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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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