Social media platforms offer tremendous opportunities for widening your horizons in ways that can ultimately benefit your business, organization or career.
One of the best ways to promote your brand online is by building a legion of brand ambassadors; friends who believe in what you’re doing and want to help you. Twitter is the ultimate tool for this because it allows you to easily connect with strangers who share your interests.
Someone who connects with you over a shared interest in knitting could become a dear friend who knows a potential client. So don’t write anyone off just because the value of the relationship isn’t immediately apparent. You can never have too many friends. You also just might be exposed to some information or that will enrich your life in other ways.
Here are a few guidelines I’ve developed for building a base of followers who are more likely to provide you with connections and information useful to your business, and who also have the potential to become brand ambassadors.
1 – Start with people you know
Once you’ve figured out who your desired Twitter friends are, start off by finding people you already know who fit that description and follow them. Then check out their followers. Clicking on those names will allow you to view each profile and decide whether or not you want to follow them.
2 – Have they filled out their profile?
A real human face for an avatar with a Twitter background that is customized is an immediate indication that the person isn’t just dabbling. Does their description give real information that fits with the kind of person you get along with? Are they linking to a credible website? Consider if this is someone you might want to associate with.
3 – Make sure they are tweeting regularly
Lots of people get Twitter accounts and then do little with them but subscribe to an auto-following service. These people aren’t likely to engage with or help you much.
4 – Look for those with a close follow/follower ratio
A close follow/follower ratio indicates a person that is likely to engage with others in his/her community and believes in reciprocity. A high follower/low following ratio indicates a person who may be less engaging and more about trying to impress. A low follower/high following ratio indicates a person who may not be sharing much useful or interesting content.
5 – A custom background indicates a Twitter commitment
Nothing says, “I’m not so sure about this Twitter thing” like a standard Twitter background. You want to follow people who can help you, so look for those who are likely to be around for a while. Twitter allows anyone to easily create a customized background for free. So there really isn’t any excuse for not doing it, unless you’re just “not so sure” about it.
6 – Check out their latest tweets.
I look for a good mix of tweets that offer links to useful info; look like part of a conversation; include the “RT” for retweet; and recommendations including the hashtags “#FF” ” or “#Follow”. Sometimes, when I’m in a hurry, I just look for those hashtags and the “RT”, because they immediately tell me that this person appreciates and promotes her friends on Twitter.
7 – Check out their lists
Another great resource for finding people to follow is the lists that people have made on Twitter. Lists are found on a person’s Twitter profile page. They offer a great way to peruse potential followers by category. You have the option of following the entire list (in which case the individuals will not appear in your Twitter stream and they will not be prompted to follow you back), or individual people you choose from the list.
8 – Follow back
Everyone has their own strategy for choosing who they will follow back. I personally, do not follow back everyone who follows me. When I check out a profile, I check it against the criteria mentioned above. However I believe in breaking the rules once in a while, so occasionally I’ll take a chance and follow someone who doesn’t seem to fit the ideal profile. A couple of great sites for helping you to manage your Twitter followers are: tweepi and refollow.
A previous version of this post was first shared on http://blog.cvent.com/blog/jenise-fryatt-bio/8-beginner-tips-for-choosing-who-to-follow-on-twitter