27 August 2012

5 Steps To Finding Your People On Twitter

This post is written by contributing author Genevieve Brazelton. 

The biggest reason small businesses never fully adopt a social media strategy is because they never feel like they're communicating with their people. Often I hear clients say, "I feel like I'm talking to an empty room."

It's hard to continue using Twitter, or any other platform, if you feel like no one's listening and you're not getting any sort of engagement. But remember, everybody starts with zero followers. Making connections and maintaining relationships takes effort, but that doesn't mean you need to spend hours a day to build your community.

girl feeding doves and a duck
Photo: kanelstrand

Here are 5 simple steps to help you find your people on Twitter:

1. Define Who You Want To Connect With
All social media platforms have different potentials for who you can connect with, so be realistic, but also specific. If you sell hand knit baby products you're probably not going to connect with a lot of potential customers on Twitter, but you will find bloggers who will be interested in writing about your product and shop owners who may want to place wholesale orders. If you're a coach you might want to focus on potential collaborators and industry publications.

2. Start With The Easy Connections
Don't make it harder than it needs to be, use colleagues, friends and family first to build your numbers. Ask them to tell their friends. You'll be surprised at how far this gets you in just a few days.

3. Follow The Bread Crumbs
Once you're connected to a base of familiar people start looking at who they're connected with. These are the first removed connections that can often become some of the most rewarding relationships. Don't just follow them, take a moment to send a quick tweet introducing yourself and bringing up your connection.

Then move on to following the movers and shakers in your industry. This can be top bloggers, retail outlets, even your competitors and role models. Look at who they're connected with and start following the relevant people in those circles.

Not all will follow back, but if you're providing interesting content many of them will. We're all hungry to meet more people who will be useful to us.

4. Use Lists
Twitter's list function is often overlooked, but highly useful. Segregate the people you're following into groups that make sense to you based on why you're following them and how they fit into your social circle.

I've made lists for current clients, potential clients, friends, writers, influencers, etc. That way when I want to see what all my clients and prospective clients are struggling with for blog post ideas I don't have to wade through all the other chatter to find it. Then I look to the conversations my influencers are having and see where I might be able to jump in.

5. Attend Twitter Chats
Attending and participating in Twitter chats allowed me to not only grow my Twitter following by 50-100 people a month, most of these followers were exactly who I was looking for.

It takes a little effort to find the chats, but a few google searches should turn up relevant chat in your industry. Then all you need to do is make an effort to add something to the conversation either in the form of an intelligent question or informative answer. You'll be having a conversation with others interested in the same things you are.

I've participated in chats for young female entrepreneurs, local Etsy groups, and blog communities. Some are weekly, others monthly and you don't need to attend regularly to get something out of them.

Put in a few hours a week and you'll have growing following that you actually talk to in no time.

What are some of your favorite ways to find new people on Twitter?

Genevieve Brazelton endlessly researches the newest ideas in creative and social media marketing so you don’t have to. Genevieve’s strength is her keen outside perspective and sometimes infuriating logic that puts structure to dreams and lays out paths to goals. She is also the business side of Lightbox SF. Read more about her here.
Connect to Genevieve via twitter or facebook.


  1. Really helpful tips, thank you! I love the idea of using lists to follow people that are important to your business, and Twitter chats. I see the chats all the time, I think it might be time to participate.
    Everyday Inspired

  2. Lists totally changed the way I used Twitter, definitely give them a whirl.

  3. Huge! Thank you so much you really hit home with me on just the title! I am a jewelry designer looking to build clients and sales until I can begin wholesaling.