A follow train (also known as a follow chain or a follow for follow group) is a group of people who follow each other on a social media platform (e.g Instagram, Twitter, TikTok).
Participating in a follow train is a popular method used by many to grow their social media followers (especially Instagram).
Follow trains help you to grow your social media followers quickly and easily.
A follow train is typically hosted in threads, communities, and groups. They can also be hosted in the comments of a social media post.
The follow train is originated from Instagram back in its early days, and it’s still very popular in the present for one reason—it works.
Read on to find out how they work, types of follow trains, its advantages and disadvantages.
How does a follow train work?
A follow train works by sharing your social media handle, following others that interest you, and sending them a direct message telling them where you found them from (e.g. Reddit).
Let’s get into each one of the steps in detail.
Firstly, you’ll have to share your social media handle ‘link here’ in a follow train (e.g. instagram.com/followchainorg) in order for people to find and follow you.
In addition to sharing your social media handle, certain groups require you to write up a short description of yourself or the content that you post.
This is to allow people to know your niche, so they’ll only follow you if they are interested in your content.
Secondly, you can follow others that interest you.
A common fault in follow trains is that people don’t like to follow first. This can be due to ego, distrust, laziness, etc.
So if you do happen to follow others first, you can grow your followers at a faster rate then if you were to just share your social media handle.
Follow trains work because people follow each other, so someone needs to follow first in order for it to work.
The last step (and the most important one) is to direct message the person telling them where you found them from (e.g. Reddit).
This step is crucial because if you don’t send them a direct message, they won’t know that you’re doing follow for follow.
If you follow these three steps, you’re guaranteed to receive a follow back almost all of the time.
Types of follow trains
There are various types of follow trains (not only Instagram).
Here is a compiled list of follow trains you can check out to grow your followers.
All of them are completely free to join and are great places where you can connect with people in your niche.
Instagram follow train
Follow trains are widely used by Instagram users who want to quickly grow their followers.
One of the most popular follow trains for Instagram is the r/Instagram community on Reddit.
The community has a “Follow Friday” thread where you can share your Instagram handle with others every Friday.
The goal of the thread is to find new people to follow on Instagram and expand your follower-base in the process.
There are lots of people in varying niches on the “Follow Friday” thread—from photography to personal accounts so you’ll definitely find someone in your niche.
Hundreds of Redditors use the thread on a weekly basis to grow their Instagram followers. You’ll be surprised by the number of followers you’ll get when you first start using it.
I’ve personally used the “Follow Friday” thread for about 2 years now, met a lot of interesting people, and had meaningful conversations.
You can potentially gain hundreds of followers from the thread if you use it consistently.
A cool tip about the thread is that it resets every Friday at around 9 am EST.
So, it’s best to share your Instagram handle at that time for maximum visibility.
Twitter follow train
Follow trains are very prominent on Twitter as well. You can find them on Twitter threads and lists.
A popular user who hosts Follow trains on a consistent basis is @toolzbabe on Twitter.
She creates Twitter threads where people can follow each other.
To participate in it, simply reply with a comment stating that you’ll follow others back as soon as the tweet is posted.
You can also like others’ comments on the thread and follow them for a follow back.
There are hundreds of people commenting on these threads, so you can grow pretty quickly if you follow everyone that did.
LinkedIn Follow Train
(Insert indiehackers linkedin screenshot here)
LinkedIn is another platform where follow trains can be used to expand your network.
However, LinkedIn follow trains are not common as there aren’t as many LinkedIn users as compared to other social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter.
That being said, the most popular follow train for LinkedIn is started by a post on Indiehackers.
Indiehackers has various follow for follow posts like, “Hacking Twitter”, “Hacking Instagram”, and so on.
These posts are basically follow trains for various social media platforms.
In order to expand your connections on LinkedIn, you can use the “Hacking LinkedIn” post on Indiehackers.
Simply request to connect with the users that shared their LinkedIn handle and tell them that you’re from Indiehackers.
These “Hacking x” posts are only created once in a while, so you’ll have to be sure to look out for them.
They are incredibly useful if you want to expand your network quickly.
Follow train rules
• You should always follow others back from a follow train especially if the person that followed you sent you a direct message.
• Don’t unfollow users after they have followed you. Unfollowing users after they have followed you is known as the follow/unfollow strategy which is highly detested on Instagram. Moreover, most people have an analytics app on their device so they’ll unfollow you once they realized that you’ve unfollowed them.
• Try to write-up a short description about yourself or the content that you post so that people can easily identify your niche.
