On the Art of Becoming “Someone” on Twitter

Twitter engagement https://alewebsocial.comA friend asked recently:

My boss is interested in generating interest via twitter. I’ve “searched” his name and character’s name and “followed” people who are tweeting good stuff about him. How do you get people to follow you? How do you become “someone” on twitter? Thanks for any help you can offer.

Do you have similar questions? You’ve created a Twitter account, tweeted a few times, followed some interesting folks, but still haven’t figured out how to gain a following.

The easy answer is “engage them.” But that probably doesn’t really answer your question. “Engage who? And how?” you might ask.

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you’ll know that I’m a fan of real, authentic engagement. So, you won’t find me “buying” followers, auto-responding, etc. While some of the links I share are pre-scheduled, they are created by me. Responses you get, you’re getting from me.

Now, I could sit in my office and wait for people to pass by (in my Twitter feed), and say “hi” as they march along. But that would become redundant and unfulfilling over time. Instead, I proactively strive to be useful to my followers. I go to where they are, rather than waiting passively for them to find me.

I once had a boss whom I loved. He didn’t just have an open door policy… He took it upon himself to take periodic breaks throughout his very long day and “wander among us.” He’d stick his head in at my door and ask how my day was going, if there was anything I needed to move forward on a project, etc. He wasn’t micro-managing. He was showing a genuine interest in me as a person and the work I was doing. As a result, he created a bond of loyalty that’s almost impossible to create in any other way.

So, how does this apply to building a Twitter following? Effectively using social media means applying the best leadership skills available; those that recognize people as individuals with unique interests, needs and skills. It means not only responding to people when you’re spoken to, but being willing to start conversations yourself and join conversations that are in progress already (if you have anything useful to add).

There are tools and techniques I use to make it easier to find those I want to build stronger bonds with, whether they are following me already or not. Here are just a few of them:

  • Participate in Tweetchats that catch your interest. Wouldn’t it be valuable to connect with others who share that interest? If you’re not familiar with Tweetchats, they are conversations that take place on Twitter, often at a specific time, using a given hashtag. (To learn more about hashtags, check out Hashtags Demystified.) Some of my favorites include #LeadChange, #LeadFromWithin, #BookPro, #SocMed and #SlumberParty.
  • Find the tools that work for you in filtering the information firehose that is Twitter. With over 2,000tps (tweets per second) going out on Twitter any given day, there’s just no way to take it all in. There are many tools out there to help you work your way through the fluff to the gems. A few of my favorites are Hootsuite, Bottlenose and InboxQ.
    • Hootsuite allows me to create Twitter streams filtered by those I follow or specific hashtags and keywords I’m interested in, as well as allowing me to post content to my own profiles immediately or on a schedule.
    • Bottlenose allows me to see which conversations my connections are currently engaged in. (It has a really neat sonar interface!)
    • InboxQ allows me to watch for people who are posting questions that I can answer. Thereby, allowing me to engage in conversations that may not even have gotten started yet!
  • Share relevant content with those that follow you. There are a few ways to find good content. You don’t have to create it all yourself. I use paper.li as a great way to curate relevant content from others, Twylah to share my own great content, and the bufferapp browser extension to share what I’m reading.
  • Use Twitter directories both to share about who you are, and to find people you may be interested in getting to know more. Some of the more popular are Twellow, WeFollow and TweetFind.

As you interact with people online that you like, follow them! If they enjoyed the conversation, they may follow you back. Keep in mind, as you strive to “be someone” on Twitter, that to be someone, you have to be real and authentic. Focus on growing relationships rather than making sales. As you do, you’ll find that sales come naturally as a result.


What are your favorite methods of growing your Twitter following? Please share them below!


  1. We know it’s the most time consuming of all ways, but we believe in good, old-fashioned conversations with other people. We read what they say, we retweet what we like, we ask questions, and we have conversations. 🙂

    • Tara Alemany says

      That’s the best way to do it! Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my post. 🙂

  2. Great post, Tara with lots of really workable advice. The focus on the chats is where I have attracted a quality following of followers with whom I communicate on twitter and when possible meet IRL. I was fortunate in my twitter beginnings that I encountered chats very early on and the first two were, #SmallBizchat and #Blogchat and that was three years ago and both are still going strong. I move around to different areas that interest me #Intdesignerchat for Architects & Interior Designers, #CXO relates to customer Service, #Bizforum and #Kaizenbiz are valuable for different aspects of running a business or company. #leadershipchat is one of several with Leadership focus. There are some valuable monthly chats that might get missed such as #futrchat and #ideachat.

    On another note I’d love some help with Bottlenose which I downloaded a couple of months ago or more but have never got into it. Currently I use Seesmic web and control several twitter accounts from the dashboard. I also am hoping to find a way of transporting some of my lists to Bottlenose, lists that I use in various panes on Seesmic. I suspect Bottlenose will go to the forefront as a twitter client especially knowing who the founder is.

    I enjoyed this post and look forward to being an ongoing reader.

    • Tara Alemany says

      Thanks for your wonderful additions to my Tweetchat suggestions. There are so many fun and enjoyable ones out there that it’s impossible to give a brief description of them all. There have been a few attempts at creating Tweetchat directories, but none that I’ve seen are complete. The one that seems most up-to-date though is by Gnosis Media Group (http://www.gnosisarts.com/home/Tweetchat_Wiki/By_Day). Mari Smith recommended that one to me.

      I’d love to speak further with you about Bottlenose. Since I’m a Hootsuite fan, I don’t use it so much to follow my lists as I do to identify the larger conversations my extended network is involved in. (In other words, I play with the sonar aspect mostly.) 🙂 Basically, I use it as my own personal Trending Topics finder for the people I’m connected to.

      If your Seesmic lists are actually Twitter lists, you can add them easily as streams in Bottlenose, and I can walk you through that process. I’ll follow up with you by e-mail.

      Once again, thanks for your valuable contribution to this topic! And thank you for being an enthusiastic reader.

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