social media how toWouldn’t it be wonderful if you could develop a valuable business network online? Twitter’s real-time communication capability makes it a great business networking platform you can’t afford to ignore.

By honing your social networking skills and adapting them to this fast-paced environment, you can use Twitter as the starting point to build a strong business network.

There are two parts to networking on Twitter:

  • First, you need to connect with the people you want to get to know.
  • Second, you need to find a way to establish relationships with the right people and get beyond the scope of Twitter.

Just like in the offline world, you’ll find people with different styles of communication and different levels of people skills.

Mari Smith tweet

We don’t all have Mari Smith’s communication pizzazz.

But don’t let this deter you. You simply need to identify the communication styles used by the people you want to connect with and then join in.

Here are 8 different ways to begin networking on Twitter.

#1: Show Others What You Want to Talk About

First, remember to show others what you are most interested in. You communicate your areas of interest in several ways:

  • Paint a picture of who you are with your Twitter bio.
  • Shows others what you like to talk about with the content you tweet.
  • Share the conversations you are interested in by using hashtags in your tweets.
  • Tell others who’s important to you with the names of your Twitter lists.
  • The lists you are on show how others see you.

By paying attention to the consistency of your Twitter presence, you’ll send a strong message of what interests you and you’ll attract the people you want to connect with most.

#2: Get Your Actions Right

Your first impression always counts, even on Twitter. Others will notice content on your Twitter profile page: your Twitter handle, your photo, your name, the page you link to and your bio. And they will also notice the actions you take.

  • Follow. Do you have approximately the same number of followers as the number of people following you?
  • Autofollow. Do you automatically follow everyone?
  • Welcome messages. Do you send a welcome message? Is it a personalized message or one that looks like an automated message? Does it promote something or does it show you want to connect and care?

There are no absolute guidelineson what you should do.  You simply need to act in an appropriate way for the people you want to connect with

Twitter monitoring will help you find out how to make the right first impression. Regular monitoring will also keep you up to date on any changing trends in Twitter etiquette so you can adjust your tactics when needed.

#3: Retweet Others

Do you feel uncomfortable about reaching out to others on Twitter?  Retweeting is a great way to start networking but you usually need to do a bit more to get a response and start a dialogue.  For example, add some personal comments to the retweet.  Notice how others engage with people and copy the ones you like.

"Good morning!" The simplest tweets often work best.

#4: Shout Out to Others

If you want to connect with someone on Twitter and just don’t know where to start, here are some ways of simply shouting out to people on Twitter to get them to notice you.

  • Consider mentioning them for #FollowFriday.  You do this by simply saying something nice about the person, include their Twitter ID and “#FollowFriday” or “#ff”.
  • Another option is a public mention of someone you appreciate.

Show your appreciation after connecting elsewhere.

#5: Link to ‘Other’ Social Conversations

As you monitor Twitter and other social media platforms, you’ll notice more conversations. Show others you are paying attention to their conversations.

  • When you notice someone’s birthday on Facebook, send a “Happy Birthday” with their @name on Twitter to show you are paying attention to them.
  • When you come across a great LinkedIn question, link to it and give the @name of the author on Twitter.
  • When you read a great blog post, share the link and take the time to find and mention the author’s @name in your tweet.

The more you show others you are listening to them, the more they’ll pay attention to you.

#6: Write Tweets to Engage Conversations

After getting on other people’s radar, it’s time to take the networking up a notch and try to begin a real conversation.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to reply to a tweet and add value.

  • Add useful information.
  • Ask a good question.
  • Show you are sincerely interested in the topic.

Make it easy to respond to your tweets.

#7: Introduce People

As you meet more people on Twitter, you’ll see people with similar interests.  Take the initiative and introduce people! This is a great way of strengthening your own network because others will notice your introductions and make associations.

Introductions are easy to make.

#8: Create Opportunities to Network Further

What can you do when networking opportunities just do not seem to pop up naturally? Create a reason to network with the people who interest youTweetups and Twitter discussions are a great way to do this.

Another easy first step is to start a public list of people you recommend on Twitter. As you come across people to add to this list, give them a shout out to show your recognition. You’ll find it much easier to connect with people this way.

You might also want an additional step to feel more comfortable with the people you meet on Twitter. Sometimes you need a good ice-breakerI find Twitter Interviews helpful because they are usually a fun experience for both participants and I also get to know more about the people I interview.

