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follow meAre you on Twitter and wondering how to find more people to follow?  Twitter itself offers a few ways for you to find others: you can click on “Find people” at the top of your Twitter page and search 4 different ways.

Finding people through Twitter

The first is by searching for people by their Twitter username or by first or last name.  Second, you can find Twitter users through your other contact lists such as Gmail, AOL or Yahoo.  This is a quick way to find people because Twitter pairs the email addresses in your accounts with existing Twitter accounts.

The third option allows you to invite others by email.  The form automatically sends them a short message saying that you’d like to keep up with them on Twitter and to click a link below to find out more.

Fourth, Twitter provides a list of “suggested users” for you to follow and this includes bigger names that you don’t necessarily know personally such as JetBlue Airways, Shaquille O’Neal, the CEO of Twitter, CNN, John McCain, etc.  This is a good option if you are brand new, you aren’t sure who to follow, and want to start seeing how others use Twitter so you can get a good sense of the flow of it.

Follow who they follow

Another easy way to find people once you are following others is to check out who they follow—if anyone looks interesting, start following them.  Or, you could make a list of 20-25 people in your industry you admire and if they are on Twitter, begin following them.

A word of caution though–following too many people too fast (we’re talking by the thousands) may cause Twitter to look at you as a spammer and this could result in Twitter suspending your account.  So just be aware of that.

The actual limit appears to be that you can’t follow more than 2,000 people at first.  Once you have around 1,800 followers you can start following 10% followers more than are currently following you.  So, at 2,000 followers following you, you can follow a total of 2,200 people on Twitter.

Connect with your target market

So, how do you find and follow people in your target market so that they are able to hear your message?  Twellow.com and Wefollow.com are Twitter directories you can search by category. They’re essentially the Yellow Pages of Twitter.

If your business is local, a great way to find other local Twitter users is to use nearbytweets.com. You can use this site to search by both location and keyword.  A lot of people like to use tools like this to set up “tweetups” which are basically local meetups of Twitter users in your area.  These can be great for networking.

Another technique if you are already following some people in your target market is using whoshouldifollow.com or mrtweet.com.  Both of these sites recommend you new people to follow based on who you are following already.

Let me know if you use any other techniques to find people to connect with on Twitter.  What do you find works best for you?

Photo credit: arttwitt