How to build meaningful relationships on Twitter

People often ask how on earth can I build relationships on social media. Doesn’t this take time? What will I say? Do I just randomly talk to strangers?

Well…yes, you kinda do. Twitter is for friends you haven’t met yet. Anyone can follow you on Twitter but on Facebook you need to approve people. But for starters you need a plan of some sort.

Twitter Chats

“Twitter is for friends you haven’t met yet”

Start by finding likeminded people. Build a community or involve yourself in one of the many Twitter Chats that take place on Twitter.

#irishbizparty - Every Wednesday night 9-10pm

#Womensinspire - Every Tuesday night 10-11pm

#belfasthour - Every Thursday night 9-10pm

#Irishhealthhour - Every Sunday night 8-9pm

#irishbeautyhour - Every Thursday night 9-10pm

#Galwayhour - Every Tuesday night 9-10pm

#Nostalgiachat - US based every Sunday night (at midnight our time)

#Twittersmarter - Thursdays 1pm ET/ 10am PT

#Influencerchat and #Viralchat are both US based chats where I have met many influencers and started new relationships with people. #Influencerchat has taken a break for now but there are many others. #Viralchat is every Thursday at 6pm PT/ 9pm ET - many social media influencers take part in this one.

Find out what the relevant hashtags are that your audience are using. E.g. for Social media use #SMM #SocialMedia #Marketing #Socialselling #Business #Smallbiz #Branding #Contentmarketing #Socialmediamarketing #Blogs #vlogs #Twitter #Facebook etc.

Engage with influencers

Look for influencers - who are they talking to? What are they talking about? Get involved in the conversation. Assist them with a Retweet. Engage with them and start a conversation. Share their content and tag them in the tweet.

Attend events (physically or virtually)

When you hear of an event happening or if you are at an event, start chatting to the people who are there. E.g. the Social Media Summit hashtag is #SMSummitIRL so go there and start following some of the people who are already using the hashtag. Make a list of people who are using it – that way you can filter your Twitter feed and just engage with the people who interest you most. Arrange to meet for a coffee once you establish a relationship. There will always be one person who you will click with straight away. Even if you aren’t at an event, find out what the hashtag is and check out who is there, what they are tweeting about, etc. and perhaps comment or, if it’s an interesting tweet, just Retweet it. They will get a notification that you have done this so it’s a great way to get on someone’s radar.

Be yourself

Be authentic Trust me, we know after a few tweets if you are going to start selling to us or if you genuinely want to be a valuable connection.


Twitter Polls are a great way to engage with your audience and get valuable feedback by asking your audience questions. Twitter polls are great for getting an idea of what your audience is thinking and inspire your content for the future.


This poll gave me content for a blog post on how important your bio is.


You can’t beat live video for connecting with your audience straight away. Let people know in advance ad give shout outs to people who join you and are viewing the video. People will always remember how you made them feel so chat to them, answer their questions and engage, engage, engage. Show behind the scenes footage (we are so nosey, we love that).

Twitter trolls and negativity

What is the best way to deal with negativity on social media?

If it is a troll…block and ignore. If it is a negative comment about your brand then acknowledge, take it offline to DM or email and follow up.


What tools should I use to schedule tweets to connections ...or should I schedule at all?

I try not to schedule tweets at all. It is my unique selling point. If I am on Twitter, I am live on Twitter. I recommend Buffer, Agora Pulse and Tweetdeck – but not that much. I use Agora Pulse for client reports and, as I have a lot of different accounts to manage, it is great for me. It gives me great reports at the end of the month for my clients to see what activity there has been on the account. It measures the engagement, what was the most popular tweet, etc.


Building connections takes time

How long should it take for a potential connection to grow into a meaningful relationship?

As long as it takes. Don’t think, just do. Connect, engage and nurture the relationship. Keep an eye on what they are doing. Make a list of ‘people to watch’ or ‘awesome tweeters’ so you have a valuable list of people who you know you want to build relationships with. You can make this a private or public list. To be honest I don’t really think about it. If they are giving out good content and are leaders in their field I would share their content out anyway and by doing this you will get on their radar anyway.

I measure the strength of my connections by how much they engage with me and share my content and whether we have moved to DM for chats or met for a cuppa. I always build relationships, nurture relationships and then bring them offline as much as I can. Also, it depends on how much in common we have. If we understand each other and ‘get what we do’ we will build a mutual respect and trust.

When relationships go bad

How should you handle the situation if/when a connection goes sour? Be dignified, don’t bitch about others, just move on, surround yourself with good people and just continue to be the best.


Twitter is a platform where you can build awesome relationships but the important thing to remember is to take those relationships offline, whether that be to direct message (DM) or to a skype call or to a cup of coffee. I’ve done this so many times, sometimes just by dropping into a place where the person I have engaged with is working. I’ve dropped into cafes, business premises if I am in that area. It only takes a tweet to say ‘hey I’m actually near you, will I pop in?’ and next thing you know there are selfies and hugs not handshakes (as Brian Fanzo would say).

Samantha Kelly

Founder I Social Media Summit

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