When you’re tweeting for fun, you can follow anyone who sounds or looks interesting and it’s no big deal. But when you’re tweeting for business, you need to make sure you’re following the right people.

Imagine if you follow just anybody: You log into your Twitter client to see if anything important is being tweeted and all you can find are the latest escapades of some random celebrity. Not good for business.

On the other hand, by following the right people, you get yourself in front of those who can have a positive impact on your business and those who you can positively impact.

When you log into your Twitter account, you’ll see great posts by people whose tweets you area about, whether they’re the industry leader across the country or the potential customer on the other side of the world.

So, the question is: How do you find the right people?

1. Follow the people who are following you.

Chances are, if someone is following you, they’re interested in what you have to offer. So, you should be interested in finding out why and getting to know that person.

2. Find people by keywords in their profiles.

If you’re a virtual assistant, you may want to find people who run small or home-based businesses to follow. You can use a service like Twellow to find these people.

3. Include your profile in directories like Twellow and Mr. Tweet.

This will make it easier for people who are searching for your product or service to find you. And then you can follow them.

4. Read popular blogs in your industry.

They often contain lists of leaders that they recommend you follow. Follow those people. While you’re at it, follow the blog writer.

5. Follow the people your industry leaders follow.

People who are successful in your industry and in tweeting are probably going to be pretty selective with who they follow. Check out their profiles to see who they feel is important enough to keep up with.

6. Use lists to sort the people you follow.

Once you get a few hundred people on your follow list, it’s going to be next to impossible to keep up with everyone. So create lists of people, by category, who you’d like to keep a closer eye on. This is especially easy to do if you use TweetDeck or the list feature on Twitter.com.

Once you’ve created a following, getting more people on board will be easier. You’ll have a ton of people that you follow who are providing value to you, your business and the people you follow.

How does that work?

As you read through your timeline, or your list, you’ll see comments and links by people you follow that you know will be of interest or value to those who are following you. So you retweet (RT) that comment. It’s actually a pretty simple process. You’ve now given your followers something to retweet for you or just brought yourself to the top of their minds when they read the great post your retweeted. See how that works?

In the next post we will discuss using the right tools to maximize your twitter usage.

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