30 Days to More Twitter Followers

When I moved into my new office space, one of my goals was to create an environment that connected local web developers, graphic designers, photographers, bloggers and social media professionals. To that end, I created Fireside Chats. On June 12, 2014, I launched the Fireside Chats website and have regularly held lunchtime events which I have named Brown Bag, Grey Matter.

Next to the Fire - Twitter

Essentially, these are lunch time meet ups in which we watch an inspiration or instructive video about some topic related to design or business. So far, the participation has been light. My attendance is 100% so I’m getting the award for that! I’ve had a few friends come over now and then to join in but that’s about the extent of it.

In addition to launching the website, I also created various social media accounts for Fireside Chats. Unfortunately, I’ve done a pretty poor job of growing those accounts which has really limited my ability to reach my target audience. When I say poor, I mean poor. Currently, I have 3 followers on the Twitter account and one of them is me. The upside of this is that there is nowhere to go but up!

So, starting today, I am going to focus on growing the influence of my Fireside Chats Twitter account (@nexttothefire) through various techniques and I thought it might be a good idea to document my progress for a future article or talk.

Free or Paid?

My first decision was to invest time and effort as opposed to money. I’m not totally ruling out paying to promote my Twitter account but, for the time being, it makes more sense (and seems more educational) to try and grow this organically. Then again, there’s always this:

I’ll scratch your backā€¦

The first thing I’m going to do is find and follow local users that I feel may be interested in what I have to offer through Fireside Chats. This will include local web professionals and civic organizations that can help spread the word. My goal here is to get some follow backs. Now, how to find local users? It’s not like there is a yellow pages of Twitter users. Or is there? Nope. That’s just a normal yellow pages on my bookshelf.

Advanced Search and Operators

It turns out that there is a pretty effective way of finding local Twitter users, Search Operators and Search.Twitter.com. Here is a list of Twitter Operators which you can use to narrow down who / what you are looking for on Twitter:

Operator / Finds tweets…

  • twitter search / containing both “twitter” and “search”. This is the default operator.
  • “happy hour” / containing the exact phrase “happy hour”.
  • love OR hate / containing either “love” or “hate” (or both).
  • beer -root / containing “beer” but not “root”.
  • #haiku / containing the hashtag “haiku”.
  • from:alexiskold / sent from person “alexiskold”.
  • to:techcrunch / sent to person “techcrunch”.
  • @mashable / referencing person “mashable”.
  • “happy hour” near:“san francisco” / containing the exact phrase “happy hour” and sent near “san francisco”.
  • near:NYC within:15mi / sent within 15 miles of “NYC”.
  • superhero since:2010-12-27 / containing “superhero” and sent since date “2010-12-27” (year-month-day).
  • ftw until:2010-12-27 / containing “ftw” and sent up to date “2010-12-27”.
  • flight :( / containing “flight” and with a negative attitude.
  • traffic ? / containing “traffic” and asking a question.
  • hilarious filter:links / containing “hilarious” and linking to URLs.
  • news source:twitterfeed / containing “news” and entered via TwitterFeed.

My first search focused strictly on local users, as opposed to local users that searched for a particular phrase (design, web, etc.). This should show me a good list active users.

near:“Martinsburg, WV” within:15mi

I could then repeat the search, expanding my search radius if I found that this did not offer a satisfactory number of results.

The results can then be sorted by Top tweets or All tweets. Top will show the most popular tweets while All will show tweets chronologically.

After a few minutes of searching, I am now following 15 Twitter users that are within 15 miles of Martinsburg. Now, it’s just a matter of whether or not they follow back. I’ll return to this targeted search over the next couple of days to add any additional users that I feel fit my target audience.

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About The Author

G. Brad Hopkins's avatar
  • G. Brad Hopkins
  • About Me: I bought my first computer - an Apple Performa 6320 - when I was in college and have been building websites ever since. These days I spend most of my time writing code and helping to bring interesting projects to life.
  • @gbradhopkins