Thursday, October 30, 2008

How to make real connections on Twitter

What's the secret to get a lot of people to legitimately follow you on Twitter? Common Interests.

Its the one link that ties together a bunch of people who don't know each other. For more on the importance of common interests in social media see my previous post "The Glue that Holds Social Media Together". I don't know a lot of people that I follow or that follow me on Twitter, but with many of them we share a common interest in Social Media and Internet Marketing. And this gives us a common ground that we can use to start a conversation. The truth is, most people on Twitter are looking to communicate, you just need to show them that you are worth talking to.

The best place to start is with your personal profile because if your profile isn't right, no one will follow you. When people look at your profile, to decide whether or not to follow you, there are two place they will look. The first place they look is at your bio, to see who you are and what you are interested in and to see if they would have any interest in following you. If you share a common interest or your bio seems particularly interesting, then you may get a follow. And you only have 160 characters, so get to the point and say something interesting.

The second place they may look is at your tweets themselves. Your tweets say a lot about you, so tweet about things that you are genuinely interested in.

Once your profile is taken care of, the next thing to do is go out and find people to follow. My rule of thumb when looking for people to follow is, "Could I have an intelligent conversation with this person?" Don't just follow everyone just for the sake of following.

Twitter has made it very easy to find people who are like you with whom you share a common interest. is a search tool that you can use to search for keywords in the public stream. Just type in something that you are interested in and see what others on Twitter are saying about it.

Another great way to use the search is to find an event that you are interested in that others may be tweeting about. Twitter users have developed a special way to track events in Twitter. They use hashtags to tag something that they are talking about, like an event. Hashtags start with the number symbol # and are followed by the tag. For example, last night was the world series and Twitterers watching were using the hashtag #worldseries in their tweets. To follow what people were tweeting about the world series last night as it happened you could have search #worldseries in the search,

So now you have a list of people who are tweeting real time about an event that you are interested in. Before you reach out to these people, make a comment about the event and tag it with the hashtag. There is a good chance that many of these people are also following the hashtag and will see your tweet. Once you have sent a tweet, go out and follow some of them. After receiving an invitation to follow, they will most likely see your last tweet with the hashtag about the event they are participating in, and because of the common interest, will follow you back. And will most likely follow you right away, as they are sitting in front of their computer just like you.

Twitter is a great way to communicate and find people like you.


Anonymous said...

Some people play the numbers game and to that I say: "to each their own." That approach generates nothing more than false equity in my opinion. I mean really, what's the point of amassing all these numbers if when you call on them, they won't be there for you? I believe that your connections are only as strong as the bond that ties people to one another.

You connect with people first by finding a common ground (as you suggested). Because only then, do people open up to engaging with one another. Talking to one another...inquiring as to how they might benefit one another.

Alan Macfarlane said...

Great post. I agree. My criteria for following:
1) They tweet regularly, but not too much
2) They have a decently balanced ratio of followers/following
3)Interesting, descriptive bio
4)Ideally, local to me (not sure why that matters to me, but it does)
5)They have a personal Web site, blog, so I can find out more or get more detailed info from them if I find them interesting.

Again, great article.