With hundreds of millions of users, it can be difficult to find people to follow on Twitter whom you actually want to connect with. If you want to leverage Twitter for networking, extending your online reach, or building your brand or business, then you need to find the right people to follow. Otherwise, you’ll waste your time and your own Twitter feed will be filled with irrelevant clutter.
With just a bit of effort, you can use free tools and some creative tricks to identify the right people to connect with on Twitter. Following are 10 easy ways to get started.
1. Use the features built into Twitter.
Your efforts to find people to follow on Twitter should begin with the Advanced Twitter Search tool where you can search for people by name, place, keywords, and more. You can also find people simply by paying attention to the accounts that Twitter automatically recommends for you to follow. You can see this information when you’re logged into your Twitter account, and you can receive recommendations via email notification, too.
2. Browse the following lists of key people who you follow on Twitter.
Who do you already follow on Twitter? Who are they following on Twitter? Search through their following lists, and you’ll find a lot of people that you probably wan to follow, too.
3. Search Twitter lists.
Twitter lists are a highly underutilized feature. Check out the lists created by the people you follow, and you’re apt to find people that you want to follow. Also, use a tool like Listorious (which is merging with Muck Rack) to search public Twitter lists.
4. Use Twitter directories.
There are many directories of Twitter users that you can use to search for people to follow by topic, keyword, location, and more. Some of the best places to start are Wefollow, Tweepz, Twellow, and Twitaholic.
5. Search location-based Twitter tools.
6. Monitor keywords.
Are there specific keywords that people you want to follow are likely to use in their tweets? If so, use a tool like Monitter.com to keep track of tweets published with those keywords in real-time. When someone uses your selected keywords in a tweet, check out his or her profile and determine if you want to follow him or her.
7. Search for hashtags.
If someone uses a hashtag in a tweet, they want other people to find it. Leverage those handy hashtags by searching for hashtags that the people you want to follow are likely to use. You can do this using the Advanced Twitter Search tool mentioned in #1 above, or you can use a tool like Hashtags.org to search for hashtags in real-time. Also, TweetChat is a tool used for people to follow and join tweet chats that use specific hashtags as identifiers. It’s another great place to find people to follow by searching for relevant hashtags and investigating the people who use them.
8. Use social media search tools.
There are several free social media search and insights tools where you can search by keyword and find people tweeting with that keyword. Both Topsy and SocialMention offer easy-to-use social search tools where you can find people tweeting about topics of interest to you and follow them on Twitter.
9. Search influencer ranking sites.
While no online influencer ranking site is perfect, they do offer opportunities to find people on Twitter who might already have the eyes and ears of the audience you want to connect with. These are also people you might want to follow so you can learn from them. Use tools like Klout, PeerIndex, and Followerwonk to search for influential people on Twitter.
10. Review aggregator and search tool listings.
Rather than searching for people, search for content that is likely published by the people you want to follow. For example, search Alltop and PopURLs to find RSS feeds that are relevant to you. Click on the links to interesting content, review the author’s bio, and if it includes a link to the writer’s Twitter profile (and you like the content), follow him or her. You can also use the Technorati blog search tool, the Google Blog Search tool, or a site like BlogRank to find blogs of interest to you. Once you find these blogs, you can check out the authors and determine if you’d like to follow any of them on Twitter.
And of course, as you travel across the web each day, always be on the lookout for people to follow on Twitter. These days, people usually have links to their social media profiles, including Twitter, published somewhere in their online bios or on their websites. They want you to follow them, so go ahead and do it.