counts themselves. This suggests low quality control. Why would I want to follow somebody who doesn't seem to put a lot of effort into curating their own feed?

There are two types of accounts you should follow. First, follow the biggest and most visible accounts on the platform, in particular in your area of interest. Those are the thought leaders. They set the agenda. Everybody reads their casts. So you should too. And, their casts should give you plenty of opportunity to reply. As much as possible, when the big accounts talk about something, try to insert yourself into the conversation and make (intelligent, thoughtful) comments and contributions. Even if the big accounts don't care about what you have to say, their followers may start getting to know you and may start taking you seriously. And at a minimum, you know what's going on on the platform, what are the issues and trends, and this should inform your own top-level casts. Cast things that speak to the current topics of debate.

Second, follow active accounts that are relatively small and don't have a lot of followers yet. These accounts are likely in the same boat as you are and you guys can help each other out. But don't do it with "follow me I'll follow you." Just follow them. My rule of thumb is: If I've had a few good interactions with somebody (possibly even just one), I'll just follow them then and there. More often than not, they'll follow me back. And if they don't, no harm done. If they're interesting I'll encounter them again and interact with them again and maybe they'll follow me in the future. And if it turns out they're not interesting and their casts start to annoy me I can just unfollow then.

Don't discount how effective of an advertising mechanism a follow can be. For smaller accounts, they likely monitor everybody that follows them. So, go through the channels you are interested in, identify people with interests similar to yours, and follow them. However, and this is super important, only do this after you have completed all the steps under "Profile page and bio." If you've got a nondescript bio your follow won't be a good advertisement for yourself. On the flip side, if your bio rocks then every time you follow someone with aligned interests they may likely follow you back.

Channels

Finally, it may be a good idea to start a channel. A channel can give you additional visibility, as people may be interested in the topic of your channel but would otherwise not have thought of following you. You may think that all the interesting channels exist already, but that's almost certainly not the case. Look at how many subreddits there are on Reddit. And people keep still making them. Imagine traveling back in time to Reddit in 2007 and saying "I'm late, all the interesting subreddits exist already." Well, I can tell you for certain there was no cryptocurrency subreddit, let alone any of the more specialized subreddits such as bitcoin, ethereum, solana, tezos, etc. There wasn't even any cryptocurrency in 2007. So, if you want to organize a channel, you can almost certainly find a topic that isn't yet covered. You may just have to go a bit deeper and find your unique niche. For example, maybe there's a /food channel and a /pasta channel but no /gluten-free channel. Or maybe there is, but no /gluten-free-pasta. And so on. Find the niche that appeals to you and that has been overlooked.

Now, let me be frank, running a channel is a commitment. If you're not up to it don't do it. There's nothing worse than a half-abandoned channel that looks like nobody cares. Or a channel that is overrun with spam because moderation has broken down. If you start a channel you have to be prepared to be the person who drives it forward, who posts at least once a day, who encourages other people to contribute, and so on. On the flip side, the worst that can happen is it's a failed experiment and eventually you abandon the channel and don't renew it (remember, channels have a yearly fee), so why not. Give it a try.

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