If you use it right, Twitter can be a fantastic place to find clients or customers, employees, develop business relationships, or learn a thing or two. It can also be an incredibly overwhelming place. A great place to start -as a business or as an individual – is with finding the right people to follow.
Who to Follow locally
Unless the majority of your business is done virtually, you’ll want to focus on building a local community. The first place to look is local businesses that you currently have a relationship with. Check out your competition as well. Dive a little deeper into their feed and check out who they follow, and who follows them. Look for people who post regularly and engage with people consistently. Check out local bloggers (here is a list of some local places to start in Edmonton) and follow them on Twitter as well. Follow local reporters. Look for local influencers – a great place to start is with Trendsetters, though you will have to sift through a lot of hockey!
You can also check out the lists that other influential locals have curated (and start your own, so your timeline is more organized and your tweeting more focused). You can also subscribe to the lists other people have created. If you find a particularly influential local on Twitter, see if they have a list you want to subscribe to.
- Navigate to their profile page, then click on the icon with three dots above their bio. Select “View Lists”.
- Click the icon with the three dots above their bio, then select View Lists.
- Click any list you want to follow and hit “Subscribe”.
Search hashtags, like #yeg, to see who is identifying their tweets as locally-produced or locally-relevant. #FF, for Follow Friday, is also a good hashtag to check out, to see who people you follow are recommending.
Most of all, just start somewhere. Let natural conversation and engagement help you find new people. If you think of Twitter as marketing, you will most likely get frustrated with it. But if you think of it as building a community, you will discover that you will make some incredible connections that will stay with you and your business.
Follow Accounts by Interests
Whether for your own edification, or because it is directly related to the product or service you sell, you can search for Twitter users based on interests. Use Twitter search (and refine with Advanced Search) to find people talking about the things you are interested in. You can also find out what people are saying about your industry this way (or even you or your competitors) so you can get ahead of trends or challenges.
Then apply the same logic as we talked about above – look to who those people are following, who follows them, and their lists. See if you can’t find a ready-made community that has the same interests as you do and start joining conversations, so you aren’t that creepy person in the bushes with binoculars, watching from the outside.
Speaking of creepy – keep in mind that these should actually be conversations, not sales tweets. Just because someone is interested in something you sell doesn’t mean you have to start selling. Focus on the interest first. There is no faster way to turn people off then to try to make every conversation about what people can buy from you.
Who to Follow on Twitter to Learn
If you are using Twitter right, you aren’t just there for customers. Twitter is a great place to expand your knowledge and interests, and to find out what’s new. Just as we talked about above, the search bar (and advanced search) can help you find accounts that talk about your industry or your interests and learn new things.
Pay attention to the Trending sections, and who Twitter recommends for you. They aren’t always right about who you’ll enjoy, but they are very invested in you spending a lot of time on Twitter, so they want to match you with accounts that will interest you, so they tend to make good recommendations.
When you start, you might get a bit excited and start following everyone you find, but keep in mind, Twitter is going to limit you to 400 follows per day. Take a little time and find high quality follows, and then let the rest of the development happen more organically. This isn’t a short-term business strategy; this is a way to expand your community without having to have hundreds of coffee meetings. Treat it like you are building a network, and it will be a network you can rely on.