Did you know that figuring out who to follow on Twitter can boost your own business’s following on the social media platform? It’s true. And this guide will show you how to grow your social media presence and build a larger Twitter following by actively finding and engaging with other accounts.
Brand accounts form symbiotic relationships with their fans and other professional accounts across the network. Fans follow brands to learn more about their products and potential deals, while brands keep an eye on the needs and desires of their customers.
If you’re having a hard time growing your brand on Twitter, you may need to follow more accounts or different ones.
We’ll review how you can find new Twitter accounts and sort valuable customers and fans from noisy accounts that will distract you from your target audience.
You don’t need a large pool of resources or hours of your time to grow your Twitter presence. All you need is a strategic plan and a few minutes each day to commit to growth.
Related: How to use Twitter for business
Why Twitter is an essential business research tool
You may consider Twitter to be a platform where you can broadcast your message, but it is equally valuable as a listening tool. Twitter can help you find answers and understand how different groups feel about topics, events, etc. — giving you the ability to read an audience’s pulse.
The Super Bowl is a fantastic example of brands using Twitter as a listening tool. Advertisers spend millions of dollars on commercials with most trying to use humor to get customers talking. If the commercial falls flat, then that brand will get immediate backlash on Twitter. Even worse, it’s possible that the ad is forgettable and not even discussed on the platform.
Every year, Twitter announces the “Brand Bowl” champions, or the ads that drove the most discussion. Twitter awards commercials that drive the most discussion (the highest number of Tweets) and the ads have the most positive reaction from fans.
These are all metrics that companies use to derive whether their campaign was a success and what customers really thought of their creative content.
Fortunately, you don’t have to invest in a Super Bowl ad to derive value from Twitter as a research tool. You can track particular terms to better understand how customers feel and their pain points around your industry.
You can learn what people think of your competitors. Most importantly, you can learn what they think about you.
Tracking customer reactions and emotions on Twitter can guide your general marketing strategy along with your reactions during a crisis.
Editor’s note: Need help managing your social media presence? GoDaddy Social has you covered. These experts can help you turn an online interaction into a lifelong customer.
Deciding who to follow on Twitter
As you look for accounts to start following on Twitter, you will likely come across people who fall into one of four categories: customers, competitors, aspirational accounts and fans.
Each of these categories plays a key role in your Twitter feed and social media environment. Get to know them to better understand the value they provide.
Who are my customers?
The first group of people you need to follow on Twitter are your customers. This includes members of your target audience who may potentially buy your products, as well as those who already do.
This customer-follow strategy can be incredibly broad (e.g. following anyone between the ages of 21 and 35) or targeted (e.g. following accounts with people asking for tax advice).
Following potential customers makes people more aware that your brand exists, but also lets you tap into your audience base.
You can use Twitter as a form of market research to better understand the people buying from you.
Who is my competition?
Following your competitors is an important part of Twitter account management. You have a free pass to peek into their brand choices and content strategy. Learn how their marketing differs from yours and any advantages they might have over you.
There’s an added benefit to following your competitors on Twitter: the social media platform may recommend your brand as a suggested account for their customers to follow.
You could notice a bump in your followers if your products are similar.
Who do I want to be like?
Twitter is an incredibly creative place and you can find inspiration everywhere. Look up companies that aren’t direct competitors but post content that you enjoy.
You can also follow influencers, celebrities and personal accounts that you enjoy. Like tweets that inspire you and save them to reference later.
Who likes what I do?
The final group of people to follow on Twitter are your fans. These are people who like what you do, whether they are interested in your brand or your content. For example, you might develop a following in your industry if you regularly post insightful blog content.
These accounts are people who aren’t your customers, and they may never become customers, but they will still serve as brand ambassadors and like your Tweets — boosting your exposure to your actual customers. They may also recommend your business to their friends who do need your services.
How to choose the right Twitter accounts to follow
Building a list of Twitter accounts to follow doesn’t need to be a laborious process. Set aside five minutes each day to add a few new people and engage with your new followers.
By taking small steps regularly, you can grow your following in a sustainable way and have authentic conversations with fans and potential customers.
Consider businesses similar to yours
A great place to start as you work to grow your following is businesses similar to yours. Remember the list of competitors you made earlier? Look at their followers and find people who actively engage with their brand.
If you pick a new competitor each day to analyze you can find accounts with interest in your industry, products or services.
