image - making friends

Twitter Tip: Befriend, Don’t Just Follow

image - making friendsTwitter is the social media site I use the most. I love it. I love finding new articles from the people I follow. I love getting into chats with people about anything from blogging and social media, to making cups of tea or how much it’s raining in London.

It’s great meeting new people on Twitter. If you follow me, I’ll get an email saying that you are now following me on Twitter. I’ll then go and check out your Twitter profile, your recent tweets, and your blog.

Something I’d like to know is how people find me, whether they follow me on Twitter or they’re commenting on my blog. As I’d like to know this about the people who follow me, I’ve started telling the people I follow how I found them – unless they followed me first.

My First Attempt

Here’s an example of how I did this recently.

  1. I found this post on Twitter: Why you should do your homepage wireframe last
  2. I read the post and I liked it.
  3. I found the author on Twitter (@sggottlieb) and followed them.
  4. I sent him a tweet to say I enjoyed his post.
  5. Within 5 minutes, he replied to say thanks, and followed me back.

Of course, if he hadn’t been online at the time, it would have taken longer. But this is a great example of how this method works.

Making the Connection

It’s not all about the follow back. It’s making a connection. Even with just one tweet, I’m much more likely to remember Seth Gottlieb as the guy who wrote an awesome blog post, than if I had just followed him and forgotten why.

I highly recommend reaching out and saying hello to the people you follow. Tell them how you found them. Tell them what you like about what they do. Maybe they’ll do the same for you.

It’s so much better to befriend people than to just click “follow“.

Let’s Talk

Do you take the time to introduce yourself to the people you follow on Twitter? Do they give you a short introduction too? If not, maybe we should all start!

Image Credit: Neil Moralee /Β Creative Commons 2.0

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About Ben Barden


  1. Great tip Ben, I do the same thing. In fact, I recorded a video showing something very simular with content curation and using Twitter to develop relationships rather than just promote the content.

    Last week I visited on a blog for the first and left a comment. A little while later I received a Twitter follow notice and a tweet from the author thanking me for the comment. Right away I knew that blogger had a nice handle on building relationships and readership. That small act can make a great impression and a huge impact with further follow-through.

  2. Anonymous (Read Comment Policy) says

    I agree with you that twitter is social media site and everyone attached with this.Great tips about twitter to how to talk and connecting.

  3. Hey Brian, thanks πŸ™‚ I’m really enjoying Twitter at the moment – this new tip is definitely a step in the right direction.

  4. Very good point I have had the same experience my self. Once you find something interesting online its only natural to see what else cool this person could have.

  5. There are people on twitter who have hundreds of followers but they hardly know each other and follow each other for the sake increasing follower count.

    But its better to have just 10 followers with whom you have built a relationship than having thousands of unknown followers.

    Really good tip

  6. I have a twitter account, but seldom go there. I have addthis and simply autopost to my twitter account. Sometimes I get emails telling me that so and so is now following me. That’s the time I log in on my twitter account – to follow back.


  7. Hi Jacko – thanks for the comment. It’s great to make connections πŸ™‚

  8. Hi Jim – thanks for the comment. I find that Twitter is a great way to connect with people. You should give it a try sometime. Also, try using TweetDeck – it makes the whole experience much more enjoyable.

  9. Making a connection with people on Twitter by showing them you’re a real human with the same thoughts or views as them is critical if you’re trying to expand your online business through social media.

    I’m sure Seth wouldn’t have never even knew about you if you didn’t reach out to him. When you reach out you are always putting yourself in a better position to meet people that can help you reach where you’re trying to go. Great example of making a connection through social media.

  10. Hi John – thanks for your comment. It’s possible that Seth might have followed me back just by seeing he had a new follower, but we wouldn’t have made that all important connection. I’ve had lots of people following me after I follow them, even if I don’t introduce myself or say how I found them. But I think we make much stronger connections if we take the time to say hello. It makes all the difference πŸ™‚

  11. Anonymous (Read Comment Policy) says

    This is really nice post. Today social media is gaining huge popularity through these social media websites we can share information easily. This twitter tip is really good I will this tip. Thanks for sharing this information with us.

