One of the benefits to spending time on Twitter is that it's a great way to network.  But if you are new to Twitter, it can seem difficult to find people that are in your industry or that share your interests.  Here are some tips to help get you started meeting new friends on Twitter!

Al left a comment to my post on Monday that I'm sure many of you that are new to Twitter can sympathize with:

"Okay, I got an account on Twitter and I've hit a blank wall, literally. I can't seem to get out of my little box. Perhaps Direct is having the same problem.

There doesn't seem to be any way to "find" anyone unless you already know them from somewhere else. How do you make new acquaintances with similar interests? What's the point in marketing via Twitter if you can't figure out how to get heard?"

This is a real concern, but thankfully there are several resources that can help you expand your network of friends on Twitter.

First, start on Twitter itself.  At the top right of your Twitter homepage you will see a "Find People" link that takes you to a search box that lets you not only search for people, but also by location or any other term that might be in their Twitter profile.  If you are looking for other Twitter members in Ohio, search for Ohio, and Twitter will give you a listing of all the members that have their location identified as being 'Ohio'.  Or you can search for anyone with 'search marketing' in their profile, or 'social media', or any other term you can think of.

Another great way to find people that share your interests is with the Twitter Packs wiki.  Here you can find Twitter users by subject matter, you can find companies that have a presence on Twitter, and even locate people by region.  If you are interested in meeting other Twitter members that focus on Technology, for example, you can view the list, and even add yourself to this same list so that other members can find you!

My favorite search tool for Twitter is Tweetscan.  With Tweetscan, you can search for topics, people, places, anything.  You can also search and make sure that you have seen all the replies to you that other Twitter members have left.  Just search for '@YourTwitterName'.  Sometimes the web version of Twitter as well as Twhirl will miss some of your replies.

But perhaps the best way to meet new people on Twitter is to follow the people that your friends are following.  Watch the conversations unfolding, and if you see one of your friends is having an interesting conversation and replying to someone that you aren't following, then click on that person's name and check out their Twitter page.  It could be that they are someone that you would like to follow. 

With these tools, you should be able to expand your Twitter network significantly.  And the best part is, your Twitter experience becomes much richer and more rewarding as you follow more people.

You may also like these Twitter articles...

Getting Started on Twitter with a Realistic Timeline

All Links Are Not Equal: Why Twitter Links Grow Conversation

10 Search Engines Powered by Twitter




Mack Collier is a social media consultant, trainer and speaker. He has been actively immersed in social media since 2005, and in that time, has helped advise, teach and consult with businesses of all shapes and sizes on how they can better connect with their customers via these amazing tools and sites. While being passionate about the social media space, what truly excites Mack is the human connections that can result from the proper use of these social tools. His motto is "Don't focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate." His goal is to help his clients create those connections with their customers, and nuture them into relationships that help grow their bottom line.

His social media 'homebase' is The Viral Garden, which in 3 years time Mack has grown into an influential marketing/social media blog with a monthly readership of over 175,000. He is also a frequent contributor to the website Marketing Profs, as well as the marketing blog Daily Fix, and small business blog Search Engine Guide. His writings have been referenced in several mainstream publications and websites, including The Washington Post, MSNBC.com, Ad Age, CNET, and The Boston Globe.

Mack is also a requested speaker and has presented at some of the top social media conferences and events, including South By Southwest Interactive, Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer, and Small Business Marketing Unleashed. He is also passionate about teaching companies how to use social media sites and tools more effectively, and offers training and seminars privately to companies, in addition to his public speaking schedule.

You can learn more information about Mack's social media training and consulting services here. If you need a social media speaker for your event, or want to know where Mack will be speaking next, click here. If you want to email Mack, click here.

Mack wrote this bio. The third-person thingie is just for fun.






Comments(44)

This is what I have been looking since very long time, have just updated my followers in Twitter regarding your post. I guess they will find it useful too. How will you know me? I am http://twitter.com/merkal2005

Great post, Mack. Thanks. I'll try those ideas.

Now on to the really tough questions:

What's a "tweet"?
Are there any other new words we have to learn?

