Who's On Twitter? What Happens When You "Shake Hands" With Your Followers?

by Peg Corwin on March 3, 2009

followers
Who exactly is following me on Twitter, I asked myself?
What would happen if I “shook hands” with each of them?

Online 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 the connection.  Perhaps check their profile, reply with a comment about a shared interest or a question.  I call this “shake hands.”

Last Friday, I printed out my modest list of 85 Twitter followers, clicked each person’s profile, visited their website, and wrote them a direct Tweet (a short message only they could see.)  I took notes about who they were and what happened.  For the record, I have met only three of my followers in person.  Most were acquired after I posted 52 Links on Twitter for Business on this blog.

Where Are My Followers Located?

For background, I live in the Chicago area, as do 13 of my followers.   Two of these people I know personally.

11 — East
15 — West
20 — Midwest
15 — South (not sure where to put Maryland, so I guessed)
10 — Other (US, earth, everywhere, and ???)
14 — International (Canada-7, Phillipines-2, India-2, UK-1, Israel-1, Hungary-1)

Now I appreciate that when I tweet about a marketing workshop in Chicago, followers in Bangalore, Israel and Budapest are alerted.  Also I did not realize I had so many Chicago followers.  I’m going to try to get better acquainted with them.

What Businesses Are My Followers In?

People use Twitter socially, but I’m interested in which kinds of business people are using it, and how.  Here’s how my followers break down:

22 — Marketing and public relations professionals and consultants
11 — Businesses, mostly offline
10 — Online businesses
9 — Business consultants and career coaches
9 –  SEO and IT consultants and professionals
6 — “Make money” people
6 — Artists, photographers, DJs
5 — Undisclosed and mysterious
4 — Researchers and librarians
3 — Publishers and bloggers

Lots of marketers and public relations people here, as I would expect.  Media types like publishers and bloggers.  Many many consultants.  Other individuals like a home stager and sales exec, a “condoman,”  and a women representing Yourfurniturelink.

Twitters with “make money” services included those selling multi-level marketing, real estate, systems for “creating wealth from birth” and one social network, Truemanity, where you can “help humanity with the self improvement process and make money.”

Artists were SarahJL, a DJ in Minneapois; KBarrrick, a fiber artist; several professional photographers, and guitar player.  Didn’t expect to meet artsy types on Twitter.

In the Other category, two Twitterers declined to divulge any details.  Another only admitted to being a Democrat in Alaska.   Finally there were two mysterious followers, Yes or No (“You ask and I answer YES or NO.  Simple”) and InkyBlotz, a psychologist in NY who seems to conduct online ink blot tests.

Here are my followers’ Twitter handles that appear to be business names, with type of business:

AKAMediaInc — web services/graphic design
AtHomeNet — homeowner association websites
Bplans – business plan software
Business Info — librarian research
Buzz3R — web 2.0 news
ByTheBook — accounting and financial services for business
Dandelionweb — web design
EntrepreneurSis — marketing, advertising and web design
Exuve — cloud-sourced apparel design
FastBackStack — classic mustang cars and parts
FYIndOut — b to b marketing, software reviews
Mainsail –  digital marketing and advertising
MarketingProfs — marketing portal
MatchPointNet — franchising
Mollyinfolode — online research as well as artist and band promotions
Mosaic Memoirs — biographer/editor
NorthSanDiego — online business community in San Diego
Roundpeg — full service marketing firm
SmallBizTrends — blog/website for small business
SmallBusiness — small business wiki
theSmileShop — dental magazine and products
Treasurefield — jewelry on Etsy
WilsonWRS — Wilson Research Services and pollster
ZandaPanda –  silicone bakeware

To meet all my followers (plus those who “joined up” after February 27), click the Followers link on my Twitter profile, upper right.

What Happens If You Shake Hands With Followers?

Here’s what happened when I sent direct messages to all my Twitter followers that Friday and Saturday.

