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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Glue That Holds Social Media Together

A friend of mine named Andrew Roush said it best when he said, "Common Interests are the new demographic." Common interests are the glue that hold social media together. They are what bring people of different ages, backgrounds, geographic locations, races, income status and education together and get them communicating.

Its common interests that start a conversation about the upcoming Presidential Election between a business professional in New York, a farmer in the Midwest, and a mom with four kids in Utah. None of them have met before and all are quite different, but all have some opinion about who should be President.

The wonderful technologies that have been developed in Social Media are bringing people together in ways never before thought possible. Because it is so easy for people to communicate about their common interests, there is something for everyone in social media, they just don't know it yet.

When I say there is something for everyone in Social Media, I mean everyone. Short or tall, young or old, dog lover or cat lover, Star Wars geek, music lover, business professional, or soccer mom, there is something in the billions of pages of content and millions of users that will interest everyone.

My favorite thing to do is to show someone something that interests them in social media and to see that light go on when they finally "get it". Its like when I taught my son to ride his bike. At first, he didn't understand why riding a bike would ever be fun. He thought it was something I was doing to torture him. Until the day he figured out how to ride on his own, and the light went on and he "got it". Social media is a great and has something for everyone, people just don't "get it" yet. But they will.

So how do you find people who share common interests with you? Here is a list of tools that can be used to find conversations about a particular topic. This is not an all inclusive list, but a good place to get started.
Technorati is a blog search engine. It regularly spiders content on blogs and allows you to search through and find blogs that might interest you.

Boardreader is a search engine for forums, blogs, twitter, and a number of other social media.
Would you like to know what people are talking about on twitter, go to the search and type in a word, and the most recent tweets with that word will pop up. Start following people who talk about things you are interested in.

Social Bookmarking
Check out some of the social bookmarking sites and see what people are bookmarking.,,

Social Network groups
Each social network has some form of groups that people who belong to the network can join. Search through them and look for something that interest you.

Feel free to post any other tools that you think might be helpful.

Not sure what social network to join? Can't find anything on a particular topic or interest? Need some help getting started? Just ask, I am glad to help. ljjones6 at gmail dot com.