Also another resource, the Twitter page for Small Business Marketing Unleashed:
http://twitter.com/sbmunleashed

Many of the speakers and attendees from SBMU are on that page, you can follow us, and you can follow me at http://www.twitter.com/MackCollier

Al a 'tweet' is simply a message you leave on Twitter. And make sure that if you want to reply to someone, or address them directly, add the '@' in front of their name, so they will see it.

Nice piece Mack. Can't forget about http://summize.com/ though. It's a great way to find tweeters by topic. Search "SEO" and you'll find me ;)

Mack,

Great advice to the new Twitter user. I'll follow it up with this: If you're brand new, please don't follow hundreds, or even thousands, of people right off the bat. The Twitter community finds it suspicious, akin to spammer behaviour. So instead, update consistently for a while, @ people in conversations and grow your follow/following lists at a reasonable pace.

When you've got a handle on that, you can try this tool for suggestions on who to follow:
http://whoshouldifollow.com/

If you're interested in following the heavy-hitters on Twitter, you can consult:
http://twitter.alltop.com/
http://tweeterboard.com/top-100
http://www.twitterholic.com/

Good luck and welcome to Twitter!
@adelemcalear

And you can follow Melanie on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/status_girl

Great post, Mack. Wish I had this advice when I first started out.

One other thing that I find helpful when looking for like-minded folks is using tracking words in SMS or IM (I use GTalk). More info here: http://help.twitter.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=79

Neelie and Adele thanks for the great links! BTW guys remember what I have posted previously about thinking of your blog as being co-created content? The links from Melanie, Adele and Neelie are just as, if not more valuable than the ones in my post. Thanks again guys for helping out, like Neelie said, wish I'd had more links like this when I joined Twitter!

Thanks Mack, and everyone else.

I'm still a bit skeptical, but I'm really curious about this as well. This should give me a way through. Cheers!

"I'm still a bit skeptical, but I'm really curious about this as well."

That is the EXACT mentality to have! There's a new 'shiny new toy' popping up every week it seems in the Web 2.0 space. Be skeptical of the endless hype around the 'hot new thing', but at the same time, don't forget to learn about these tools and what they can do before you dismiss them. This is a lesson I have to remind myself of as well!

If you're looking to target folks in a certain Geographic area - try this tool: Twittermap.com. If you set your location in Twitter to your target location (just tweet "L: city, state" then open TwitterMap.com - you'll see location of Tweeple in the area and the public feed of every tweet happening in that location. Very neat for building a "local network" of Twitterers.

A great way to find people with similar interests is via FriendFeed. They have a good search facility so hunt down some people who comment on areas that interest you then look at their profiles to find their twitter username.

Well, I guess I'm missing out on a lot. I've been only following people that I know based on their avatars and names. Most of them are people I know from blogging or other social sites but I never really looked into searching for people with similar interests.

So, when do you STOP following them? Like if someone drops links all the time and that's it, do you take them off then?

Jay

"So, when do you STOP following them? Like if someone drops links all the time and that's it, do you take them off then?"

Jay great question, but it's one that only you can answer. My only criteria for following someone is that I receive value from them. It could be via conversation, or it could be because of the links they post.

Another example, when I really ramped up my Twitter usage late last year, I added every 'thought leader' I could find in the social media space. Many of these people began following me as well, but some didn't. I kept following these people because I wanted to know what they were up to. But as the number of people I was following went from 100 or so to now around 800, I found that I no longer have 'room' to follow people that aren't following me and that never 'talk' to me on Twitter. So I started unfollowing these people, to make room for people that WILL follow me and that I can talk to.

But I think we all develop a system for how we get(and GIVE) the most value out of Twitter as we use it more.

In my case, I always try to read the updates of the people I follow and see if they have replied to some updates..I then checked out the persons they replied to..if I find a common interest with them I follow them around..^^

Anyways these are great ways on how to look for people to follow on Twitter.

