When starting out on Twitter, it’s difficult to cut through the noise to find your unique audience. Looking through a brand’s “following” list you’ll find a lot of the same accounts—@BarackObama, @NYTimes, @Mashable—but are those tweets truly providing value to your social efforts?
When searching for niche audiences, here are some helpful (and mostly free) tools to build your following, find relevant conversations and be more successful at Twitter:
Twitter search bar
Since starting in 2006, the Twitter search bar has evolved into a helpful research tool. Now allowing for general keyword search as opposed to only hashtags, you can add a combination of keywords that fits your business and find top tweets and accounts that match. Get creative with the keywords you use. For example, instead of searching “leadership” type in “succession planning” or “leadership training” to receive more accurate results. Don’t forget the Advanced Search option as well, where you can add negative keywords/phrases, locations, language, account mentions, date range and positive or negative tone.
Topsy is also a valuable tool for you to search for keywords within a tweet. It also allows you to see tweet volume in the past 30 days to better judge what keywords are commonly used.
Influencers and their followers
Without paying for a tool, searching for followers of influencers can be time consuming. We recommend the Moz platform, Followerwonk, which allows you to search for specific users based on keywords in their bio or Twitter profiles. With this information, you can sort based on social authority, select the best results and analyze their followers in the next tab.
Twitter chats and hashtags
When attending online webinars or events, follow the Twitter hashtag and see who else is participating. Examine who is tweeting valuable information on your business and follow them. Oftentimes individuals will appreciate the follow and return the favor.
Finally, think about what else is happening around you in the industry and see how it relates to the Twittersphere. Ideas to search for new followers include:
- Speakers from recent conferences
- Authors of industry specific books
- Journalists and bloggers for niche topics
- Online forums
- Your vendor and business contacts (aka – use that Rolodex!)