• Always interact with others’ posts (like and comment) as you’d want them to do the same. Engagement is very important on Instagram, so if you want more likes on your posts, you’ll have to like others’ posts as well.
• If you’re planning on following others back with a secondary account (although it’s not recommended), make sure to include that in your description.
Advantages of a follow train
Follow trains have existed since the early days of social media (particularly Instagram) and people are still using them to grow their accounts to this day.
Are you wondering why they’re still such a popular growth strategy?
Let’s find out from its advantages.
Quick way to grow your followers
Firstly, a follow train is a quick way you can grow your social media followers.
If you were to join a follow for follow group on Instagram now, all you need to do is to share your Instagram handle and people will start following you.
In addition, you can follow others that shared their handle. They’ll follow you back if you send them a direct message telling them where you came from (e.g. Reddit).
Follow trains are specifically catered for people who want to grow their followers by following others. This is also known as follow for follow.
As follow trains are made up of people looking to expand their follower-base through the means of following each other, everyone is like-minded.
Thus, the majority of people will follow you back and not unfollow.
You can find new people to follow
Follow trains enable you to find new and interesting people/content to follow.
As people usually share a short description of themselves or the content that they post, you can easily identify people in your niche to follow.
Consequently, your engagement rate will increase as both parties are in the same niche, and enjoy each other’s content.
The thing about Instagram’s search is that you need to know the username of a person before you can find and follow them.
If you were to search for a keyword on Instagram, the top search results will be dominated with accounts with a large number of followers.
Follow trains give you the ability to find new people and content which cannot be achieved from an Instagram search.
After all, Instagram’s search is incredibly restrictive, so you can utilize a follow train to broaden it.
Attract the right audience
It’s important to attract the right audience on Instagram as you don’t want people that are uninterested in your content to follow you.
If they do, it’ll negatively affect your engagement rate.
Naturally, you’ll be more inclined to like someone’s posts that are in the same niche as you.
This is because you have the same interests as them. Follow trains give you the ability to attract the right audience if you specify your niche.
If you’re a business, this is especially important. Attracting the right people can lead to more conversions and sales.
Instead of blindly following people from a list, you should focus on attracting the right audience, and a follow Train will enable you to do that.
Disadvantages of a follow train
In contrast to the advantages of a follow train, it also has its disadvantages.
Let’s dive deeper into all the disadvantages of a follow train, and what you can do to counter them.
If you’re utilizing a follow train, you need to be very consistent with it if you want to grow your social media followers quickly.
Joining a follow train is about sharing your social media handle with others. But that’s not enough if you’re looking to gain hundreds of followers.
In order to grow your followers by hundreds, you’ll have to constantly follow and direct message others first instead of waiting for them to do so.
This is incredibly time-consuming as you’ll have to dedicate at least an hour a day to follow and message various people.
In addition, social media apps like Instagram will impose an action block on your account if you follow or direct message others too quickly.
This will hinder your growth efforts.
In order to prevent to action block, you’ll have to be sure to follow and direct message in intervals of 5 to 10 minutes.
In addition to sharing your social media handle, following, and direct messaging others, you’ll have to watch out for the action block as well—which makes it time-consuming.
If you’re not consistent with it, you’re not going to get a lot of followers.
Your feed may be overcrowded
Secondly, by utilizing a follow train, your feed may be overcrowded with posts.
This is because the more people you follow, the more posts you’ll have on your feed.
This makes it harder for you to like every post on your feed and you might miss the posts from people you care about.
Thus, it’s important that you mute people who post too much.
Overposters are one of the worst types of people on Instagram as they clutter your feed unnecessarily.
To identify overposters, simply visit someone’s profile and check the time frame between each post.
If the time frame between their posts is short (a few hours), then they might be an overposter.
If that’s the case, you have to make sure to mute the person’s posts right after following them.
You can do so by refreshing your Instagram feed right after following them.
Once you do so, their posts will most likely appear at the top of your feed where you can tap on the “triple dots” icon to mute them.
If you’re not meticulous about who you follow, your feed might be filled with posts in varying niches.
This means that your feed will be very unorganized—from photography posts to memes to fitness.
To prevent an unorganized/messy feed, be sure to include a short description of yourself or the content that you post so that people can identify your niche and follow you only if they like your content.
In addition, you can explicitly mention that you’re only following back people in your niche.
This will make sure that your feed stays consistent (with posts within a niche).
Growing your social media can be challenging, but it’s not rocket science.
There are many ways to grow your social media followers, and follow trains are one of them.
The best part about follow trains is that you can stop using them once you’re satisfied with the number of your followers.
The only restriction to watch out for is the rate in which you’re following or direct messaging others.