The articles here at Sprout Insights are written to keep you informed about ways to improve your social media presence. But beyond this publication, Sprout Social has tools that help you track and control that presence.

The fast pace of Twitter means that exciting new people are sharing their thoughts on the network every day. Keeping track of the most important people in your field can feel like an overwhelming task because of the sheer volume of members to sort through.

The good news is that there are some handy tools that can help you identify the most important people to follow. Sprout Social includes some features for seeking out those influencers, and Twitter has some useful internal features as well.

Sprout Social’s Discovery Tools

The features offered by Sprout Social are designed to make your use of social media easier. That includes some tools to help you and your business find important new people to follow and connect with. To access these tools, sign in to your Sprout Social account and click on the “Discovery” icon from the top menu. This includes three sections: “Suggestions,” “Cleanup,” and “Smart Search.”

The Suggestions feature gives you some lists of potential accounts to add. One covers people who follow you that you haven’t followed back. The second includes people who you have had Twitter conversations with, and the final list includes accounts that mentioned your account in tweets. Each of those lists can be filtered to show all related names or to display only Influential People. Those are the accounts that may be of greater value to connect with on Twitter.

The other two Discovery tools on Sprout Social can help you streamline your list of accounts you follow. If you need to pare down how many people appear in your feed, the Cleanup feature lists people who are not active on the network, tweet infrequently, or do not follow you in return. This can help you focus on interactive accounts to build more meaningful relationships on Twitter.

Finally, the Smart Search feature serves multiple purposes. While it can help your sales team to connect with potential new clients or your customer service reps to identify people in need of assistance, it can also be a source of new names to follow. Pick out phrases that would be commonly in use among the thought leaders of your field. You can then save a search for that phrase so that you’ll always be up to date on who is chatting about key topics.

If you aren’t already using the tool, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Sprout Social to check out the discovery features for yourself.

Twitter’s Internal Tools

The network has developed its own features to assist people on the lookout for new people to follow. From Twitter’s main page, select “Discover” from the menu on the top left. The first feed it shows contains tweets that Twitter feels would be of interest to your account. That might range from items that other people have retweeted, or simply posts that went viral quickly, appealing to a wider audience.

As you browse through those curated tweets, you’ll notice that many of them have high numbers of favorites and retweets. That’s a sign that the authors have strong followings and may be important voices to connect with.

Another list under the Discover feature is called “Who to follow.” It offers suggestions of people to follow based on the accounts you are currently following (and a few other analytics). The list notes whether any of your existing connections are following those people, so you can pick new accounts that you already have connections with.

A final helpful feature from Twitter looks through your email connections to find people you may already know offline and could follow. As with the Who to follow list, you can see whether you know people who are following those folks already. If you have had any correspondence with influencers outside of Twitter, this will help you connect with them on the social media network as well.

This article discusses Sprout Social, our social media management tool for businesses. To learn about our editorial ethics and our commitment to objective coverage of the social media space, visit our About page.

[Image credit: John Verive, Mark Roy]