Circles of influence: How to find followers and make friends on Twitter and LinkedIn



Finding followers. It’s one of the most important steps when raising your profile on social media. No surprises there. No surprises either that when people get started on Twitter, one of the first questions is, “who should I follow,” quickly succeeded by “and how do I make them follow me back?”.


The simplest answer is to begin with people that you already know. Don’t, as some people do, send your first tweet to @richardbranson and immediately expect an afternoon of light-hearted banter about the origins of Tubular Bells, circumnavigating the globe in a hot air balloon, and the quality of the welcome pack in Virgin Upper Class. It won’t happen.


Instead, take a look around you. Who in your office and in your wider company is already active on Twitter? Many companies have compiled lists of employees with active professional profiles. A quick search, using the ‘near you’ filter on Twitter will help you quickly find colleagues to connect with. Your marketing department should be on the case too with ways to join the company Twitter community (if they aren’t, come and talk to me immediately!).


You get out what you put in


It’s a similar story on LinkedIn, where it’s even easier to start building your network. Using the search function, you can filter by (your) company, location and degree of separation. If you start with your company, location, and set to second degree of separation, you should get a significant list of people in your company, nearby, that you can start connecting with.


In the case of both Twitter and LinkedIn, the more you connect with people in your own business, the more likely you are to be recommended to your colleagues in the ‘who to follow’ menu that crops in the sidebar on your desktop and your home feed on your mobile device. That’s also why it makes sense to mention your company’s Twitter/LinkedIn handle in your bio, and add about three hashtags (Twitter) that include your professional areas of interest and expertise.


Then it’s simply a question of discipline. You should aim to follow at least 10 new accounts every day, starting with the recommendations mentioned above. To increase the chances of being followed back, show some social love by sharing posts from your new connection’s timeline, or replying to their message. ‘Liking’ is also an option, but this is a ‘light touch’ engagement that is less likely to attract a response.


Starting local also means that you are more likely to get into an online conversation. Your colleagues are more likely to share your posts as well. Then it’s a question of moving out through a series of concentric circles (see the diagram below). Search for common terms in your industry. I’m constantly looking out for ‘content marketing’ experts near to me, and further afield. I’ll use both the full phrase and the hashtag as well, to shake all the relevant accounts.



Following the follower drill


In addition, I make time to add the relevant people to a list, if I’m on Twitter, which is another way of calling attention to your professional skill set. From then on, it’s a question of ‘rinse and repeat’. Alongside a steady mix of posts that combine original ideas, articles and shares, the follower drill will get you noticed by your fellow experts, and, just as importantly, by social algorithms that acquire a strong sense of your professional profile.


This approach will also enable you to connect with other useful accounts beyond your own company including industry experts, media, business partners, existing clients – and potential new leads. That’s where it starts getting interesting of course! But it also requires specialist coaching to ensure that you find and engage with these leads in a way that maximises the likelihood of conversions. And that’s where I can help.


If you’d like to find out how I help you grow your followers quickly on social, share killer content, and uncover lucrative new business leads, then get in touch today.


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© 2020 Peter Springett.