Alongside your direct competitors, you can also follow tangential businesses. For example, the managers behind Marriott’s Twitter account could engage with top fans from Delta, American Airlines and Southwest.
These airlines aren’t direct competitors but attract people who are likely in need of hotel rooms, which can be provided by Marriott. Brands like TripAdvisor and TourRadar can also follow highly engaged airline customers to encourage travelers to book excursions and trips.
These are companies satisfying needs that align with your business offerings. You can also utilize Twitter Lists to organize brands by industry and service type — and whether they are direct competitors.
Use hashtag searches
If you are looking for a guided discussion to track and want to engage with customers who are already talking about a specific topic, consider using a hashtag search to find new followers and narrow the field of people out there.
For example, #Edchat is a weekly Twitter chat for educators to ask questions and discuss certain ideas about students and teaching models. It has spawned various other hashtags related to niche states and teaching specialties.
If you manage an EdTech social media account and are hoping to reach educators, this is a great place to start. You can find influencers who lead the discussions and connect with their followers, along with smaller accounts by teachers who are looking for help in the classroom.
As you search for hashtags, make sure you are using tags that people actually use. RiteTag will recommend popular hashtags related to a specific topic or even image. Hashtagify is another search tool to consider.
You can search for a specific topic and it will show other popular tags and accounts using the term you input.
As you can see from the screenshot below, an alternative tag to #smm (social media marketing) is just #socialmedia or #digitalmarketing.
If you are having trouble finding new accounts with the hashtags you use, consider using these tools to discover new discussion hubs and the people who use them.
Pro tip: Find an event with a hashtag and follow the people Tweeting about it. For example, a B2B company could follow the tag for an industry conference. A winery could follow #metgala to find people who care about fashion and other high-class items that match their brand. You can also sponsor posts with these hashtags to reach people who are using them.
Utilize the advanced search feature
As you start to review various hashtags, you may realize that you need to narrow your results to find accounts that are relevant to your brand. This is particularly true of local businesses, who don’t need to follow people from across the country.
This is where Twitter’s Advanced Search comes in.
With the Advanced Search feature, you can limit tweets by date and the amount of engagement. You can also include multiple keywords that would go together in relation to a certain idea, or you could filter by users who follow existing accounts and choose whether you want to see replies or not.
For example, you can set up a filter to only show people who follow a competitor who tweeted about a specific topic in the past month. You can also exclude words that would be confusing or irrelevant but might still show up.
You don’t have to worry about sorting through unnecessary Tweets or unwanted accounts.
Leverage Twitter’s suggested accounts feature
Earlier in the article, we mentioned the suggested accounts section on Twitter. This is the “Who to Follow” box that appears for most users on the desktop and is occasionally used within the app.
Twitter developed this box to help you discover additional accounts based on your interests.
The idea is simple: the more people a user follows, the likelier they are to find content that they like. The more engaging and fun Twitter seems, the more time a user will spend there. This means they see more ads and are more likely to drive revenue to the social channel.
As a brand, you can use the “Who to Follow” box to discover new accounts that are relevant to your brand or your target audience.
Even the busiest social media manager can click on the two or three accounts provided and see if they are relevant. All you need is 30 seconds each time you log into Twitter.
This feature learns the more you engage with it. When you first create a Twitter account, the box might suggest names like Justin Bieber and Kanye West. This is because those are some of the most popular accounts on the social network.
However, as Twitter better understands your niche through your Tweets and the accounts you follow, it will get better at making relevant suggestions and recommendations.
Commit to following new people each day
This guide provided several options for discovering new Twitter accounts worth following to grow your brand’s Twitter presence. By increasing the accounts you follow on Twitter, you’ll likely also increase your own following.
However, you want to make sure each account you follow brings something to the table: they are a potential customer, they are a brand ambassador, they are a competitor, or they are a brand you admire. This way you will follow accounts that you want to engage with and find people who want to engage with you.
Set an alarm or a calendar reminder on your computer. Challenge yourself to spend five minutes every day growing your Twitter presence. If you follow these steps in small doses, you won’t feel overwhelmed by the challenge of growing your follower count.
On a final note, track your growth each month. Make a note of how many new followers you acquire, and which percentage of followers are high-quality. Track the percentage of accounts that follow you back after you initially follow them. This will help you monitor your growth and the success of your following efforts.
You can have a Twitter account that is as strong as your competitors, you just have to create a strategic plan for growing it.