How to find your Twitter friends with a magic number

Kevon Cheung

Do you feel good about yourself knowing that your social profile represents the best of you today?

Now that we’ve nailed that. It is time to go out to surround yourself with like-minded friends.

Twitter is huge and you might already have hundreds of followers. BUT ... can you say they're your friends?

Followers = people who like your tweet but do nothing else

Friends = people who reply your tweet to start a conversation, who retweet your tweets to share them, and who cheer and promote you just to help

I don't care how many followers you have. What I care is whether you have formed at least 100 friendships with the right people.

Because of Twitter's algorithm and culture, these first 100 friends you have on Twitter will determine your circle going forward.

How do I know that?

Every time you get onto Twitter, you'll see updates and sharing from the people you actively engage with. They can be tweets, replies, or retweets. And all the people you'll discover from there are related to what these 100 friends like, enjoy, or are curious about.

So if your first 100 friends are all teachers, you'll discover more and more teachers.

So it is crucial that you start with the right group of friends. If you already follow a number of people, you can actually unfollow some of them to make your circle tighter. Don't be shy.

What kind of friends do you want to surround yourself with?

  • If you’re an indie founder, you likely want to be around other indie founders.
  • If you’re building an EdTech product, you likely want to be around educators and teachers.
  • If you’re working on a newsletter product, you likely want to be around all the people who work in email marketing, newsletter SaaS, publication, etc.

I need to remind you that these friends DO NOT need to be your target customers. We're looking for friends here, not customers. Of course, if your friends can help you get to target customers, then it is a perfect world.

Think about in real-life. If you're a private banker serving high net worth client, do you think you should only hang out with rich people? Nope, you also hang out with the rising middle class executives or even the drivers of the wealthy families.

You should have a direction of what kind of friends you want, but you do not need to be ultra selective and overthink it.

Okay ... where do you find interesting people out of nowhere to befriend with? 2 ways.

  1. I always like to research a little to find out who is the influential and friendly names in the space I'm in. I start with these big name accounts.
  2. Then I go to their latest tweets and check out those who are replying. This is because these people are highly relevant and the most active on Twitter! Instead of befriending the influencers, I always befriend with these people around them first.

Alert! But you’re not going to follow everyone, especially not the popular Twitter profiles!

If you're aiming to build relationships with people with >10k followers, there is a slim chance they’ll respond to you. Why? Because they're busy! Most of them don't have time for you.

This is why, at this point, you want to focus on people who are more or less your peer level on the Internet.

600. Remember this magic number

Most people don’t care about you. That’s the ugly truth.

You need to be strategic to find your first group of friends.

To choose who to follow, you should go for people who have less than 600 following and followers. Why? Let’s understand their situations.

  1. These people have started not too long ago. They’re likely eager to learn new information and make new friends on Twitter.
  2. These people don’t get a lot of attention because their follower count is still low.
  3. They have a manageable notification feed, which means a higher chance to notice and interact with you.
  4. If someone has >600 followers, it implies that they’ve figured out how this works and are too busy scaling up whatever they’re doing right.

With all these, this is why you shouldn’t care about celebrity profiles.

Look at Pranav here. Pranav is 15 years old and has only 60 followers. Yet, he is one of the most engaging friends of mine on Twitter. He is eager to learn and often reaches out to chat. He often tells people about what he learns from me.

Make the 1st move

In physical events, it is often awkward to make the 1st move striking up a conversation. On the Internet, you don’t have to worry about it. You can make the 1st move to “follow” someone and get noticed.

Think about what’s in their mind when you follow them and also make the 1st move in engaging with their tweets.

They’re thinking: this person is interested in me! It is a good chance for me to win a long-term follower. OH! She even replied my latest tweet. I’d love to stay in touch with her to see what great things might happen.

Everyone loves being reached out to.

By making the 1st move, you’re elevating their social status and making them feel good.

But, be careful here. You could go all crazy with this by making 1st moves on a lot of people. I am against blindly focusing on driving up the numbers and get attention. What's the point?

You should be thinking long-term and look for people you can build a sustainable relationship with - who would also be interested in you. And remember, they influence what new friends you'll have later on.

Be vulnerable

Everyone wants to project their best version online. Glamorous title, rewards, and revenue numbers. Blah blah blah!

If you already have a huge following, like Justin Bieber, then you don’t have to care how you project your image.

But as someone who is just starting out, you need a different strategy.

There are so many people out there who have high ego, love to brag, and try too hard. And these days with the world getting more and more pretentious, people crave authenticity.

The more you show your vulnerability, the more authentic you are, the more “friends” you’ll attract into your circle.

Spencer is not afraid of sharing his failures publicly. He even puts all of the stories together so people can learn from his mistakes.

You want to show that you’re very different to most people online. You’re not using the Internet to leverage on them, you’re using the Internet to continue being that great person you're offline.

Sharing struggles and asking questions are the best ways to blend in. When you share struggles, you’re saying you have no ego and you want to help others. When you ask questions, you’re saying you don’t know everything. You’re just a normal, great person.

By being vulnerable, you’re opening up yourself to have conversations with everyone.

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