Courtney Mroch

Courtney Mroch blogs about paranormal tourism on Haunt Jaunts and her adventures with social media on her new blog, The Sociable Scribe.

How to Get More Followers and Give Back at the Same Time

On December 31, 2008 I was diagnosed with Stage 2 B-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I asked my oncologist what I could do to up my chances for survival. He told me, “Get off the couch as much as possible. Keep active. Keep positive.”

I’m perpetually positive by nature, but getting off the couch proved tricky. Chemo really took it out of me. And thanks to the grapefruit-sized tumor pressing on a nerve in my chest, I was also wonked out on morphine to control the agonizing pain.

But I was determined to be a survivor. I knew eventually I’d start feeling better again. I looked for a goal and project to motivate me to get off the couch when that day came.

The project turned out to be Haunt Jaunts, my travel blog for restless spirits. It allowed me to indulge my passion for paranormal tourism, even if only virtually.

My first post went live March 30, 2009. I’d of course heard about Twitter back then, but I was still undergoing chemo and my energy was limited. It wasn’t until September 2009, when I was done with treatments, in remission, and had regained my strength that I incorporated Twitter into my blog promo regimen. I was shocked when I got to 100 followers in less than two weeks, hit 500 followers a couple of months later, and then soared past 1,000 right after the New Year.

There are a lot of paranormal bloggers out there. Many who have been Twittering longer than only several months. Few have over 1,000 followers. (Most barely have 500.)

I started wondering, “Just how many followers could I get up to this year anyway?”

Then I got the bright idea: Haunt Jaunts one year anniversary is coming up. Why not throw a party? Part of the bash could be a campaign to increase followers.

Except, that didn’t feel entirely right. Sure, I love the challenge of seeing how high the follower number can grow, but any celebration of Haunt Jaunts was also a celebration of Life. Any party had to honor that, too.

So I decided to make my followers worth something. Five cents to be exact. (I know that might not sound like much, but I’m no Oprah. In case my campaign proves successful beyond my wildest dreams, a nickel per follower should still let me put my money where my heart is without going into debt.)

I posted my intentions to donate a nickel to the Lymphoma Research Foundation (@lymphoma) for every follower Haunt Jaunts has come March 30, 2010. Then I Tweeted about it with a plea asking people to ReTweet.

The RTs flew. Just five days later, my followers had already grown by 100.

And since I’m not done Tweeting about my quest to raise money for LRF, I fully expect the number to keep increasing.

Not that I’m recommending you get cancer to increase your followers. But we all have hardships we’ve survived and organizations and causes that are near and dear to our hearts. This was my way of not only increasing my blog’s visibility and my Twitter followers, but also showing readers they’re valuable to me in more ways than one.


  • February 24, 2010

    Wow, your story is so inspiring! Thank you for this great article, and God bless you richly.


  • February 24, 2010

    Thats incredible! I will give you RT’s galore when I’m on Twitter!

  • February 24, 2010

    Congratulations on publishing the article Courtney, I knew it was a good idea :)

  • February 24, 2010

    That’s is a great and unique idea. I’m glad to see you pulling the good from your circumstances – that’s the biggest sign that you are indeed a positive person. Sometimes, it’s only when the unfortunate things happen that we reap the best of life.
    I certainly wish you the best. I’m getting ready to add another nickle to your total :)

  • February 25, 2010

    I was just about to unsubscribe. Diagnosised with recurrent cancer this week, and cleaning up my emails. Wondering if I wanted to share my diagnosis with followers. Now I vote yes. Not to get more followers, but to let them know.

  • February 25, 2010

    Very cool idea. As someone who has lost a grandmother to Alzheimer’s, I will soon do the same :)

  • February 26, 2010

    WOW! Thanks for all the Tweets and comments everyone. See? If I hadn’t shared (thanks to encouraging by Nathan @AStateofMind) I wouldn’t have met new awesome Tweeters to follow myself. Thanks for sharing your stories with me too.

  • February 26, 2010

    Not to trivialize your story, why not ask people to donate a nickel or more…and to retweet it to their friends, fans, and followers? Don’t focus on gaining new followers who you may have zero in common with. Instead, focus on recruiting donations.

  • March 9, 2010

    Thank you! This was helpful. I am also trying to increase the number of peeps following me. I have a Haiti initiative on the go and the larger my numbers, the more interest corporates will show for support. Follow @ShaunNaidoo if you want to help me.

  • March 21, 2010

    Ari, that’s something I had considered, but I’ve found most people who follow do have something in common with me: cancer.

    Also, if I ask others to donate, even if it’s just a nickel, they won’t. But if they know they’re worth a nickel, even if it’s mine, and all they have to do to “donate” it is to follow, they’re much more inclined to make a click. Because the donation to LRF is the key thing. I’m trying to make it as easy as possible for people to help with that. Great question though. It was something I had considered before I went on my mission!

    Oh, and Shaun, following you!

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