5 Ways To Follow Good People On Twitter

Follow People On Twitter

Follow People On Twitter

If you pay attention, you can find at least one article a day about how to get more followers on Twitter.  This isn’t about how to get more followers, this is how to follow more people.  If your focus on Twitter is simply to get a lot of numbers in your followers column, then you are missing out on so many great people with amazing thoughts…you’re too focused on yourself.  This also isn’t about how to spam people by following 2,000 within 15 minutes of signing up, then making only one post that links to your “how to get rich quick on the internet” site.  It’s about finding quality people so that the cocktail party that is Twitter is much more enjoyable for you.

  1. Do a search to find people with common interests. I use Tweetdeck (you can find a tutorial about how to use it here), and often make new search columns to find particular phrases.  For example, I’m one of those oddballs that owns and loves a Zune.  I created a search for “Zune” and take a look at it every once in a while to see what people are saying.  When I see somebody that writes something helpful, creative or witty, I usually follow that person.  If you don’t use Tweetdeck (or something similar) you can always go check out the Twitter search site.
  2. Browse through a directory. I have always liked Twellow as a way to find new people, but there are a lot of other services as well.  Mashable recently did a write-up on 15 Twitter directories compared, it’s worth a read.  Directories categorize people by category or geography.  One potential shortcoming is that people are free to categorize themselves, and I often find misrepresentation.  Still, go check out your favorite category and find some new people to follow.
  3. Pay attention to who your friends are talking with. Don’t discount @ replies from your friends to others as a private conversation.  I pay attention to whom others are speaking, because very often I find some fabulously brilliant people that I otherwise would not have known about and I follow them. If people that you respect speak to others, click on the @username link and go see what they are all about.
  4. Use a service that recommends others. If you go to my profile at Twitter Grader you will see several people at the bottom that the service thinks would be good for me to connect with.  I have found good people this way, although Twitter Grader is unusually obsessed with the fact that Imention flip flops in my bio, so it tends to point me toward others that also have flip flops in their bios.  Not necessarily the best connections, but it has been valuable.  Another concierge service of sorts is Mr. Tweet.  Again, I’ve had only moderate success is reasonable matches, but still have found a few good ones.
  5. Don’t only follow the big names. There are plenty of services that give you a list of the top tweeters.  These are usually great folks to follow, but don’t only follow people based solely on big numbers…some of the most insightful and interesting people I follow have fewer than 100 followers.  As an added incentive, if you are interested in conversing with people and not just listening, the people that I am most interactive with usually have smaller follower/following counts…they don’t have as much to keep up with, so it naturally goes that they are free to interact more.  Think about it in terms of a real life event; if you are at a party with 10,000 people and there is somebody you want to talk to, you will have to wait your turn or even get passed over.  Go to a party with 25 people, and you will be involved in more frequent and often more significant conversations.

Many people talk about how many followers they have, and become slightly obsessed with adding as many as they can through begging, contents and shifty practices like the pump and dump (to be discussed in my next post), but I think it is more important to have quality people to follow.  These are my five favorite techniques for finding new people, if you have a strategy for finding great folks that I haven’t mentioned, please share it in the comments.


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  • Sherry Jones
    February 5, 2009

    Great info – I didn’t have a clue that all of that existed. I will check some of those ideas out. thanks, sherry

  • justacoolcat
    February 5, 2009

    Great write up. I think following people gets over looked by being followed way to often and it seems to me like it’s the more important part of social media.

  • Greg Johnson
    February 5, 2009

    Thanks Matt for another very informative post. I learn so much from what you write. I’m always excited about seeing another post.

    Keep up the great work!


  • Alexei Lee
    February 5, 2009

    Just found Mr Tweet today and already proving to be very helpful, especially as I’ve just moved to a new town, Twitter / Mr Tweet has done all the hard work for me!

  • loveforlife
    February 5, 2009

    Wonderful post; will be among my favorites. My interest are varied and among them is my interest in technology. Through following others with similar interest, my time spent on twitter have proved to be beneficial. Again, great blog!

  • Gwynne Kostin
    February 6, 2009

    Matt, this is a gerat post, and the opposite of some of the SMDB stuff that I have been reading. I actually get much more from the people that I follow–it’s almost like having a high-priced clipping service for stuff I am interested in.

    I did want to poke a gentle tease (even tho I don’t know you it cracked me up), when you say “(I’m way at the bottom of that link at #89 as of this writing).” Sounds like you need to be called on that–in a friendly way. :-)

  • Matt Singley
    February 6, 2009

    @Gwynne Glad you liked it! Your gentle tease made me laugh…well done. You’re totally correct, I should probably be in the high 60s! ;)

  • Jay Friesen
    February 7, 2009

    I love @ replies. I have a fairly small list of people that interest me and 98% I’ve followed after seeing who my existing Twits are talking to.

  • Linda Strasberg
    February 9, 2009

    Great post…I’m new to tweeter… I find out what’s going on @mattsingley

  • Erich Miller
    February 9, 2009

    6. Read through the comments of posts about Twitter and find people with amusing and/or interesting things that might relate to his or her job, hobbies, life in general – you name it.

    :-) But anyway, nice post Matt. I say a good combination of 2 and 3 work for me. A directory to see where people list themselves and market themselves as – and then see if they are being followed by other followers/friends of yours.

    I won’t say a bad person is someone that’s following 1000 people with only 20 people following them, but it is a BIG RED FLAG.

  • Joe Stampone
    February 10, 2009

    Great point about not only following the big guys. Twitter is all about having conversations and making valuable relationships.

