Larry Brauner

In List Building Using Twitter, I discussed the importance of list building and the ease of building a list on Twitter.

In this article I focus on building your Twitter community — people who relate to your niche and who share some of your interests — people with whom you can network and who also extend your list in a more targeted way than previously outlined.

Is Twitter Past Its Prime?

Twitter will not last forever. However, I’m hoping that Twitter will have a strong future. Many new applications are currently being developed and launched “on top of” Twitter using the Twitter API.

If Twitter was on its way out, it’s highly unlikely that such substantial resources would be invested to build upon the Twitter platform. If my theory is right, then what we’ve seen so far is only the tip of the Twitter iceberg.

Building Your Twitter Community

Twitter has a tool for searching tweets. It can help find people in your niche or who share you interests. You can also use Twollow which bases its searches on the contents of tweets.

I prefer searches based on profile, because they’re more robust. Twitter Grader Search searches profiles. It also identifies the best people to connect with, ones who are active and successful using Twitter. I plug in search terms and back comes a list of Twitter users along with their Twitter Grader ratings and their complete profile information.

Another resource to look at is Twitter Groups. This new tool brings people together based both on common interests and geographic location and is worth exploring.

I’ve already built a following using the procedure I outlined in List Building Using Twitter, and my profile highlights interests relevant to my niche, so the people I follow tend to follow me back.

Keep your eyes open for news about other useful tools. Using the tools available to you, you can build a community of friends just as you would at social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace or any of the Ning social networks.

Networking with Your Twitter Community

Every social networking site has features that permit members to communicate with each other, and in this respect Twitter is no different. Here are your basic options on Twitter:

  • Updates are best used to reach all your followers who are monitoring Twitter at that moment — consistent with a list building strategy rather than an online social networking strategy. However, you can view any Twitter member’s past posts by visiting their page, as long as they don’t have their updates protected. If they are protected, you will need to request permission in order to browse their updates.
  • Replies are updates that begin with @username, public messages addressed to a particular member. Members don’t need to be following you to receive a reply, but if they’re not following you, they can safely choose to ignore you without appearing rude. If you’re having a long conversation which others might find annoying, avoid using replies — use direct messages instead. Annoy people, and they will stop following you. Use replies specifically when you want everybody or a group of people included in your discussion.
  • Direct messages referred to as DMs are private, and they’re the closest you can get to e-mail communication using Twitter. Use direct messages when it’s inappropriate to reach the community-at-large. Direct messages are very rarely ignored, and they’re essential to cultivating one-on-one relationships using Twitter.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind as you begin to network on Twitter:

  • You don’t need a large number of followers to network on Twitter. You only need one follower to start.
  • You aren’t the only networker with an agenda. To be very successful help your networking partners advance their agendas while you advance your own. If you want people to be interested in you, be interested in them. See the site map for a listing of articles I’ve written about online social networking and other topics.
  • You should never ever spam. If you’re thinking of using Twitter (or any other social networking site) to spam (or to advertise) rather than to network with other members, please check out How Do You Like Your SPAM? and Social Networking vs. Advertising.

I’d love for you to follow me.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Also, visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about me and my social media and web marketing services.

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17 Responses to “Online Social Networking Using Twitter”

  1. Lydia Dishman on January 25th, 2009 9:09 pm

    Excellent advice for both novices and veterans of twitter. “If you’re having a long conversation which others might find annoying, avoid using replies — use direct messages instead. Annoy people, and they will stop following you.”

    Thanks for posting,

  2. teasastips on January 25th, 2009 9:35 pm

    I like the fact that you pointed out how inappropriate it is to spam on Twitter. Good post.

  3. Rebecca Beasley on January 25th, 2009 10:10 pm

    Basically just do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Works on most anything we do.

  4. Karen McGreevey on January 26th, 2009 5:42 pm

    Thank you for putting this useful information into one easy-to-read blog.

    These excellent tips for working with Twitter can’t be repeated enough.

  5. Dofollow Blogs on January 28th, 2009 3:03 pm

    Hi Larry,

    Good information on Twitter. Maybe it will help my results.

    By the way, I have listed this blog as a dofollow blog and send a few readers your way. I’ve linked to the page above.

    I’m in the process of updating the rankings and providing a bit of information about each site. Updates should be up in a few days. Let me know if you’d like to change yours.


    Linda P. Morton

  6. Debbie Morgan on January 28th, 2009 3:37 pm

    Hi Larry!

    Thanks for this motivating information. Twitter should have you on their payroll.

    I’ve been on Twitter for quite a while and haven’t really known how to utilize it for my safety and security web site.

    I’ve bookmarked some of the tool and will definitely start to make some connections.


  7. Larry Brauner on January 28th, 2009 3:42 pm

    I recommend Deb and all Twitter newbies that you start with the advice in List Building Using Twitter.

    Then, once you have a foundation, come back to this post.

  8. Dragon Blogger on January 30th, 2009 8:04 pm

    Excellent article, I actually have a whole category on my blog including twitter tutorials and I review all new twitter API applications and web sites that help people leverage various features of twitter.

    Twitter is an excellent tool, and does what Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn cannot do and that is instant message to anyone on the network. Real time communication is what makes it so great.

  9. pinkrenegade on January 30th, 2009 9:08 pm

    Thank you for this post. I have slowly been trying to figure out twitter and this post does put a better light on it for me. Thank you very much.

  10. TeasasTips on February 4th, 2009 1:49 pm

    Good info. Congrats on your Twitter Grade!

  11. vnrozier on February 14th, 2009 3:56 pm

    Being newly active new on Twitter I find this article most useful.

    I’ve been connected to Twitter for some time but like many Internet ideas, it sat there waiting for inspiration to find it.

    The over sixties of this world have to find their own answers.

  12. Larry Brauner on February 14th, 2009 8:38 pm

    I’m not yet over sixty, but I’m getting there.

    My memory is not as good as it was in my youth, but fortunately my ability to reason is better than ever.

    Keep an open mind and embrace the twenty-first century.

  13. Jon on February 19th, 2009 10:53 am

    I think Twitter is far from finished. Granted, it needs to grow. The guys at Twitter aren’t sitting on their hands.

    I’m sure we’ll see some new Twitter apps before long.

  14. Who’s On Twitter? What Happens When You “Shake Hands” With Your Followers? « Web 2.0 For Small Biz on March 3rd, 2009 9:14 am

    […] marketing consultant Larry Brauner reminds us that if you want people to be interested in you, you have to be interested in them. He recommends when people connect with you in a social network that you respond briefly to deepen […]

  15. Gordon Brown on April 7th, 2009 11:27 am

    Twitter is far and beyond one of the best social networking sites today IMHO. It’s the small “tweets” that make it so popular!

  16. Who's On Twitter? What Happens When You "Shake Hands" With Your Followers? — Web 2.0 Marketing For Small Business on July 5th, 2009 11:21 am

    […] marketing consultant Larry Brauner reminds us that if you want people to be interested in you, you have to be interested in them. He recommends when people connect with you in a social network that you respond briefly to deepen […]

  17. How to Make Solar Panels on January 8th, 2010 8:50 pm

    I’ve been hearing a lot about Twitter and “social networks” lately. I have really been on the fence but you’ve convinced me that there is more to them then just the social aspect. I wasn’t sure it could really help my online business.

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