One of my favourite tools for instantaneously finding and interacting with a niche community is WeFollow. I call this a tool because it is one of thousands of websites that leverage the Twitter database for a very specific purpose. In this case that purpose is to help organize Twitter users according to 3 categories that people self-classify themselves under.When you first log onto the site, this is exactly what it asks you to do. As a result, it’s essentially a categorical folksonomy of Twitter.
Notice that if you click on any of the above 3 categories, you can see who else has classified themselves under that particular term. This list is organized by “amount” of followers, which can be a good indicator of the quality of an individuals tweets and/or their level of influence (of course, this is not always the case as there are numerous other factors involved).
Putting the self-classification aside, a quick use of WeFollow is the search function. Let’s say I wanted to stay up to date on the niche sport of “parkour“. Here are the steps I would take to instantaneously be aware of all the latest happenings in that community:
- Create a Twitter account if you don’t already have one
- Go to WeFollow.com
- Type in the niche category that you are looking for where it says “type in tag” (top right hand side of the screen). It will auto populate if it exists.
- Click on the “follow” button for the first 20 people on the list.
- Download Tweetdeck if you don’t already have it
- Use the “create group” feature on Tweetdeck to create a group of the 20 people you just added. Call it “parkour community influencers”. This will create a a filtered column of tweets coming from that select group of 20 people.
- Use the “search” feature and type in the query “#parkour”. This will create a filtered column of all tweets related to “parkour” (from anyone).
- Spend 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the afternoon looking at the tweets in the above two columns. You will quickly discover lots of relevant links being shared, as well as photos, videos, and news…all in real-time!
After a few days you will know who produces relevant content and who you can go without (i.e. by “unfollowing” them). At this point you can interact with individuals by asking your own questions, adding to their thoughts, and/or contributing your own new content.
Try it out with a personal hobby of yours at first (e.g. photography or sailing). That’s the easiest way to get a good hang of it before applying anything from an organizational perspective.
For all of you marketers out there, this is a great way to identify and interact with all of those previously hard-to-reach “long tail” target audiences.