Twitter is a human feed thus RSS+human+chat. It's a very unique & new tool. One I believe is changing the average person into understanding RSS... without using the awful techie word RSS! I call it: RTS=Real Twitter Syndication. Thus, the way to *friend* on Twitter depends on *why* you are using Twitter. And that will vary by each Twitterer! Thus, it truly is about the power of *one.* Have a great time at Twitter and, as Mack says, just like any social site, you will get more value the more you use it.

Great post. And great blog! keep it up, and thanks for the great advice!

The twitter search feature dosent work for me....any idea why tht happens??...it says we are working on it...sorry for the inconvenience :(

@Mack

So, with all this chatting on Twitter (and God knows how many other social media sites), when do you find time to work? I for one don't make any money unless I'm editing or selling eBooks; and editing takes up most of that time. When I'm chasing around on Twitter, MySpace, et al I'm not making any money (even though I do like to chat with other people, but that got me fired from one job a while back for good a sufficient reason).

"So, with all this chatting on Twitter (and God knows how many other social media sites), when do you find time to work? I for one don't make any money unless I'm editing or selling eBooks; and editing takes up most of that time. When I'm chasing around on Twitter, MySpace, et al I'm not making any money (even though I do like to chat with other people, but that got me fired from one job a while back for good a sufficient reason)."

Al this is a GREAT question because there has to be a balance. I think my situation is a bit different because I am a social media consultant, and I need to stay active with as many of these sites and tools as possible. And doing so is a great way for me to stay connected, and also establish my knowledge of this space.

But for a small business or soloprenuer, your situation can be a bit different. One thing I would do is start paying close attention to where your site's traffic is coming from. If you aren't already, starting using Google Analytics, which is free. This will tell you where your traffic is coming from now, and can help you determine how successful your efforts are in reaching and building awareness via different social media sites.

For example, Twitter and Plurk are the top two traffic drivers to my blog. So naturally, I spend a lot of time there connecting with my blog's readers, especially on Twitter. I have tried to use Facebook and LinkedIn as ways to connect with readers and potential clients, and for me, neither of these sites have been as effective. So I have budgeted my time accordingly.

There's simply TOO MANY tools/social sites to use them all. You simply can't do it. I think the best plan is to pick 2-3 sites that work well for you, and budget your available time among those.

Thanks, Mack.

Google Analytics is okay, but I've always been frustrated by the inability to track a visitor's path through a site.

I finally stumbled on Stat Counter http://www.statcounter.com/ which is free if you can deal with only 500 of the latest entries. If you need more information, you can send them a few bucks and they'll give you more room.

Like Google, you just put some code in the body of each page, in the same place you put the Google code. You can also download a piece of code onto your desktop so it will ignore you when you crash through your site and/or teach it to ignore individual IP addresses (which can be annoying if your ISP changes your IP every time you reboot your modem).

Just so everyone knows, they disabled the "search" option for Twitter. They gave a pretty lame excuse to, but I can't remember what it is. That pretty much did it for me though! Unless something else comes up I won't be using Twitter if you have to make it a big huge project just to find people.

Yea, i was trying to figure out how to search for people...now you can only search content in tweets. This defintely has soured me on Twitter...its like some online game where you have to try to figure everythig out through collaboration. Whihc is fine if you have tons of free time....but will prevent it from becoimming a more mainstream media/network.

Thanks for the Tweetscan link! I'd been looking for a search tool like that, but hadn't found a good one yet. I think I like this one, though--seems quite helpful. Good stuff.

Hi Mack,
Your article helped me articulate a big question I have about twittering and social media in general. I have a new Ecommerce toy business and of course, I'm looking for customers. So if I twitter about any difficulties I'm having with aspects of my business, the world will know about it. That's probably not a good thing. So far, most of my twitter friends are in the social networking business. But are they the customers I'm looking for? Yes, it's great to have friends in general, but I've got to use my time wisely. So what should I be twittering about? And who should I seek out?

@Linda
If you sell toys retail, you twitter to anyone who has kids, or grandkids, neices, nephews, etc. In other words -- EVERYONE. Twitter to kids (they can nag their parents).

If you sell wholesale, you sell to retailers.

You actually have it easier than we do, since our current heartburn is finding manuscripts that are good enough to publish. We have only a few books (very good works) now on the site. Only after we have a good selection can we start marketing to everyone who reads.

