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How to follow the right people on Twitter

Two-Minute Drill: Maximize Your Twitter Follows

Whether you’re using Twitter for your own entertainment or for work, finding great people almost always appears on a user’s to-do list. While Twitter’s suggestions (based upon who you follow already) are good, they can often miss the mark. We’re going to dive in and show you some quick and easy ways to find great follows.

Custom Timelines

Here’s a really cool tool that Twitter just announced last week. Custom timelines are a lot like the Storify product, except that they’re Twitter-only. So when a big event happens, or if you’re looking for great content surrounding a certain topic, these timelines will eventually be a go-to resource.

The really cool part about these timelines is that they can be manually curated by inserting interesting tweets, or they can pull in content directly via hashtags or search results. There’s also an API component, for those of you who want to dig deep. Unfortunately, Custom Timelines only work in TweetDeck for now.

Wefollow

Wefollow is a pretty slick tool that allows you to search for Twitter users by areas of interest. But instead of just leaving it at that, Wefollow will give you a list of other topics that are directly related to the topic that you’ve chosen. A search for Salesforce, for instance, returns this:

But as you can see, there’s also an easy way to access topics like CRM, SFDC and Cloud Computing. Clicking on any one of these refreshes the list and shows you even more great people to follow, all graduated by a “Prominence Score” that judges how relevant they are to your chosen topic.

Klout

Similar to what you find in Wefollow, Klout has somewhat solidified itself as the industry leader for “influence measurement” across social networks. In fact, you can even find Klout scores via the FullContact API, which we’ll talk about in a moment.

The interesting thing about Klout is that it actually has a component to help you boost your own score via a list of potentially engaging things that you should tweet or share on Facebook, as related to your areas of expertise. Unfortunately, the offerings are a bit less than perfect, and contain sponsored suggestions so you’ll need to be careful what you’re sharing.

As you can see in the post above, there’s a suggestion here for me to post something about Boulder, Colorado. While that would normally be a relevant topic for me, the story in question is actually from a couple of months ago so it’s hardly fitting to post to social channels today. There are some good topics though, so boost away but proceed with caution.

FullContact Excel Macro

The last thing that I want to hit on is the FullContact macro for Microsoft Excel. It’s a handy little thing that will let you import a list of email addresses, then filter out the results by things such as Twitter or LinkedIn presence, and even by Klout score and topics. So if you have a chunk of emails, perhaps from customers or an event that you’ve attended, you can add them into the macro to find a great list of people to follow.

In closing, there are some great tools out there to maximize your follows. But don’t build yourself into a box that you can’t escape. There are often great people sharing amazing content and discussions even when they’re not considered to be “influential”. So while you’re gathering hard data, temper that with gut instinct and genuine conversation. You never know what you might find.

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