Who to Follow & How To Follow

Yesterday I went over the essential tools needed to make human connections on Twitter.  Today, I’ll go over who you should follow, and how to follow them.

When I first learned to leverage following on Twitter, I dove into Tweepi (a close second to ManageFlitter for the record) and followed hundreds and hundreds of people every other day.  I’d unfollow those that didn’t follow me, then I would repeat it.  Years ago, over half of them followed me back since it was ‘culturally’ acceptable behavior. Before you knew it I had several hundred followers.

And you know what?

It was a REALLY bad idea.

Why?  The point of using any digital media platforms is to make human connections to grow your business.  Before I started religiously employing the tactics I’ve outlined below, I discovered nearly all of my followers were comprised of three categories:

  1. They had absolutely nothing of value to offer me.
  2. I had absolutely nothing of value to offer them.
  3. They were fake accounts.
Not only were my efforts a complete waste of time.  But I was wasting a bunch of strangers’ time too.  And some of the strangers may have actually yielded some profitable conversation.  
Read on for my  mixed bag solution to this problem.

Tuesday – Day Two

Who to Follow

If you haven’t created your “stalker list” yet, you should.  Cliff Notes Version: dig through “best of” lists and Google and find all of the influential people in your field of interest.  I wrote an exhaustive series on finding influencers – give it a skim, at minimum to keep you focused on the important stuff.  Once your list is complete, find the influencers with active Twitter accounts, and add them to a list.

Some guidelines:

You want to follow people who are most likely to converse with you

Relevance is paramount.

How to Follow

There are literally 100’s of ways to follow people on Twitter from the site’s built-in “Follow” button, their follow buttons you see tacked to social savvy web pages.  As you browse the web, go ahead and follow some of those folks.  However, remember that cheap tool I insisted you purchase in my last post?  That $12/month will save you hours of work per week on all of your Twitter marketing activities.  The below instructions will give you the basics on the follow tab in that web tool.

(I’m assuming you already have a Twitter account, have pushed out handful tweets, and already purchased the Budgie Plan with ManageFlitter).

Follow Your Influencers’ Followers – Rough Volume Method
This method is effective if you are just starting out.  Use it sparingly as it is not a precision tool, but will certainly get you in the right neighborhood. Try to limit it to 100 or so per week.

  1. Login to your Twitter Account
  2. Go to ManageFlitter.com
  3. Click on “Sign In (Pro & Free)” in the top right tab, and give it second to sync up your account
  4. Now follow the directions in the image below. (Click on it to zoom in)
    By this point you would have copied about 100 tweeps.
  5. Now go the “Unfollow” tab, and follow the directions in the image below.  Metaphorically, we’ve picked a bunch of fruit from the tree, now we will chuck the ones that are no ripe, rotten or not fruit at all.
  6. Unfollow the inactive, then those with no profile image, then the fake following accounts.

Advanced Twitter Search – Precision Methods
The following tactics will help you unearth people who are located in your target geography and / or are actively tweeting about topics relevant to you. 

  1. Go to the “Search” Tab, then the little “Refine” drop-down next to the search box.
  2. Fill out the form similar to the screenshot below, but tailored to you.  In this example, I’m looking for active non-profits in Bellingham WA with at least 25 followers.
  3. When you get a relatively small results list (less than 100), you are doing it right.  See the example below.  Oh, and don’t worry if the numbers don’t match … the “X”‘d out people are folks that I’m already following.
  4.  Repeat and tweak, until you’ve followed about 100 more people
  5. That’s it … you should only be doing tailored mass following about once per week.  Try to do much and Twitter will lock down your account as a potential spammer.  I’ve been flagged for as few as 500 in my early days on the platform.
When you wake up tomorrow, you will magically see that many of the people have followed you back.  It takes some time to marinate so please be patient.


Twitter is primarily a tool for conversation.  

Be Specific. Be Relevant. Be Timely. Be Human.

In short, follow people you want to talk to.

Stay tuned for my next post on Day 3, where I’ll show you how to ’till the soil’, drive interactions and properly use Twitter Lists to keep it all straight.

Questions? Leave them in the comment thread below, or just shoot me a call / email.


photo credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via photopin cc