Almost half — 46% — sent a direct message back within 2 weekend days.  I got involved in tiny conversations about Twitter backgrounds, sign ordinances, bears in Alaska, the punched card era, blogger platforms, staging advice when you live with a collector, and internet privacy.  One person thanked me for “writing a real live message.” I reminded a current client that I’m around when he needs me and firmed up a date to meet another.  I tweeted a couple friends about broken links on their sites.

Potentially Useful, Deepened Connections?

Found a guy with great Delicious links and we added each other to our networks there.  Had a few exchanges with power marketers about how local business can use Twitter.  Several people asked me what SCORE Chicago did. (We’re a volunteer organization, helping people start and grow businesses.)  Found someone to explain more about Myspace to me and connected to her there.  Came across three Twitterers with whom I share many interests, so I invited them to connect in LinkedinFacebook and Stumbleupon.  (If you’re a Stumbler, please …)

Yep, it worked.  Thanks, Larry, for the advice.  I’m connected more firmly to some followers now.

What’s your experience getting to know your broader network? Please comment below.

Related Links:

52 Links on Twitter for Business, with Brief Descriptions See section on Getting Followers

Promoting Politely:  What’s Naughty and Nice Business Etiquette on Social Networks

My Twitter bundle of  links on Delicious

{ 8 comments }

Judd March 3, 2009 at 8:39 am

That must have been a busy couple of days.

Dawn Thomas March 3, 2009 at 10:57 am

Thank you for this wonderful article! It is so true! I am fairly new to Twitter, but can definitely tell the difference between someone who has an automated response and someone who actually takes the time to say, “Hello!”

Alexis March 4, 2009 at 7:00 am

Great article. I’m an artist who’s interested in social networking. You just started following me in Twitter, so I wanted to know a little more about you.

Dat March 4, 2009 at 8:40 am

Fantastic post! You are a scientist. Thank you for this breakdown. Inspires me to direct message all my followers. I’ve been on twitter since dec.18th (today mar.4th), and it’s been an amazing ride since then trying to wrap my mind around the constant questions in my head of “What the heck is this thing” or “What are these buttons and how do I do this or that?” or “How can this be beneficial for my business or hobby?” or “How do I reach more people without spamming people (because that is my natural inclination to do more than one on one)?” The results are amazing so far. Have three twitter accounts: @CDNpayprocess (business- Canadian Payment Processing), @restaurantjobs (secondary site- hospitality blog and job search), and @dattrax (hobby- DJing house music). Spend 5mins here or there. Probably an hour each day and probably 2hrs/day the first two weeks I was on during the holidays. About 1100 followers total. Had almost a dozen guest blog posts on my sites from people in related industries that were met on twitter. Another dozen posts promised. Got over 2400 downloads of my mixed music that I put almost 400 links up for people who like the same music to share. Testing the viability of a DJ Site coming in mid-spring. Drove over 300 new visitors to my main business. This traffic could not be monetized because my target group is Canadian Business Owners, but still facinating how twitter can bring traffic. Over 700 people from twitter to hospitality blog. Learning how each twitter account has a different audienc, and the slightly different ways to communicate with them.

Jade April 22, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Can you let me know how you worked out your regional break down please?

Peg Corwin April 22, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Thanks for your blog comment, Jade. To determine the regional breakdown, I went to each Twitter profile and wrote down the city or country listed.

Marjanne Pearson May 3, 2009 at 3:00 pm

What a great post! I’m new to Twitter (75 days & counting), and I have made some great relationships so far. I try to make a connection w/ each person I follow, but it’s much harder with followers.

I’d really like to see one of the Twitter apps provide a better vehicle to do this kind of research. TwitTangle is good for setting up groups, as is Twitter Karma. But nothing pulls it together in a ways that facilitates relationship-building.

Peg Corwin May 13, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Marjanne, With the autofollow software out there, it is difficult to get to know followers, and since people follow indiscriminately, I’m not sure one should or could get to know everyone. When you sit down and look at all the profiles and websites of followers, however, it is quite interesting. You do discover interesting people that you want to know better.