So you have 100 followers on Twitter, and you’re not quite sure what to do from there. How do you find people to follow? And more importantly, how do you find people that are interested in what you do?

One way is to use social monitoring tools.

Twitter is a program that works best when used in conjunction with other Twitter tools. If you follow any number of people on Twitter, you know your tweet stream can be in constant rotation with items from people you follow. I can easily have dozens of new messages every minute or so. And what about the people I’m not following? There may be dozens of conversations taking place on Twitter that may be of interest to me, yet I know nothing about. That’s where social monitoring comes into play.

There are many sites that allow you to use social monitoring – Twhirl, Tweetdeck, Pageflakes, and my current favorite, HootSuite. Login to HootSuite through your browser, and you can have instant access to your different social tools. I can access all of my Twitter accounts, Facebook, and LinkedIn, which makes it easy for my to post to my accounts and to monitor conversations. I can watch what my friends are tweeting, create and save posts in draft mode, find out where my posts are being retweeted, and carry on personal conversations, all from one easy location.

What I like even more is the ability to find people and conversations that are taking place about keywords and things that interest me. For example, I’m on the constant look for people talking about photography business. Since this site provides a wealth of information to help photographers build the business, I’m always looking for resources, people that may be willing to guest blog or do programs together, or for photographers looking to build the business. So using HootSuite, I simply set up a column with the keyword “photography business” and I see every tweet in which that keyword is used. So I can scroll through that column any time, and connect up with people that may be of benefit to my company.

How can you use it? What keywords are you looking for? Looking for someone planning a wedding in your location? Try following a keyword like “wedding [your location]”. If a bride to be typed in a tweet about planning her wedding, you could find her. Or maybe a keyword like “wedding photographer” would help you find tweets in which someone says, “Out looking for wedding photographers today”. And of course there are many other potential ways to use Twitter – start slowly and build along the way.

Once you find people, don’t instantly tweet them and offer your services. That’s way too pushy in the social arena. Instead follow them. Respond to their questions and offer advice. Once they notice you and like what you have to offer, then you have a greater chance of connecting with them, and ultimately booking them as a client.

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