Relationship Building on Twitter

The next time someone tells you that the human race stopped communicating long ago because of PlayStation 5, X-boxes and 900-channel satellite T.V., remind them of some pertinent facts.

Facts like these: Every day, twitteratti exchange 500 million tweets. Gen-Z users are responsible for 52% of these (2020 figures). And a thin 10% slice of Twitter users are responsible for 92% of all tweets. It’s not just messaging that comprises this astonishing traffic; 42% of us turn to Twitter for news. (Source:

The most fantastic aspect of these statistics is that this high traffic volume is between people who will most likely never meet. So, how are relationships even possible under such circumstances? In a business world dominated by social media, how do we build meaningful relationships? That’s what we’ll consider here.

Most of us start seriously experiencing relationship-building in kindergarten. A typical scenario was the afternoon at nursery when both you and the kid from around the block wanted to play with Barney, the one-eyed, stuffing-depleted teddy bear, and the whole thing ended in a slap-fest in the sand pit. You and the kid from around the block learned how to share in time. And so it went on.

Building relationships over the Internet is different, of course. The World Wide Web is a virtual sandpit; only mild verbal slapping is tolerated. So, how would you build a relationship with someone you might never meet face-to-face but who is essential to you and your business?

Here are several tips to help you identify people important to you and develop relationships with them that will be mutually beneficial. We’ll start with profiles.


Let’s start with the obvious. Post an attractive profile that presents you in your best light. Avoid posting anything resembling a Victorian family photo where everyone looks like they’ve just received their call-up papers for the Crimean War. You want people to contact you to learn more about you.

Make your profile interesting, fresh and attractive, and re-visit it regularly to ensure it still is. It’s the first thing anyone will see of you. It’s comparable to the first paragraph of a blockbuster novel — the opening scene can’t feature you making corned beef on rye sandwiches for your lunch; no one would be interested. Now, if the story opens with you dangling off Mount Rushmore at the end of a half-severed bungee cord, that’s different. Readers will want to know more.

Temper your desire to share too much public information in your posted tweets. Remember, your profile, along with your @username, identify you on Twitter. So, don’t post your locker code for your gym, or bad people will steal your Air Jordans.

K.I.S.S. applies as always. Display your natural face as a simple colour photo above a clear message. Also, your bio should effortlessly convey credibility.


Now, pick your dream target; someone you’d like to befriend. Don’t go for Rita Ora or Lady Gaga, at least not immediately. I’m not telling you to start with your local pork butcher. I’m just saying, wait until you get better at this. Follow your chosen person and turn on notifications.

Next, decide on your three pillars of niche (sounds like one of the labours of Hercules, doesn’t it?), and they are positioning, operations and promotion. Let’s take each in turn.


Research your target markets. First, determine the size of the market. It cannot be too broad because there is no such animal as a ‘wide niche.’ Then again, if your niche is too narrow, activity and any profit that follows it will quickly run out (I never said this would be easy!)

While running your rule over your market, consider barriers to entry. If your aunt Jemima can enter your market on a whim, achieving and maintaining market advantage will be more challenging. One helpful tip is to choose a niche where some startup investment is required; that’ll cut down on the competition.


With your niche market decided upon, ask yourself which core assets or skills you’ll need to develop to service that market well.

You can’t please all the people all of the time (somebody famous said that I think), so don’t try.

Successful companies invest in primary assets and skills intimately connected to their brand promise. Customers who seek out specialist help have high expectations — seek such customers out, and meet their expectations.


But how are you to find those customers? When marketing to a niche, the last thing to do is to gallop off on your trusty steed, promoting your brand like there’s no tomorrow. Sounds counter-intuitive. However, curb your enthusiasm until you have defined your niche and are convinced you have the core assets and skills to serve it. In the end, it’s results that’ll determine success.

The good news is that promotion in niche marketing is relatively simple. Forget throwing discount coupons around like confetti at a wedding. Instead, concentrate on what you are good at and commit to the niche. Focus on standing out. You can do this by demonstrating openness, generosity and helpfulness to your customers. And the payoff? When customers get the opportunity to work with you, they’ll beat a path to your door, eager to buy.

Patience required

Remember, neither Rome nor Poughkeepsie was built in a day. You’ll have to bide your time before becoming a go-to provider. Establishing a reputation takes time. Commit to your niche market. And strap yourself in for the long haul.

Getting serious

The next step is to hunt down the keywords that apply to your niche to identify people you should follow to further your business aims. Segue into invite mode: call them using your friendliest manner, and ask if they’d agree to an interview.

Get involved with their content, and seek out resources to gift them. Communicate, communicate, communicate! Build on your relationship with critical questions. Such as when they started their journey. What projects are they currently working on? What are their objectives? Ultimately, offer your support. Make ‘liking’ a prime activity. Press that favourite button. Set yourself a target to like a couple of dozen of your target’s tweets.

Culture an appreciation of their content in three simple steps. Step one: message in response to one of their tweets. Step two: Explain any lessons you learned from the tweet. Say thanks. Step three: make sure you tell them about what happened when you actioned their advice.

As you can see, building and maintaining relationships on Twitter isn’t too tricky. The knack is to persevere.