Twitter’s strength comes in its ability to connect you with other people and to start real conversations. It’s helped small business owners market to current customers, to engage new ones, and to create partnerships with new friends. But it can only help you to do that if you know how to find the people relevant to you. Otherwise, you spend a whole lot of time talking to yourself.
And unfortunately, that’s what happens to most people.
Finding people you know or who are relevant to you on Twitter is probably a lot easier than you think. There are a great number of tools, directories and searches already available to help you do it. Here are some of my trusty favorites for locating new and interesting Twitter users.
The Find People option: Twitter’s very own Find People option offers several ways to find Twitter users you already know in real life. If you’re using Gmail, Yahoo or an AOL email account to correspond with customers (and you feel comfortable sharing this information), Twitter will go through and find all of your contacts already using the service. This is a very quick way to connect with all your current customers and let them know you’ve found a new home on Twitter. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your email account information, you can also search for customers, competitors and community friends by name using the people search. It’s a bit more time consuming, but you don’t have to give up the goods.
Twitter Search: Use Twitter Search when you want to search by keywords rather than name, or if you want to find people who are talking about you. By entering in your name, username, important keywords, competitors, clients, etc, you can find all the important conversations going on around your terms and follow the people having them. You may also want to look for local news organizations, as well. By starting up conversations with them on Twitter, it could possible lead to future coverage down the road. Twitter Search lets you find people based on the topics they’re talking about.
Twellow: Twellow prides itself as being “The Twitter Yellow Pages”. It’s a directory that allows you to search for other Twitter users based on interest, category or location. Twitter users are able to claim and fill out Twellow listings, which then become searchable. If you’re a local car repair shop, you could use Twellow to find other mechanics in your area, identify people who list themselves as car fanatics, or to find business owners in parallel fields. Twellow ranks users by the number of followers they have, so the person with the biggest network will rank at the top. To help people find you, you should also fill out your personal Twellow profile and add yourself to the appropriate categories.
WeFollow Directory: WeFollow is a Twitter directory that lets users tag their account with different keywords or interests. For example, if you’re that car mechanic listed above, you can tag yourself with “automobiles”, “cars” and “mechanic” to make it easy for people interested in these things to find you. Of course, you can also search for the same terms in order to find people that you’d be interested in following. Because users can create whatever tags they want, try to add yourself to the relevant communities that have the most followers. For example, [writer] has almost 11,900 different users listed, where as [writers] only has 132. You’d want to list yourself in the first group, rather than the latter one.
Competitors: This is one of the most underrated ways to find some of your most valuable Twitter followers. Do a people search on Twitter to try and track down your known competitors using the service. Once you find them, take a look at whom they’re following and who’s following them. People follow others for very specific reasons. If someone has decided to follow, and especially interact with, one of your competitors, then it’s likely that they’d be interested in following you, as well. You probably also want to follow any user that your competitor seems to spends a large amount of time tweeting to. If this person is important to their business, there may be some overlap in how they can help you. Or, if not, you at least want to be monitoring the conversation.
TwitterGrader: TwitterGrader is incredibly useful for finding interesting tweeters local to you. Once you tell TwitterGrader where you’re located, it will populate a list of the 100 most active Twitterers in your area. You can also use the Advanced Search option to narrow down the list to find people who just joined Twitter in the last week, past five days, etc. Small businesses can often make really great connections simply by talking to the folks who live in a close distance from their storefront. After all, your community is your audience.
MrTweet: MrTweet is an automated system that recommends interesting people for you to follow based on your own Twitter usage. It provides data about each person’s follow/followed ratio, posting rate, degree of conversation and link posting rate. To use the service to find followers, you simply have to the @mrtweet Twitter account and you’ll receive the occasional DM with recommendations on interesting users.
Twubble: Twubble works by going through your Follower list and then jumping one step further to go through your follower’s Followers to create a brand new list of people for you to follow. The idea here is that if someone is following someone that you find to be relevant, that person may find you relevant as well. It’s sometimes hit or miss but I’ve found some pretty active Twitter users this way.
With the rabid popularity of Twitter, there are tons of services out there to help people use the service and locate followers. These are some of my personal favorites.
If you’re looking for some quick Twitter tips for SMB owners, my friend David Mihm does a pretty good job presenting those.
More in: Twitter
Thanks for the list Lisa. Many businesses are also finding followers and getting found on Localtweeps (http://localtweeps.com), the leading user-created hyperlocal directory. We’ve got listings down to the ZIP code level and free tools for creating and promoting local business events and specials. Followers of @localtweeps also get notified when new tweeps are listed in their ZIP. Please check it out – I’d be glad to hear your thoughts.
Co-Founder and Chief Tweep
These are great tools. I usually just use the “find people” option and put in certain keywords. With your mention of Twubble, I had to give it a go. Most of the followers it picked for me wheren’t ones I would choose to follow but it did give me a few new additions. Thank you for giving us some new options.
