It feels awkward and lonely. Like you have a phone but no one to call. The next step is to build up your social network on Twitter. To do so, you need to find people to follow.
Caution! Before you start following people,
make sure you’ve done the things DMS recommends!!!
At the very least:
- have a bio & a link to your site, blog, etc.
- upload a personalized avatar (preferably a photo of your beautiful self)
- post at least 10-15 tweets. See also this guide to getting started on Twitter
Now, you’re really ready. Let’s find those people.
What kind of people? Who should you follow?
You should follow people you have something in common with. I’ll take the example of a PR student. You want to follow PR pros, other PR students, PR profs, and if your hobby is… sand castles, sand castle enthusiasts.
The principle is simple: Find 2-3 people to follow. Then:
- Look at the list of people they follow. If the people you’re interested in are interested in these people, chances are you’re interested in them, too. Repeat the process. For every new person you follow, or who follows you, look at the list of people they follow.
- [update 10/31/2009: unfortunately, this tip is outdated. You can only see @replies if you follow both people in a conversation. As Twitter adds capacity, I hope they will revert to the old model, it was the best way of finding new people to follow, IMO] Make sure you choose, in your twitter settings, to see all @ replies. Notice who the people you identified in step 1 are conversing with. Check them out by clicking their username in the twitter conversation. See what they tweet about, read their bio, check out their blog, and if appropriate follow them. Then repeat Step 1: see who they follow.
- You probably read PR blogs. Most PR bloggers are on twitter, also. Look at their About or Contact pages, or look at the sidebars for twitter information. Look at their blogrolls to identify other PR blogs & bloggers. Then repeat step 1.
It will take you a few weeks to build your social network, but if you follow these steps, you can accumulate quite a lot of followers in a few days. Take it easy, don’t follow 70 new people every day, or they’ll think you’re a spammer. Attempt to find 5 new people to follow every day until you reach 50 or 100. Then your social network will grow naturally, you don’t have to try.
Now, if you’re in PR, the easiest thing to do it to go to PROpenMic (a social network for PR folk) and to find people there. Many people list their twitter username in their profiles.
So, let me get you started and ready for Step 1. Here is a list of some of the people I follow and I think you should, too, if you’re in PR. It’s not a comprehensive list and it’s not a TOP.. anything list. Just a list:
- @vargasl – PR pro & educator
- @kamichat – PR pro, San Antonio
- @TDefren – PR pro, see also Shift Communications
- @paullyoung, @cbasturea, @mariagarcia– PR pros, @Converseon (social media PR agency, NYC)
- @KarenRussell, @kaye – PR profs, UGA
- @shel – Shel Holtz, author of a number of books you should read
- @shelisrael – co-author of Naked Conversations, another book you have to read!
- @GeoffLiving – principal, Livingston Communications
- @rdfrench – pioneering social media & PR educator, founder of PROpenMic
- @BarbaraNixon – PR educator
- @zappos – Zappos.com CEO
- @Pistachio – twitter PR consultant
- [update, Nov. 12] – can’t believe I left @prblog off the list – check out the Bad Pitch Blog!
- @CherylHarrison, @Tiffany08, @brysonyoung, @esande, @amandaj08, @liz126, @Debalobo, @Tolu – PR students
- follow a couple of corporate/organizational accounts so you see how they use twitter: @Starbucks, @TheHomeDepot, @comcastcares, @BarackObama, @TheWhiteHouse – fing a LONG list of brands on twitter here
- you should be reading these people’s blogs, too, if you’re not already!
And since you won’t find me on any of these lists, I’m @prprof_mv.
Happy & safe tweeting!
If you’re a seasoned twitter user and want to help out, write your advice and/or twitter username in the comments.