When starting out on Twitter, it can be overwhelming when trying to work out how to begin following people – with so many to choose from, who do you follow? Where do you start?
There are countless numbers of Twitter tools that will give you suggestions for who to follow (ie Hootsuite, Sprout Social to name just two). But if you want to drill down a little more into “who” is appropriate and beneficial for you to follow (and who is more likely to follow back) then here are a couple of quick tips for you to get you going with Twitter! And the best part? Even more than “following” – you will most likely create great connections with other Twitter users by using some of the strategies listed in this post.
When finding people to follow on Twitter, there are a number of reasons why you might choose to follow them, including:
- they are thought leaders in your niche
- they are your ideal client
- they produce products and services of interest to you or your clients, and/or are useful to your business
- you can learn from them or their products and services
- they are a partner or prospective partner or business associate for your business
- the person is your friend
- the list goes on.
#1 Use the Twitter Lists of Others
Before I start on this, I have to say that I highly, highly recommend that you set up your own lists on Twitter. I recently wrote a post about how to set up and use Twitter Lists strategically and creatively. Please check the post out here if you are not very familiar with Twitter Lists. It includes some great tips for getting started.
Setting up your own lists does not necessarily mean that they will fill with people quickly. How can you start to fill them with people that you follow (and hopefully will follow you back)? Easy! Think of people that fit into the categories above (or service those categories) and go to their profile. Start with the thought leaders in your industry. If you are a writer, you might go to some accounts of famous authors, or perhaps book publishers. In my niche, I follow various thought leaders in social media. Alternatively, it may be that you get a little cheeky and find the account for your local “competition”. Or perhaps follow your local council/shire/sporting organisation/Tourism Office – as they will no doubt follow a lot of the local businesses in your area. Use their list to find local businesses to follow too. Once you have worked out which people are likely to have great Twitter Lists, then go to their account, scroll down below their profile picture and click on LISTS.
You will then see all the lists that the person or company is subscribed to (or a member of). For example, if you looked up my account you would see the following – all the lists that I have (a) established (b) subscribed to or (c) have been made a member of by another Twitter User.
It is a virtual smorgasbord of people to follow! For example, if you are interested in social media (and I am hoping you are, given that you are reading this post) – you could visit my account, check out who I follow and follow some of those same people. Here are some of the lists that I prepared earlier…feel free to not reinvent the wheel and check out some of the great people I am following by visiting my account at @sociallysorted.
For example, if you are a budding video marketer, you might visit the accounts of @gideonshalwick or @colligan and @RETrainingVids and see who they have saved into lists. If someone has already made a great list, go and check it out! Not everyone uses lists, but for those that do, I am sure they will have some great people for you to follow!
#2 Participate in Twitter Chats
What is a Twitter Chat you may ask? Well, a Twitter Chat is something that has become very popular. Basically it involves a group of like-minded people getting together to chat under a particular “hashtag” on a topic of common interest (at a pre-determined time). Everyone uses the same #hashtag during the conversation (which usually lasts 1 hour) so that it is easy to follow along (and the conversation can be searched on via the designated hashtag). There are chats on Twitter for almost every topic. For example there is an #edchat for educational professionals, a #cookingchat and a #TNI (Travellers Night In) for travel enthusiasts…and a whole swag of social media chats. My favourite social media chat at the moment? #likeablechat from the team at Likeable Media. If you are looking for Social Media Chats to follow, I can highly recommend this article from Social Fresh about popular Social Media Twitter Chats.
How to Get Chatting? I would suggest that you find a chat that resonates with you and:
- Search under the hashtag for the chat and see if you like the content of previous chats
- Put the time in your diary (check www.timeanddate.com if the chat is in another time zone – to see if the time suits you. For one of the chats that I do, the US participants are having a lazy Sunday night in, while I catch them at morning tea on a Monday!
- Join in the conversation and remember to add #xyzchat (the relevant hashtag) to your tweets
- Take note of those people that interact with you and retweet or @mention you during the chat – these are great people to start following.