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Twitter Step-by-Step: Building Follows & Engagement

by Karen Talavera

08 26, 2010 | Posted in Digital Marketing, Marketing Vision, Social Media, Twitter | 0 comments

Figuring out whom to follow on Twitter can be time-consuming.  With over 75 million Twitter accounts, how on earth do you figure out who you have anything in common with?  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed before even getting started.

Twitter, however, is all about engagement, so it pays not to dilly-dally but instead, jump in and begin making those connections.  Here’s a three-step process to instantly see who shares your interests so you can decide who to follow and get the conversations flowing!

1.  Begin with Twitter SearchTwitter search (http://search.twitter.com/) is the fastest, easiest way to search for a specific person, name, hashtag, company or key word on Twitter.  But, it’s just the beginning to seeing who you might be interested in following.  A few topical key-word searches using Twitter Search will turn up the most vocal and popular Twitterbirds commenting on your subject, plus the number of recent retweets they’ve received (a sure sign of popularity).  Identify the top five or ten from each term you search, then go on to step 2.

2.  Identify Key Influencers.  These are leaders in your industry, topic or space on Twitter.  Who’s a big-wig in your area of expertise or main subject of interest? Which is a leading brand or name that popped instantly in your Twitter searches? Who’s really vocal on your subject? Whether it’s Guy Kawasaki, George Stephanopoulos, Richard Branson or someone you’ve never heard of, if they have high activity and a large number of followers, follow them.  Then, see who their followers are and follow those people too.

Tip: The more specific your topic or the niche of the expert, the stronger the affinity between their followers and you.

3.  Extend Your Reach.  When you’re ready for some serious volume, it’s time to move beyond the low-hanging fruit and identify all the individuals sharing your interests.  Blast Follow is the tool I use for this especially because it automates the process.  I’m not crazy about their name (you might know I don’t believe in “blasting”  online) but in this case the shoe fits because this free Twitter application enables you to follow Twitter users who share your interests en masse. (Note: using BlastFollow does not send direct messages or @replies to people, it simply automates your follow requests, so you’re not blasting Twitter messages to anyone by using this tool).

To use BlastFollow you enter a favorite search term (for example, “americanidol”) in their search box. Then, click the “Get Users!” button. After a few seconds, you will see the number of users who recently tweeted with a hashtag including your search term. (Hashtags in Twitter use the hash symbol [the # sign] along with a key term to tag and group tweets around a specific topic or event so people can search that topic or event more easily and see only the tweets which include the tag).  Then, you need only enter your Twitter name and password and you will start following all of those users identified in your search. You can usually see the progress on a user-by-user basis.

Remember, about 70% of the people you follow on Twitter will follow you back, so this is not only a great way to connect with new like-minded individuals, but also a fast way to gain new followers and boost your follower count.

(I hope we’ll be connecting on Twitter as well!  You can follow me @SyncMarketing, and if you do I’ll follow you back.)

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