Earlier on this week I was working with a client who had gathered a load of email addresses from potential customers via an online competition. The client wanted to know the Twitter accounts of the people that had entered to see if there were any influential users in amongst the list - the only catch was that they only had their email addresses.
I spent about 20 minutes searching online to try and find out if you could search for Twitter users by their email address and had no luck. Unless you're using the API, there was no simple way to do it (so I thought).
After playing around with a few different methods I finally managed to do it, so I thought I'd share my method with you all in case you come up with the same problem!
Note: This can be pretty awesome for encouraging those that have already engaged with you via your mailing list or within your blog comments to then engage with you on social media.
Step 1: Create a New Gmail Account
The first step is to create a random Gmail account - just do this under a fake name.
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Step 2: Add the Emails to Your Address Book
Once you've set up the Gmail address, click on the Gmail drop-down in the top-left corner (once logged in) and select 'Contacts'. You can then paste in a list (or upload via .CSV) of your email addresses to your Gmail contact list.
Step 3: Create a New Twitter Account Under Your Gmail Address
You'll now need to quickly set up a Twitter account under the Gmail address that you've just set up. Again, this can just be a random name that you do it under.
Step 4: Import Your Email Contacts to Twitter
As you go through the account setup stage, you'll be asked if you want to 'Find People You Know' via your email accounts. This is where you can ask Twitter to search through your Gmail contacts to find any Twitter accounts that have been setup under the email addresses you have within your address book - your Twitter account will then automatically follow them.
Step 5: Download a List of Your Followers via Followerwonk
The final step is to take a trip over to Followerwonk. Navigate to the 'Analyze Followers' tab and then type in the Twitter handle of the account that you've just created and 'analyze users they follow'.
You've now got a list of all the Twitter accounts associated to the email addresses that you've gathered. You can now sift through and start engaging with influential users that have been exposed to your brand already - simple!