Networking Beyond Twitter

As you begin to develop your network on Twitter, you’ll want to regularly spend time making connections beyond TwitterA phone call or a chat on Skype is always a good step.

Twitter will simply become one of the communication tools you use in your overall business networking plan.

Do you network on Twitter? What tactics do you use to reach out and connect with others? I’d love to hear about what works best for you.  Please share your stories in the comments below.

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  • Thanks for a terrific post! I shared it with a business associate who is just starting out on Twitter as a marketing tool.

  • Def cool post…elegant and to the point. Thnx

  • Cindy,

    Great post! Soical media is interesting but not so useful if there is no social networking going on. We live and die by relationships. Your post is a reminder that it is not the number of followers you have but the depth of the relationships that matter.

  • Thanks Tish. I’d love to hear how Twitter works out for you.

  • Some interesting directories out there to help you find and be found by tweeps of interest. Like Wefollow or Mr. Tweet. Lists are also great tools.

  • Grat tips, Cindy. When you refer to cross-culturals, do you also reach out in more than one language?


  • I really enjoy Twitter Chats. There is a google doc that shows the whole schedule – I just connect to the ones that I find interesting. It’s a lot like IM on speed! You have to really enjoy the fast pace to get anything out of it. But it has been a great way to network and find like-minded people, and experts.

  • There is some awesome advice. Thanks for taking the time to post this.

  • MartinK

    Fantastic post. I will recommend all Danish twitter users to read your post.

  • Hi John, thanks for saying this so clearly!

  • Marie

    This is an excellent post – one of the best I’ve seen on how to use twitter. I sent it to everyone who asks me why I tweet!

  • Maureen

    Great tips, Cindy! I know I can always come to Social Media Examiner for quality content!

  • Guest

    Excellent post with great insights! You know, I had not thought of how my lists really reflected what kind of person I was 🙂 I am usually so hard-nosed about sticking just to PR/Marketing content on Twitter. But I do have some just-for-fun lists (arts organizations, tourist destinations, gourmet accounts) that I also love to follow. And I had them private for a while, but now they’re public.

    In your opinion, do those “off-topic” listings that add to or detract from my personal brand? Does it make me/my company more dimensional, or is it confusing, because they’re not related to my core services? (I guess it’s important to note that I tweet under my company name @FletcherPrince). I don’t tweet about those topics, but I do follow the accounts. Just curious what you thought.

    Thanks for the feedback…

  • Elegant Article 😉

    Your article show true Twitter Marketing elegance. This is why Social Media Marketing is so current and trending.

    Loved this article 😉

    Cheers.. Are

  • whistlerheather

    This morning I am catching up on Social Media e-mails and I need to say thank you, both the Twitter and Blogging e-mails today have been very helpful… I retweeted both… I enjoy the fact that you have written so not so techy people can understand… Have a great day!

  • daveblack

    Cindy, your posts are terrific. Thanks for sharing this article and the amazing list of advices you giveaway to us!

    To add something interesting to the list, I would recommend this site to join great conversations about Twitter and share your thoughts with a business community.

  • Hi Dave, thank you! I’ll check out Startups as soon as I can. I expect this group finds Twitter networking particularly useful.

  • Heather, glad you liked the posts. Social Media Examiner tries to make it easy for everyone to understand.

  • Are, glad you liked this one. Your opinion matters to me!

  • Hi Mary, to answer your question there are no hard rules. Adding a personal touch under your company Twitter account can be a good thing. What do your readers think? That’s where you’ll find your answer.

  • janinelibbey

    This is one of the best “how to” articles about Twitter that I’ve read. I’m bookmarking this so that I can refer back to it and share it with others.

  • Twitter is such an easy and convenient way for business and marketing.These are truly easy ways to network on Twitter.Well I am just a beginner in Twitter so all this information will be useful for me.I will try this for me.

  • Cindy, thanks for sharing your list of 8 Twitter tips. There is so much advertising going on at Twitter … those who tweet one sales pitch after the other. Your list helps keep me grounded with reminders that social media is about connecting … not selling.

    Thanks and have a great day, Susan



  • I’m glad I’ve found this site. Very informative and and for sure will help me learn more about social media.

  • Great information here. I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate social media to my carpet cleaning business. This site is very helpful. Indeed.

  • I use twitter a lot for networking so this has been really helpful!

  • Hi Cindy, just read your list and think its fab!! I need all the help I can get!

  • Hi Amy, just read your list and think its fab!! I am very new at blogging so need all the help I can get!

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