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To Follow or Not to Follow

When you are building your Twitter network, one of the big things you need to consider is who to follow and who not to follow. Some people follow everyone who follows them, but if you are using Twitter to grow and promote your business, you will need to have a bit more strategy than that.

If you intend to connect to people who will purchase your products or services or enhance your business in some other way, indiscriminately following anyone who follows you isn’t going to cut the mustard. As with any other marketing strategy, you need to develop a targeted group of followers on Twitter if you expect to earn any money from them. No one’s business product or service appeals to everyone and if you try to market yours to the whole of the Twitterverse, you’re wasting your time and your effort.

So how do you decide who to follow and who not to follow? There are a few tricks you can use to choose your followers in a more selective manner in order to market your business most effectively.

  • Look at a potential follower’s Twitter stream. Go to their home page and read their Twitter stream for a page or two. What do you see? Are they constantly promoting themselves? You may want to take a pass. Do they provide useful links to other people’s websites? They could be entertaining as well as helpful to your business. Do they talk about things pertaining to your expertise? Common interests are a definite plus when choosing a follower, so you may want to give those with similar interests a chance.

  • Look at who is following them. Every profile page has a list of the person’s followers. You can click the link on the upper right hand side of the page that says followers or you can move through the grid of photos further down the page. Look for followers you have in common. This can be a good indicator of mutual interests. Look for high profile people in your field of interest. Many of the biggest names on Twitter only follow people who are relevant to their business. This doesn’t mean to imply it is a good decision, but it could lead to some influential or at least interesting people to follow.

  • Follow the public Twit stream and look for people who are interesting, funny or helpful. Click on their username to get to their profile page and look around a bit to see if they sound interesting to you.

  • Use Twitter search. At the bottom of the page is a clickable link to Twitter search. Once there, you can enter in a key word or phrase and click search. You will find all the recent replies using the term. If you use a relevant key word, this can be an excellent way of finding followers interested in your business.

  • Try an off-site service like Twitter Grader. Twitter Grader will rank the reach and authority of your Twitter username based on how many people you follow, how many follow you and how many updates you have made.

    While this is interesting information, the truly useful feature is the list of suggested followers Twitter Grader will provide to you. Based on common interests and common followers, you will find suggestions of people in your area of expertise. Now, here’s the trick: it may not be the most useful to you to simply follow other people in your industry; although you can network that way quite productively. However, you may just want to go to those suggested profiles and see who THEY are following and who is following them.

While none of these methods of finding followers on Twitter is fool proof or offers any guarantee your business will increase, they are all great ways to find some interesting new people to meet and potentially do business with in the future.


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