You can buy followers. Or you can prostitute yourself on the nearest street corner.

You can serial follow hoping for people to follow you back (and then of course, unfollow them later), the internet version of going in for a high-five with someone before exclaiming like a douchebag “OO, too slow.”

Or you can earn your followers.

I realize writing a guide on how to get an extra measly 1,000 followers ain’t glamorous. But think of it as the good girl’s guide to doing Twitter. The honest way. You know, the way that doesn’t make you look like a giant asshole.

Here’s what I did in the last 2 months that earned me the most followers. It’s a guide pointed more towards joke Twitter, but really tweaked versions of this should work for any kind of Twitter community you’re looking to be a part of.

step-1

I followed a good handful of joke Twitters, sat back, watched, and learned.

Listen up you beautiful bitch—I said a handful of joke Twitters. We’re in this together and we ain’t about the serial following life.

Now sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. (Take note. Some of these people really know their shit.)

But not for too long, because we’ve got work to do.

step-2

I started writing jokes and tweeted at least 2 of them every day.

Read a how-to book first, if it helps. My first was The New Comedy Writing Step by Step. Then put that shit away, because we don’t have time to sit there watching you read a million books and trying to find your ass with both hands when—unbeknownst to you—you’ve probably got some of the good stuff a brewin’ deep in your noodle already. Let’s hear it.

In this particular book Gene Perret says to give yourself a quota, and so my quota of 5 jokes a day was born. I made myself tweet at least 2, which meant I got a free pass to be 60% awful.

Most of these early jokes will be shitty, and even when you think you’ve got a good handle on things you’ll still produce a consistent amount of shit. But that’s okay—we all have bad jokes. Just keep on keepin’ on.

step-3

I dove into my discipline.

Speaking of writing books, I soaked up inspiration upwards, downwards, and 7 ways to Sunday. Largely because yes, this is a big part of my job. But also I just loved doing it.

(But only after I made myself start writing first. This comes AFTER that. It’s a little something I call continuing education.)

I started making more time for watching standup, watching more short comedy shows, and reading more books. Not just instructional books, but books from the masters like Mindy Kaling, Nick Offerman, Nora Ephron, and Tig Notaro.

Be a naughty, promiscuous little sponge and be filled up.

step-4

I invested $30 in a Favstar Pro account and made sure to trophy a tweet every single day.

Because if I stop eating out for a week I can easily afford to pay $30 for a year of being more included in the joke Twitter community. (Here’s more about Favstar.)

Why go pro? Because you can trophy tweets, or pick your favorite “Tweet of the Day” and give someone a lovely internet trophy for it. It’s usually reserved for the funniest tweet you’ve seen all day.

Do this and you’ll get noticed, but more importantly, you’ll get to be the reason someone smiles and says to themselves, “Shit, bitch, you done did it again.” It’s a nice way to show appreciation.

And because trophying is such a good “nice tweet!—also NOTICE ME” opportunity, it’s a big waste of a $30 investment if you don’t trophy a tweet every single day. I put it on my work to-do list every day because I am severely on top of my shit.

step-5

I did Follow Friday every single Friday.

A Friday in which you did not #FF is a waste of a Friday.

Much like trophying, it’s like sending a love letter to your sweaty little kindergarten crush saying, “I like you! Do you like me?!” And if they do they’ll follow, show you some TL love, or maybe even use that scrumptious lil #FF hashtag on you.

But it’s also just a genuinely nice way to say to your followers, “I super love these people right now and really think you’d love them too.”

step-6

I retweeted my own old tweets.

Get over the stigma.

I saw other cool people doing it and gave myself permission to do it, too. Because sometimes good jokes really do just slip through the cracks. So reach your hand deep in that moist ole crack and pull that joke right back outta there.

I’ve had a questionable joke get no response until—when I retweeted it myself—it picked up a bit more attention and performed much better the second time around. So I’m pretty much a doctor on the subject.

step-7

I joined DM rooms.

I was asked to join one. And then many more. There’s lots of different kinds: for workshopping tweets, for learning more about your craft, for dicking around.

Don’t think you have to wait to be asked. Reach out to some of the cliquey folks—people you notice are friends with other Twitter users, because they’re probably in a room together—and ask if they’d have you in one of their rooms.

They’ll help you, you’ll learn lots, you’ll make friends, and a lot of the time other DM room members will follow you just because you’re in the room together.

step-8

I published articles on my own site and others.

I used to blog about very boring shit.

Now I blog about less boring shit. This was very wise of me, because—let me drop something very real on you—people tend to like non-boring things more than they like things that make them want to die a very early, mirthless death.

Naturally, people were more inclined to like and share the better stuff.

I’m a copywriter and work for small businesses/write for pubs so I also had some of my stuff published on other sites around the web. I include a link to Twitter when I can.

step-9

I participated in joke contests and ran a few of my own.

It’s all about being an active participant in the neighborhood. Participating will definitely help get you noticed.

Come out from your house and play, little one! We love to act very stupid and would love for you to toss your stupidity in with ours so we can mix them all together and see whose comes out on top. All for a bit of sport.

Look out for contest from regular ole Twitter users or keep an eye on some accounts dedicated solely to running contests (and handing out trophies to the winners!).

step-10

I was always friendly.

To everyone.

Just about. If I didn’t feel like being friendly to someone (I’m talking about the creeps here, folks)—I just blocked ‘em. Easy. Out of sight, out of mind.

Saying thank you, just being nice in general. Letting people know when you love the work they’re doing. Stuff like that—it’s actually way easier to be nice than it is to be an asshole, which sounds very sad and emotionally draining. What a relief! You too can be nice! (Though I’m sure you already are. Great job.)

See? Getting followers is easy with a moderate amount of work. And having more followers is no doubt a valuable thing.

Not just for the attention or the money you may end up making by selling your own books or other fun products. Those are great things, too, but if you’re putting yourself in the market for jokes and you want to get good at them, the feedback you get on Twitter is second only to a room with an audience and a microphone.

More followers means a bigger sampling. A bigger sampling means better feedback. It also means more opportunities for friendship, if you’re into fluffy shit like that.