On Twitter, you need to follow people in order to have a community of people to engage (this is almost opposite to Facebook where you need to share content and information about yourself for your community to grow).
Truthfully at the start on Twitter, no one you talk to will really be your friend (all your real-life friends, who you’ve connected with on Facebook aren’t likely on Twitter). So the value in Twitter is really in networking and socializing with your professional peer group and people who you don’t know yet, but who share your passions in life for sports, arts, dining, clothes, crafts, and more.
The more specific you can be about exactly who you are & what you are passionate about enough to invest your time & money and passion into, the more easily you’ll find people just like you, around the world. These are the people who can tell you the most about Twitter and your industry, introduce you to key people (on Twitter) and keep you motivated when you need support.
Start by making a list, as specific as possible of:
– all businesses and people who own/run work at businesses that are similar to yours
– every CEO, CFO, C-Suite and sales person of your direct competitors
– all the news & entertainment media channels and brands that touch on your industry, and their editors and journalists, the personalities, stars and even fictional characters
– any journalists whose articles you consistently enjoy and any book authors you enjoy
– any and all politicians and lobbyists who you support, and those who impact your business or industry
– every client you have, or would like to, and the people they converse with
– all your past clients
– all your past employers and employees
– anyone in any title/position that you think you might need to hire at some point in the future
– anyone who is talking about your brand, business or product/service (especially customers)
How to find people the people you want to follow on Twitter
Search for them by name, or by keyword, then follow everyone who’s Twitter bio includes the keywords you searched for and anyone who’s tweets (active conversations, right now) include the keywords you searched for.
How many people should you follow?
Twitter will only allow you to follow 2,000 accounts until you have nearly 2,000 people following you back, and after that you are only allowed to follow a ratio of 1.1 for every 1 who follows you (1.1 to 1).
It can take a LONG time to get to 2,000 followers on your account, so at the start, although you want to maximize new followers and potential customers, try to limit yourself to 1500 new accounts you follow. This way, as your following grows you’ll still have a few hundred new people available to follow at conferences and individually, so you can easily follow new people without having to dump previous people. I made this mistake when I started my @Sparkle_Agency account in April 2011, following 2,000 people right away and its just now getting close to 2,000 followers after 15 months of tweeting 1,000-1,500 tweets per month.
Why follow 1,500 people in the first 48 hours of your account?
I think its important to have an audience for your tweets right away, and every time you follow someone on Twitter (if they haven’t changed the default option), Twitter sends them an email introducing you. In my experience, when I follow people who are relevant to my business or conversation, I usually have 25% of the number of people I have followed following me back within a few weeks.
As I mentioned previously, on Twitter, you need to follow people in order to have a community of people to engage (people who are following you back), so that even your early Tweets have a chance to be retweeted and shared to a larger audience.
Since you’ll not only be posting links & updates to your Twitter, you’ll also be having @name conversations with individuals, your past Tweets are less likely to be seen than past Facebook updates (on Facebook people frequently scroll and see your history).