    Twitter – @joestampone1

  • Ricardo Bueno
    March 4, 2009

    I used TwitterLocal.net to connect with local peeps and that’s worked out well in some instances. What I’m a bigger fan of doing tho, is engaging with those folks who are having interesting conversations amongst members of my existing network. I think that brings more quality to the people I’m engaged with overall.

  • Phaoloo
    March 4, 2009

    Nice thought, follow tweeps in same niche, you learn more and easy to gain followers by retweeting their tweets.

  • Stacie Haight Connerty
    March 4, 2009

    I love #3 and do it all of the time. In real life, that would be butting into a conversation or eavesdropping but in Twitter World, it is expected. After all, these are very public conversations.

  • featureBlend
    March 9, 2009

    Pump and Dump shifty practices are growing in popularity, which kinda sucks and can get annoying at times.

    Thanks for the insight man, great article and looking forward to the pump and dump one!

    btw peeps on twitter can get sensitive so try and be nice as i have seen alot of battles b/w parties!! Thanks.

  • Roger Friedensen
    March 9, 2009

    Great post — this is definitely a keeper. Especially love the cocktail party analogy. How true!

  • soup_maker
    March 11, 2009

    Hi, really great post. Thanks

  • Anuj Seth - Twitdom
    March 11, 2009

    Nice post. Bookmarked and stumbled!

  • Pat Gunning
    March 11, 2009

    Another great tip for new Twitter users… a must read for anyone using Twitter for Marketing

  • Jeff Brown
    March 11, 2009

    I am definitely going to share this will the businesses I am training. Great insights into something so useful. Thanks ever so much.

  • diane66570
    March 11, 2009

    Thanks for this very informative post. Y am a new member of Twitter.
    I am French. So I am very happy to meet some people who help others.
    Sorry for my english mistakes .
    See you soon…

  • Gerlaine
    March 12, 2009

    This was a great post. I did start out on Twitter with a trying to get as many followers as possible. Then I decided that I would dump that habit for the habit of conversing with people and building relationships. That’s what social media is about, right?

  • annie
    March 16, 2009

    This is good advice. I am still in the undecided column about Twitter. Experimenting and then will make a final call. This was quite helpful. I am going to bookmark this and then link it when I write about my experience and decision.

  • kovshenin
    April 3, 2009

    Hey nice post and good suggestions. Though I believe you forgot to mention the new @wefollow service (http://wefollow.com/) which has got high trends. You can use TweetDeck’s search function to keep track of interesting hashtags. And if you’re interested in getting new followers in #wordpress do a “@wefollow #wordpress” search and follow some tweeps – they will follow back.

    The difference between a pure “#wordpress” search is that you’re searching for people that FOLLOW the wordpress tag, not only use it. Got the idea? Good.

    Sorry I’m all into wordpress, must have picked smth else :) good luck!

    ~ @kovshenin

  • Emmanuelle
    April 15, 2009

    To add to #4 – another good service that recommends users you may be interested in is Twubble.
    It goes through the list of people you follow and takes a look at whom they follow themselves.
    From what I understand, if two or more of the people you follow find a user interesting, then Twubble recommends that you follow that user too.

    I have found many great people that way.

  • Matt Singley
    April 23, 2009

    @Emmanuelle…thanks for the tip about Twubble. Hmm, that’s kind of a tongue twister. ;)

  • April
    April 23, 2009

    Again, Matt, your posts are awesome and relevant. Keep the great work up!! :)

  • badassdad05
    April 23, 2009

    Great tips and thanks for the info on tools! Now, if you could just come up with some ways to convince my wife I’m not a total oddball for twittering at the dinner table …

  • Shari Weiss
    June 15, 2009

    Hi Jay, I’m much newer to the blogosphere than you are . . . and had written some Twitter 101 posts a few weeks ago. Today a reference to one of them showed up on this February post of yours. For my own clarification, can you tell me how that happened.
    It’s actually a “neat” things since it was a way that I discovered you. =D

  • Jan Bruin
    July 16, 2009

    Good tips Matt! Very helpful. Lately I have been using bit.ly analytics to find out who has been shortening the same URL’s as me. Use the info button on any created URL and you can see which Twitterati have also shared the article. Maybe a nice addition for these tips?

  • Sarah Mitchell
    August 10, 2009

    Hi Matt,

    I completely agree with your thoughts on quality vs. quantity when it comes to followers. One technique I’ve found very useful is to look for people that would most likely be my future clients. Let me explain.

    When I first started using Twitter I followed a bunch of writers and copywriters. Guess what? I wasn’t learning much and certainly wasn’t doing much to expand my business network. I changed my tactic to follow people working in industries that would be likely to hire me or collaborate with me. When I started following graphic designers, photographers, and people in the IT industry I really started to get valuable business leads.

  • McMatt
    September 11, 2009

    Solid tips Matt – working on turning this into a best practice at my office and appreciate the info!

  • Oli Gardner
    September 17, 2009

    Excellent tips Matt. I’m impressed with Twellow, a good addition to the arsenal.

    I use many strategies to build a useful network, but one that I like to about once per week is to use the various search methods and directories using phrases related to my interests.

    Then while browsing the results, I turn on my pickyness filter and search out 5 really great tweets from all of the results.

    Having followed them I’ll consciously spend 5 minutes tracking back through their timeline to find 5 other interesting people that they are actively interacting with in an intelligent manner.

    That way I can increase my network with really great people who are already engaged with each other.

    Then I’ll try and become part of their conversation to solidify the new mini network.

    Thanks again for the post.

  • Juanmahv
    December 19, 2009

    Thanks for the tips. It was really useful for a Twitter newbie like me.

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