Great tips! I will start to follow more people on a daily basis. I have tested all your suggestions, except for Twubble. I have to check it out. Another service: http://twitseeker.com/
I will soon compile a list of international Twitter users and publish it on my blog. I am interested to hear from you with an international background and perspective on social media, personal branding & productivity and small businesses (sole trader, sole proprietorship, solo entrepreneur, freelancer, etc.).
By the way: What do you call a Twitter user?
I’ve never heard of Twubble before but I’m going to go check it out now. Sounds quite useful and I have found that, indeed, it’s true that you can find relevant follows and followers through that method. This is a nice list of helpful tools but a tactic that I find very useful is “Follow Friday” where you tweet names of those that have retweeted your messages that week as a way of thanks. Methods like that combined with tools like these are sure to gain you an audience and give you a good one to follow as well.
Thank you for the additional links included within. Worth checking out between tweets.
You give some great Twitter tools here with advice on what how they can be of benefit. Thank you, I thing that these can be very useful for anyone who wants to improve their presence on Twitter.
Great tools here. Twitter continues to gain more and more popularity so I appreciate the links and information on how to find more and more followers.
This is a terrific list Lisa. I especially like your point about the power of Twitter being in the people you follow. I also want to thank everyone else for adding their own twitter follower search tools. This is a terrific article with terrific comments.
Hi Lisa, Cool list of tips. I’ve written about twitter tips and tools too. I’m glad I found something new here. Thanks for sharing!
Great one, I never knew so many tools existed even though using twitter for some time now. This not only helps me find relevant people but also avoid people who not at all related to my interests or social network. I think you did a great job and hopefully I may be able to absorb all out of it.
USourceIT: Riskfree IT outsourcing/ sourcing partner for small and medium businesses.
Thanks for the great list !
One of my favorite app is :Tweefind that returns the most relevant results and users based on rank from the Twitter search engine and should help on reaching your Target Market.
You are an encyclopedia of things social media. Thanks for this post. Can you write about Ning and other such platforms and how people are using those?
great tools for reference… thanks for the info…
Another couple of places you can use are Tweetdeck, which combines your search to include Facebook, and Twitseeker
Twitter Directory 2000
Way #9 is Twitter Directory 2000. With so many twitter users, we only index users with at least 2000 followers and updates within the last 30 days. Active premier Twitter users.
Somehow Twellow doesn’t work right now. I guess I will try later…
Also you can check twitwho directory: http://twitwho.net
there is no spam thanks to moderation.
interesting and informational
lets play follow the leader
ill be the leader 😀
lets play follow the leader
ill be the leader 😀
Another site to find relevant ‘twitterers’ is twitneighbor.com
This is a nice list of helpful tools but a tactic that I find very useful is “Follow Friday” where you tweet names of those that have retweeted your messages that week as a way of thanks. Methods like that combined with tools like these are sure to gain you an audience and give you a good one to follow as well
I’d also like to suggest an app like InstaFollow.com. You can automatically follow relevant people with similar interests. It’s also great for brands trying to market within a niche.
An often overlooked method is using one of the many hashtag or keyword utilities, including those built into tweetdeck or seesmic, to watch a current event or subject. For example I watch for like minded people who are tweeting with #CES during that event and add those that interest me. After the purchase of my Motorola Droid I did the same thing for that keyword to find other people discussing it. I do this for SEO, Internet Marketing, photoshop, etc. It works well.
This website has a good list of people who will likely follow-back, along with good tools and suggestions on how to find users who will follow-back – http://www.twitteruserswhowillfollowyouback.com
follow me @mikelukken
Twubble never officially worked for us, so we custom rolled out own solution that takes it a step further. Please check out mofollow to find similar twitter users based on an analysis of your current list of friends.
how do I get a lot more follers?
Thanks Lisa, that’s helpful. I would have mentionned Hootsuite as a relevant online marketing tool to create a community of followers. I find is especially good to follow and add followers accross multiple Twitter channels.
This a great list Lisa. Thanks for the information. Following competitors is a great tip you mentioned ..
This is a terrific list.
It helps me understand about my competitors.
It helps me find people who search for relevant topics
It helps me understand the customer needs
This is useful list for me. I really appreciate the effort you put in this article.
Some time we stuck how we increase our twitter follower and this article will surely help us.
It is really simple and informative article I enjoyed while reading it. Thank you so much for updating my knowledge I was looking for it on the net I found your article it is really great. On twitter I have very fewer followers now I think I could increase mine with your tips.
Is there anyway preventing unfollow after getting good number of followers? In my Twitter account someday I got 50 followers a day but after few days they go down gradually and again it comes back to lower numbers. I want to stop or minimize this ‘unfollow’.
Finally i found detailed post about twitter followers. Thanks for sharing these info.
Have been looking for a post on how to increase my twitter followers. I want to thank you for sharing it here.