The Fastest Way to Build Key Relationships With Potential Clients on Twitter

Twitter too noisy? Can’t get your message heard by the right people?

You may be tweeting regularly, following the right hashtags, and pushing out content, but what is that actually getting you?

The key to real Twitter success is building up relationships with people who can help you i.e. people who can buy from you, or spread your message, but yet we see so many small businesses struggle with this.

Luckily, there is a right way to be doing this, and we are going to be sharing with you in this article our 3 Step process into getting that engagement and building those relationships, as well as taking you through the hierarchy of engagement to build those relationships faster.

Step 1: Build your lists

We have covered Twitter Lists already here, but implementing them is crucial in this engagement strategy. Twitter Lists help to organise people on Twitter into lists of people who you really want to build relationships with. We would recommend getting started with lists for:

  • Customers (for better customer service, retention and more referrals)
  • Potential Customers (for building relationships and top of mind awareness in your sales process)
  • Referrers (for top of mind awareness and more referrals)

But depending on your marketing strategy you could have lists of people on Twitter for anything.

ACTION: If you haven’t already go make at least 1 Twitter List full of the people who you would actually like to build a relationship with on Twitter.

Step 2: Get into the habit of checking your lists FIRST!

Where do you think most people would click if they logged into Twitter and found this screen?


20+ notifications right!?

Of course you would. 20+ people are talking about you, liking your stuff, Retweeting you etc.

Do you sense a ‘but’ coming?

There is a ‘but’. Yes 20+ notifications is awesome, but why wait for people to talk to you. The quickest way to get that traction on Twitter, to build up those relationships is in fact to make the first move. 

So here’s a challenge for you. Instead of clicking that enticing notifications tab, try get in the habit of the first thing you do on Twitter being to check your lists, and make the first move!

Step 3: Make that first move with the hierarchy of engagement.

So it is all well and good saying to make that first move, but how in fact do you do that?

This is where the hierarchy of engagement comes into play. As you are going through your Twitter lists these are the kind of ways you can be engaging.

We have ordered them from least to most effective, although that isn’t an exact science! Simply put, the more effort and sincerity you put in, the stronger that engagement will be.


To get started, you could just click the heart symbol on Twitter to like a Tweet. This is the easiest way to engage with somebody and you can do a lot in a short space of time, which also makes it the least effective. However the person who’s Tweet you have liked will get a notification nonetheless. It’s the quick and easy way to massage someone’s ego.


Next up, if somebody has shared a particularly good piece of content, hit that Retweet (RT) button and share it with your followers. This is better than a like, as the person gets the benefit of getting in front of your audience.


Now we are starting to get into the real relationship building. Hit the reply button, and respond to somebodies Tweet. Make sure to ask questions and get conversations flowing.

Quote Retweet

Twitter has changed this function slightly recently, and you are now able to RT a Tweet and add your own 140 character Tweet to it. So you can share somebodies content and leave a personalised message.

Comment on their blog and reply

The effort levels (and therefore effectiveness) are kicked up a little now. Why not find a blog somebody has Tweeted, comment on it, and then reply to the Tweet to let them know.

Reply with Image

Visuals on Twitter go down a storm, so if you add an image to your reply, that is bound to be more effective than simply words. You could even use a bit of humour here, why not reply with a meme!

Reply with Video

Now we are up a whole other level. On the Twitter App you can actually reply to people with a short video! How cool is that!? You can say more, and add a live talking face to your Tweets!

All of the above are variations of replying to a Tweet that somebody has sent, but again we say ‘why wait!?’ We know who we want to connect with, so don’t wait for them to Tweet something interesting… be the conversation starter!

The Shoutout

#FF / #FollowFriday used to be more popular on Twitter than what it now is, but it was basically a way people could tell their followers who are other interesting people to talk to. You can still use this to give people a mention, but you don’t just have to wait till Friday, give somebody a personalised shoutout at a random time.

Spontaneous @ Mention

Simply start talking to somebody, ask them a question or their opinion on something interesting. It’s nice to be remembered.

Spontaneous @ Mention w/image or w/video

Again, adding an image or a video to your Tweet is a great way to build up those relationships faster and more effectively. The brain is visual, and there’s only so much personality you can get across in 140 characters of text. If you aren’t using images or video, you aren’t using Twitter to it’s fullest ability.

Share their content with a unique mention

If somebody does a lot of blogging / vlogging, or creates any other type of content, then sharing it for them on their behalf without being asked is a really nice thing to do. Show that you have read it by referring to something in it, and recommend to your followers that they read it too. Don’t forget to include the @ name of the creator so they get notified that you have shared their stuff.

There’s 11 ways there you can make the first move, so don’t be shy… just go make that move, build those relationships and get Twitter working for you. This really is one of the quickest ways to build relationships with key people, so good luck and let us know how you get on!

ACTION: Schedule in your diary now a regular reminder to go actively engage with your Twitter Lists every other day.

ACTION: Once you feel comfortable with someone and you have engaged a few times, feel free to take it elsewhere, perhaps drop them an email, or call them up or go for a coffee with them to take things further. It’s obviously down to your business, but remember if you aren’t getting anything from your lists you are either not engaging enough, or with the right people. After a while change up your lists.