  12. twitter is the great place to promote your content but if you want to go for a long journey then try to befriend with the guys as well as sharing the content.

    Liked the post very much.

  13. Euromillions says

    Here here!

    Too much these days is lost online, such as forming real relationships with people. It has become to easy to provide and receive instant gratification by hitting “follow” or “like”, but this doesn’t really address the important part of human interaction which is building relationships.

    You’re making the internet a smaller and cosier place every time you choose to make friends as opposed to just ‘following’ and I hope more tweeters out there take a leaf out of your book!

  14. Short but sweet πŸ™‚ Sometimes all it takes is just but a few things to build relationships and a great community…

    “I highly recommend reaching out and saying hello to the people you follow. Tell them how you found them. Tell them what you like about what they do. Maybe theyҀ™ll do the same for you.” … totally agree πŸ™‚

  15. Nice tips Ben! When people follow me, I don’t normally get that kind of introduction, but most times I know why they followed. For me if I find a post that I found interesting and I commented, I usually become a follower so I can stay in touch with their content.

    As time goes by I will start conversations to get to know them personally and see what they are all about. That’s important to build your community no matter how many followers you have.

  16. A great post to read on. Putting a human touch to your twitter or any social network account is one of those things that is of utmost importance. I have seen a lot of automated accounts here and there, the thing is without engagements there wouldn’t be any leads to your business. A lot of people out there are misguided about having a good online presence and spamming all over the social network sites.

  17. Hi Ben,

    Up until now I have been guilty of just hitting the follow button and leaving it at that. Like you say, I have a list of people who I am following now and I have no idea why! Maybe I’ll reach out a little more.

    Thanks – Jay

  18. Hi Pankaj – thanks for your comment. I totally agree – I’d much rather get to know people than focus too much on the numbers.

  19. Thanks Mark although I think you just repeated what I said in the post! πŸ˜‰

  20. Thanks Euromillions – I hope so too. Appreciate your comment. πŸ™‚

  21. Hi DiTesco – thanks for the comment. πŸ™‚ Building relationships is extremely important, I’ve found people really like that first tweet.

  22. Thanks Sonia! πŸ™‚ When someone follows me, I don’t usually get an introductory tweet either. I’d like to interact with people more, so I might say hi first both for people I follow and for those who follow me. Relationships go both ways πŸ™‚

  23. Hi Kevin – thanks for the comment. I’m not keen on automation, particularly when automated tweets are the only thing on a person’s Twitter account. You can’t automate social interaction πŸ™‚

  24. Hi Jay – thanks for the comment. πŸ™‚ A nice side effect of interacting more is that Twitter becomes more fun. As I’ve been replying to the comments on this post, I’ve also been replying to a few people on Twitter. I find Twitter so much more enjoyable when people talk back πŸ˜‰

  25. Anonymous (Read Comment Policy) says

    A lot of people have forgotten that it starts with friendship. I am one of them. Heck, I don’t even know the people I follow and those who follow me. It’s all in the great name of SEO, sigh.

  26. I just left my twitter account. It doesn’t makes sense to me. I’ve been requesting for friends but only less than 20 accepted me.

  27. sai krishna says

    your first attempt is really very exiting and i’m also use this way.nice share πŸ™‚

  28. Gerard York says

    That’s the real way of using Twitter but way too may people lose their time on twitter, following people whom they never really take the time to know. They only make it a marketing tactic, follow people, get the work going about you, but never really take the time to know who are their readers and their expectations from your blogs or businesses.

  29. If someone follow me on Twitter I thank them immediately…this is the way of my gratitude ’cause I know they are interested in my Tweets that’s why they followed.

  30. Hi – thanks for the comment. πŸ™‚ It’s never too late to start engaging with people. Why not start today?

  31. Hi Dell – thanks for the comment. Did you try writing a @reply to the people you followed? How many people did you follow? The fact you said “less than 20 accepted me” makes me think you followed a lot of people in one go. Try following people a bit more slowly, and take the time to chat with them as you go. Why not give Twitter another try?

  32. thanks Sai πŸ™‚

  33. Hi Gerard – thanks for the comment. πŸ™‚ You may be right – but don’t let that affect your own usage of Twitter. Try things out – find what works for you.