Linda I think that Al gave you some good advice. Something else, you mentioned following a lot of people that are interested in social networking. While they might not be your customers, you could still engage them by discussing how you are using social media to promote your business, and ask for their advice on how you should tailor your SM efforts to reach your customers. This could also lead to some of them wanting to feature you on their blog, I often blog about blogging businesses I meet, either on blogs, or Twitter.

Good luck!

Al and Mack, thanks a lot! You've set me on the right path. Now all I need to do is schedule the time.

Hello Mack,

Unfortunately I'm still stuck at square 1. I'm exactly like your original question, I signed up and hit a wall. You said there should be a search window but I don't have that on my home page. The upper right hand side of my screen has links for "Home Profile Find People Settings Help Sign out". 'Find People' is a bust b/c all it seems to be able to do is look for people if I insert their email address. It doesn't allow me to search by state or topic or interest or anything. What am I missing?

Gail for some reason, Twitter has the Search function stuck at the very BOTTOM of the page where no one can find it ;)

Here it is: http://search.twitter.com/

hello mack,
i am a new user to twitter,i just find it difficult to find the frnds in the twitter
but i am really interested in making out frnds here so i am in a mess
but ur info is of great help to me
thanx a lot man
u r rocking

regards
aarthabenn
www.truehotdeals.com

I do not seem to have a search box in the upper right on my Twitter page. I'm really frustrated by not being able to find people by location or interest. For example, how do I find people who are other writers? I want to use Twitter more, but I'm finding it really user-unfriendly.

Rachael,
I had the exact same feeling!! I Googled around and FINALLY found a site that said the "search" tool on Twitter has been disabled so try search.twitter.com.
Good luck!

@ Rachael and Gail.

The search function is hidden in the bar at the bottom of the page as mentioned in Mack's post just above yours.

I'm sorry, I'm far from blog-savvy so I didn't notice Mack's post. Thanks!

You can find people on twitter by using SocialShake.com There you can search for people on social networks including twitter for free with their free people search.

Hi Mack, thanks for the info! I just joined twitter to follow a few friends and incorporate with my blog, but it seems to be really hard to meet new Twitter users except for people in my e-mail contacts!
The Tweetscan link is really helpful, but even so... I'm not quite sure how to start talking to people just based on one tweet!?
Any more advice?
Kind regards,
AJ

Most people use twitter as a marketing tool, but that's wrong. It's a communication tool that allows us to interact with like minded people, and perfect to network and build powerful joint ventures.

Next to a couple of tools mentioned in this article, I've also started using tweepz (http://www.tweepz.com) last week. Not everybody on twitter is included, but they are growing pretty fast.

Thanks for a great article; I'm on a quest to make twitter work for me with the minimum of time at the moment. I find the whole thing quite overwhelming, but understand it is a useful tool when I can figure out how to use it without it taking over my life!

I have installed tweetdesk, which has revolutionised the way I can use twitter and dramatically cuts down my usage (and missing tweets!)

Tweetscan sounds great; I'm off to check that out now.

Thanks again for an informative and empowering article :)

Cheers for that post. I've been struggling myself with that exact problem. I'm off to tweetscan...

Well Mack, I just discover a new engine from twitter fan wiki, utwitbook.com, the UI is better than Tweetscan or tweepz, I think. There's also a very interesting feature I never met on other site, design color search, e.g. you can find the people with a red style background or sidebar, I don't know why I need this feature, just cool

I just have made 3 searches at Tweetscan for the following terms:

printed balloons
balloon decorator
latex balloons

and it returned... nothing!

Also the TwitterPacks have nothing about the single word 'balloon'.

Tweetscan and TwitterPacks are just a couple of useless 'tools'...

Blahhhh!

Great great post Mack! If your trying to find people you already connect and you use LinkedIn, Facebook or even myspace- post your full twitter link as your status update here and there. If your not getting results send out an email. An awesome tool I've been using to keep my social networking manageable is using "TweetDeck" http://www.tweetdeck.com/

Best of luck!

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