How to find relevant Twitter followers

Photo: Rawpixel /

Photo: Rawpixel /

One of the most frequent issues that many of my NGO clients have is connecting with people who are truly interested in their issues on Twitter. While it’s easy to find followers, it’s much more difficult to find relevant followers.

For the last few years I frequently recommended using SocialBro (now: “Audiense”) because it had a very nifty feature that made it easy to do just that: you could search for a phrase or hashtag with AND/OR/NOT operators, see who is using this term and then filter the results by number of followers, language, whether you already follow them or not etc..

While a lot of tools offer a keyword search across Twitter profiles, SocialBro searched the actual tweets. This is a very important difference, because what a person tweets about is far more relevant than how he/she describes him/herself in the bio. Think about it: it is far more likely that someone interested in climate change has used #climatechange in a tweet than in his bio.

Unfortunately, with the name-change to Audiense, SocialBro also changed their pricing. While you used to be able to do this type of search as part of your normal subscription, you now have to pay 150 USD to buy a package of 50,000 results based on your queries, in addition to your monthly subscription fee.

Below is the short list of alternatives I have found so far. If you have experience using any of them, please leave a comment below. The listed prices do not include possible non-profit discounts.

Mention is one of my favourite social media monitoring tools and the company recently added a feature to help you find influencers related to keyword searches. It’s almost exactly what I want, except for one very important issue: when looking at the list of influencers you can’t see who you are already following. For small accounts that is not a problem, but with a bigger account it means you waste a lot of time clicking on profiles where you think “I was pretty sure I’m already following her, but maybe I’m not. Let’s click to be on the safe side.”

Price: from 29 USD/month

I’m not a huge fan of because I don’t like their interface and the constant nagging to upgrade is driving me nuts. But when it comes to identifying users worth following, they are doing things slightly ­better than Mention: shows either a “follow” or an “unfollow” button next to each name making it much easier to go through the list. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to filter the results so you still have to scroll past users you are already following.

Price: from 19.99 USD/month

If you thought’s interface was bad, don’t even think about looking at Socialoomph. Setting up an alert has the charm of configuring a Wifi Router. However, if you don’t mind that, then there is a lot to like: Socialoomph has a lot of configuration options and you can search for up to five keywords at any given time. I particularly like that you can easily choose between following someone or adding him/her to a Twitter list.

Price: 35.94 USD/month

With all the tools that I have listed so far, finding people is one of many features. Refollow, on the other hand, is a one-trick pony that focuses only on helping you decide who to follow and unfollow. For the purpose of finding people based on hashtags or keywords it is by far my favourite, since it comes closest to what I used to do with Socialbro. Whether that functionality alone is worth 20 USD/month is something only you can answer. With Refollow you can easily set criteria to identify people talking about certain topics and you can filter the results so that you only see those that you are not already following. The interface is very clean, but unfortunately some of the settings are a bit hard to interpret.

Price: 20 USD/month

Have you used any of these tools? Can you recommend one that wasn’t mentioned? Please leave a comment!


  1. Brendan McDonald March 24, 2016