Larry BraunerConnecting with your target audience on Twitter is difficult, and with all the bots and spammers joining the site, it’s getting to be more and more difficult to find real people each day.

Let me share a targeting example with you.

Suppose that you want to locate wine enthusiasts. You happen to find my Twitter profile through Twitter Grader or a similar program, because I have identified myself as a wine lover in my bio.

You decide to follow all the people who follow me reasoning correctly that many of them are also wine lovers. If you’re lucky, a few hundred of them are real wine enthusiasts, and they will follow you back as soon as you follow them.

All this sounds good, but there’s one tiny little problem.

If you follow all the 30,000 people who follow me, you’ll have to follow –  and subsequently unfollow — the more that 29,000 people who follow me but know as little about fine wine as a politician tends to know about ethical conduct.

There has to be a more efficient approach. Don’t you think?

Searching Twitter Profiles

There are quite a few Twitter tools that search through profiles and tweets. I like TweepSearch, since it searches profile bios but at the same does its best to sort the results by the time since the most recent tweet, making it easier to locate active Twitter users.

When you log in through Twitter, TweepSearch shows you whom you’re already following and enables you to follow, unfollow or block people within the search results.

You can limit your search to followers of a particular Twitter member or search through everybody. In other words, you could search the profiles of my followers to find the wine lovers among them, or you could search the whole Twitter database for wine lovers.

You’ll have to play with TweepSearch and other Twitter resources and search tools until you find the ones that best suit your needs.

Automated Twitter Tools

There are a variety of Twitter tools that help you identify your target market and do all the following and unfollowing for you. Since I am following and unfollowing many people and managing several Twitter accounts for clients, I decided to experiment with one of these tools, a cute program called TweetAdder.

TweetAdder searches through profiles or tweets for keywords and can search by U.S. postal code too. It creates, saves and manages a list of target users for you to follow at a reasonable pace which you specify. The program isn’t free, but they do provide a limited version for free, so that you can see how it works before you buy it.

I like that TweetAdder works in the background while I perform other tasks, and that the vendor doesn’t make all sorts of hypey claims. They encourage proper use of the TweetAdder tool.

Twitter Style Networking

I must at least mention the natural approach to adding followers and making connections — slowly and methodically through careful examination of bios and retweeted updates. This is how I was taught, by purists no doubt, when I first started using Twitter.

I consider this approach much too slow to use for social marketing, and you don’t really want to spend all your time on Twitter.

Or do you? ;-)

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25 Responses to “Twitter Targeting Tweak”

  1. John McElhenney on August 26th, 2009 6:48 pm

    Just say no to auto-follow. As you say in your post Larry, “identify your target market and do all the following and unfollowing for you” we will never see eye to eye on the AUTO use of Twitter. Not for yourself or your clients. If you want Twitter to be a RSS feed, just use an RSS feed. Your auto-following and auto-unfollowing is one of the things that you declaim, “with all the bots and spammers joining the site, it’s getting to be more and more difficult to find real people each day” and then do it yourself.

    I know you are alive. And you are REAL. But you use tools that make Twitter more Bot than Heart.

    My opinion.


  2. Larry Brauner on August 26th, 2009 6:58 pm

    I sense John that you might be from the purist camp, but I don’t know how far you go. Would you find it acceptable to follow a friend’s followers?

    For the moment I’ll assume you would find it acceptable, so here’s my question to you.

    If you’re going to follow (and subsequently unfollow) a large number of people, does it make you more authentic if you sit for hours in front of your PC doing it manually?

    I agree that totally automated messages is not a great way to build a relationship. However, if I can automate some of the purely mechanical tasks, why not?

  3. Brian Kelly on August 26th, 2009 7:07 pm

    I’m with you Larry. I also use TweetAdder. I used to use a somewhat similar tool called Hummingbird, but managing of multiple business-based Twitter accounts had become far too cumbersome. I now manage over 40 Twitter accounts with TweetAdder.

    But software by itself isn’t really enough. I’ve spent over 11 months tweaking and refining a whole *system*, using TweetAdder as it’s “heart”.

    It’s going to be released soon.

    Simply click on my name at the top of this comment for more info.

    Keep up the great work Larry!

    Brian Kelly
    CEO - Icon Enterprises, Inc.
    Creator -

  4. Larry Brauner on August 26th, 2009 7:13 pm

    I agree with you Brian that software by itself isn’t enough.

    However, I am glad to have the time saved following and unfollowing people on Twitter to be more productive.

    I can tweet more, blog more, and make more real connections.

  5. Steve on August 26th, 2009 7:35 pm

    I have to say, I have gone the automated and manual route, and after listening to some respected sources, I am working on becoming more of a purist. This is probably b/c I am not a full-time social networker. I can see that if you were doing this full-time, you would benefit from a program like the one you spoke of. But, I am wanting to drill down to more authentic connections, and I am willing to do it slowly.

  6. Larry Brauner on August 26th, 2009 8:47 pm

    I understand what you’re saying Steve, but as I see it, a part-time networker or marketer has as much need for leverage and efficiency as a full-time one.

    I too seek authentic connections.

    I make authentic connections with people who enter my space and engage me there: Attraction Marketing social media style!

  7. Market Segmentation on August 26th, 2009 10:56 pm

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for the tools to better use Twitter for target marketing.



