Finding Quality Users To Follow On Twitter When You Can’t Trust Your Twitter Friends

June 4th, 2012 by

Whether you’re just starting out on Twitter, or are a seasoned user looking for some new influencers its easy to want to look to the people we know for people to follow.  After all, that’s one of the big draws of social media isn’t it?  The ability to gain influence and insight from the people we trust?  But unfortunately with the advent of auto-follow the quality of those your friend is following can be decieving.

I’ve mentioned in the past that, while it can be overwhelming at times, I still manually review every follower notification I receive on Twitter.  Each day I’ll get a number of emails like the one below that feature another Twitter follower that I may or may not be interested in following.

A Twitter Follower Notification Email

At the bottom of the email Twitter tries to build some credibility for the user by displaying people you follow that also follow the user.  I used to put some weight into this list, but over time I’ve noticed that thanks to our good friend the auto follower, my trusted friends aren’t really of much help.  In this particular case eight people seem to really be digging on this eBay store.

Hmm, further research reveals that the site blasts a large number of tweets each hour showcasing some of its fine eBay auctions.  Not exactly fodder that most of the folks I follow would eat up.  Yet even Mari Smith is following this gem of an account.  Luckily I know Mari utilizes an auto follow tool, or I might suspect she fancy’s vintage pinup fashion.  Needless to say, I’m not going to be able to trust my social friends on this one.

Don’t Take All Follows at Face Value

When it comes to following users back, or even researching new people to follow do your due diligence.  I personally have a set criteria every person I follow must pass before I follow them:

  1. Do they have a profile photo? If not there’s no way I am following them
  2. Do they have a bio? If not, no go. If they do does it appeal to me?
  3. What’s their tweet to follower to following ratio?  2 tweets, 46 followers and following 999? Something’s fishy. You better sell me pretty damn good in those two tweets to score a follow.
  4. What are they tweeting? Do they use a #hash #tag on every other word or in every tweet? Nothing screams spammer like the over utilization of the hashtag.

If they pass those core elements its time to skim their tweets and learn a bit more about the user.  Are they tweeting content that will actually interest you and resonate, or is it all tweets about their eating schedule and bowel movements?

Twitter’s timeline can get crowded quickly.  Even with hand picking who I follow I’m up to over 1600 people and I guarantee you I miss most of their content.  If you want to cut down the noise do your part to follow only those who you feel will actually have an influence on you.

Ways to Find Quality People to Follow

  • Look at the people your friends engage with most – Who are they retweeting or conversing with most?  Chances are these are the users who are most influential in their stream.
  • Explore Twitter Lists – While I never personally got into the lists game I know they can be a great resource for finding like minds. Visit profiles of users who influence you and explore lists they are featured on.
  • Look for curated lists on industry blogs – Most industries I play in have had a member of their community write up a nice list of influential users in their marketplace. Here are a couple for the realms I play in:
  • Klout – While many question its value, it still is a great way to at least discover people that might actually be topically relevant to your interests.  That being said, the quality of those users can be questionable depending on niche, as displayed in my Top 10 Plastic Surgery Social Media Influencers According to Klout post
  • Who To Follow – A native feature in Twitter, this can be a great resource once you’ve built up a decent group of people you’ve followed.  Again, do your due diligence though and verify they are actually a user who is going to satisfy your twitter needs.
  • Follow Friday, #FF – Though greatly ignored personally, many users I have talk to still value the Follow Friday trend, especially when users give good testament as to why you should follow.  SpinSucks does really cool #FollowFriday blog posts that gives in depth reasons to follow various people on Twitter.
  • Twitter Directories – Twellow.com, WeFollow.com, Twibs.com, and justtweetit.com are just a few of the many sites out there than can help you take an old school approach to finding influential people to follow.

So now that you know you can’t trust your Twitter friends, its time to do your part to make sure you are following the best and the brightest Twitter has to offer.  Do you have your own techniques for finding new people to follow on Twitter? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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