  34. Hi David – thanks for the comment. πŸ™‚ Do they tell you how they followed you? Although it’s good to say thanks, I don’t like saying “thank you” to loads of people in a row. I’d rather check out what they do and comment on that, so I have a bit more to say to each person. As with replying to blog comments, you’ll see I’m not just saying “thanks for the comment” πŸ˜‰ I think I can do more than that.

    On a different note, make sure you are blocking any spammers who follow you. They don’t deserve any thanks πŸ˜‰

  35. Anonymous (Read Comment Policy) says

    I agree with you that Twitter gives many benefits and can be very helpful for all its users. In fact, it can be considered as an excellent way of collaboration between interesting people or as an amazing tool for experience exchange.
    Thanks a lot for sharing this interesting article

  36. Thanks, BSW πŸ™‚

  37. great article,I personally follow every author on twitter if I know and find the link.And sometimes it’s hard to introduce myself to every follower because the growing number of spam. thanks for sharing this great post

  38. Hi James – thanks for the comment. πŸ™‚ Just block the spam – it only takes a second. Easy πŸ™‚

  39. But how to know the difference, sometimes these spam profiles look like real person but when i send them to validate the profile I don’t get the response. And there is so many of those teamfollowback accounts. Can you share some tips how do you organize real people from the spam in your followers list, I would really appreciate that, thank you.

  40. Hi James – I block the definite spammers, and I don’t follow any that are borderline. You shouldn’t follow spammers πŸ˜‰

  41. I agree, making a connection is building a good relationship although you do not know each other.
    Personally, i tried to be polite at all times. Unless you did a bad thing on me that’s another story.

  42. Thanks for the comment Becca πŸ™‚

  43. Jeevanjacobjohn says

    Hey Ben,

    Agree with you. I try to network with my followers/friends nowadays, since I switched my niche to networking (And since I have to show my blog readers that I am practice what I preach). I usually tweet to people who follow me (the tweets will differ based on their location etc).

    Thanks for the tip πŸ™‚

    Appreciate it,

    Jeevan Jacob John

  44. Hi Jeevan – thanks for the comment. πŸ™‚ It’s good to talk!

  45. Abhi Balani says

    This single tip is really worthy then much tips available out there. I really love that “First attempt”. It’s really good to appreciate one for his/her work. I never leave a chance to appreciate someone. Will surely do this next time on twitter.

  46. Abhi Balani says

    LOL, Are you warning, Becca?

  47. Abhi Balani says

    Sai krishna, nice to see you here. Yeah, me too, like the first attempt. But never did that on twitter.

  48. Thanks Abhi πŸ™‚

  49. I use tweet adder and while at times I wonder why it ends up following certain people some of the best twitter friends I have are people that I never would have picked via their bio but for some reason tweet adder picked them up and they followed back… I do use twitter a lot but I’m not selective at all about follow/follwer, I figure the more the merrier and the more I get to learn from people that we had nothing in common with before a tweet… I do agree tho it does that that first @ tweet to begin the engagement not the follow..

  50. Nottingham Roofing says

    Hmm I have been meaning to get into twitter for a while. The only thing is I have no real idea how it works and have no interest in social media, other than for linking purposes. I guess I should probably just bite the bullet and start researching how to use it, even though I’m not looking forward to it.

  51. I never really understood Twitter, so I didn’t follow people too often. Then I got up to about 4,000 followers and realized I wasn’t even following 1,000 and I kinda felt.. rude. So I used tweepi to follow a LOT of folks back and now I try to keep up every week. The ratio of who is following me to who I am following is not perfect but I am working on it. πŸ™‚ I don’t really “get” how to introduce yourself in 140 characters or less without sounding spammy so usually I just say hi. I figure if they want to check my blog out in the process they can do so via my profile.

  52. Danica Green says

    Twitter is a great platform to build relationships with people and promote your blog or business.

  53. A great start in getting back followers.

    What is nice about this way is you get high profiles to follow you back. That is what’s nice. Great article

  54. Thanks, Samuel – appreciate your comment! πŸ™‚

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