  8. Debbie Morgan on August 26th, 2009 11:29 pm

    Hi Larry! Thanks a bunch. I added them to my favorites. Deb

  9. Dawn on August 26th, 2009 11:43 pm

    You offer up some great idea/tips for finding your target market.

    I like using twellow which searches the Twitter database for keywords or location searches and you can follow from the tool.

    I will have to check out tweetadder.

  10. Joanna on August 27th, 2009 6:20 am

    Thanks for the info. I have to say I prefer the manual approach as I like to know and get to know who I’m talking to. It helps me uphold the integrity of my organisation.

    However it is time consuming and I can’t Twitter all day so it just means that my network will take longer. I hope tough that it will be stronger for it.

    Thanks for your info

  11. Larry Brauner on August 27th, 2009 11:47 am


    Here’s something to think about. Organizations and groups are not constant or static in nature.

    Groups have attrition. Online communities have high rates of attrition.

    The organization that you want to build on Twitter is to some extent a moving target.

    I have adapted by constantly building and casting a wide net. You’ll need to adapt to attrition in a way that suits you.

  12. Paul Dooley on August 27th, 2009 5:48 pm

    Thanks for the read. The tools seem to be catching up… I have found to be a powerful listening tool for twitter. It is similar to TweetDeck in basic functionality, but it caters to marketers in that you do not have to “follow” someone to listen and engage.

  13. Larry Brauner on August 27th, 2009 6:56 pm


    One of the most popular articles I ever published was Tons of Great Twitter Resources. It featured articles, tools and other people’s resource lists. I have updated it several times.

    Today, besides using TweetAdder to manage Twitter profiles, I use:

  14. Seesmic on my desktop when I want the option of using Twitter and Facebook simultaneously, although I generally prefer to work directly on the Facebook domain with multiple tabs open on my browser
  15. TweetLater, a popular tweet management program, although I notice that TweetAdder includes some of its functionality
  16. TweepSearch, which I discussed in my article above
  17. Various link shorteners such as BudURL and
  18. Some of the tools I used in the past I’ve since abandoned, either because they’re too slow, because they don’t work with large numbers of followers, or because their functionality has been superseded by tools that are more encompassing.

  • seo services on August 28th, 2009 3:11 am

    Hi Larry. Thanks for sharing this great list of tools. I’m using TwitRobot for auto message to Twitter user that follows me. Do you know other application that I can use to do auto message to my followers.

  • Larry Brauner on August 28th, 2009 12:40 pm

    You can use the TweetLater tool to send direct messages to new followers. It will even rotate messages for you.

    Please, be careful not to abuse it.

  • Neal Schaffer on August 31st, 2009 2:38 pm

    Hey Larry,

    Just wanted to congratulate you on a great post and to let you know that I am in the same camp as you are. I also use automated tools because I would rather spend time creating content and networking with people rather than manually performing activities that can be automated.

    On the other hand, what we do brings up another issue: DM Spam. I actually wrote a blog post about this last week, but wondering what your system is to keep these at bay.

    Best regards,
    Neal Schaffr

  • Larry Brauner on August 31st, 2009 3:29 pm

    Hi Neal,

    I confess to my readers that I send automated direct messages on a one-time basis to my new followers with links to some of my most popular articles, and I intend to continue as long as it continues to be possible and continues to make sense.

    I do subscribe to e-mail notifications of direct messages but not to notifications of new followers.

    I scan the names of the DM senders to see if I recognize any of them, and I open the e-mail if the DM is from somebody I know.

    In general, I tolerate spam and deal with it as such. I’m more concerned with building my brand and producing results for my clients than I am with reducing spam.

  • Laane on September 1st, 2009 8:00 am

    Thanks for being one of the top Entrecard droppers of my blog.

  • draxc0la on September 2nd, 2009 1:15 am

    Thanks for sharing.. I have to say, I have gone both the automated and manual route, and after listening to some respected sources, I am working on becoming more of a purist.

  • DoFollow on September 2nd, 2009 4:05 pm

    While gaining followers the slow and natural way will help you get the most valuable followers, most people are about bigger numbers and fast. Because let’s face it, even if someone valuable is following you, if they are following a 1,000 other people, they may miss your tweets. So you almost have to have thousands of followers to get marketing results.

    ~ Kristi

  • Shelagh on September 3rd, 2009 5:16 pm

    I use automated tools, with follower vetting on Tweetlater (sorry, Socialoomph…) which lets me look at who I want to directly connect with, and delete those who seem inappropriate.

    Following key phrases has been very effective in pointing me to people with a relevance to what I do.

  • Jens P. Berget on September 5th, 2009 2:18 pm

    I’ve been using TweetAdder for a few months now, and I think it’s an awesome software. I’ve gained more than 4,000 followers from it.

    I thought about testing Hummingbird, but since I can use TweetAdder on my Mac (and Hummingbird was only available for PC) it was easy to buy TweetAdder instead.

    I am very satisfied with my decision.

    - jens

  • twitter stuff on November 4th, 2009 2:17 pm

    I LOVE Twitter tools! There are some many great ones out there now; it really makes Twitter much more fun.

  • Gail D Kitchens on November 20th, 2009 4:03 am

    From what I hear, TweetAdder is not very good. I’ve got some big Twitter marketing friends who say they prefer one called Hummingbird2.

  • Larry Brauner on November 20th, 2009 1:16 pm

    I use TweetAdder Gail, but Hummingbird2 is good too.

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