How 80,000 Twitter Followers Launched a New Business

They may not be famous, but in the digital world, they wield the power of celebrity. They're the Twitter elite — those who have tens or hundreds of thousands followers — and they are courted by tweeters who hope they'll favor them with a retweet or two. Getting on their good side can mean an instant boost for your business.

More importantly, however, these masters of the Twitter-verse have some lessons to offer. How exactly does one acquire 100,000 Twitter followers? Sounds like a full- time job, right? We asked five very successful tweeters to share with us their secrets to taming the Twitter beast. We'll run their stories all week in our five-part series: The Twitter Elite.

Timothy Adam, artist, Etsy seller, author and social media consultant
Twitter Handles:

@timothyadam
@handmadeology
@handmadenews 
@findinghandmade
@handmadetop10
@handmadeologyu
Twitter Followers: 80,000 +

Timothy Adam has had a lot of careers. He was once on his way to becoming a science teacher, but ended up becoming a metal artist with an enormously successful Etsy business. Adam began using social media to promote his business and his handmade business blog, Handmadeology, which had 1 million visitors in its first year. Eventually, his success on Twitter — he has more than 80,000 followers — led him to start teaching others how to harness the incredible power of the medium.

The result is that his career has evolved again. Now, he spends 90 percent of his time as a social media/creative business consultant.

[10 Twitter Mistakes to Avoid ]

"Without my success with Twitter, Facebook, my blog and my Etsy shop , it would be difficult to get people to listen," said Adam, who is also the author of the book "How to Make Money Using Etsy: A Guide to the Online Marketplace for Crafts and Handmade Products" (John Wiley & Sons, 2011).

His most recent venture, Handmadeology PRO, packages his social media and marketing expertise in a website designed especially for artists and businesses selling handmade products.

"It's the monthly membership side to Handmadeology," Adam said. "More content, business tool, webinars and more."

Artist, not techie

Adam was not initially drawn to Twitter.

"When I first started using Twitter, I did not consider myself a techie at all," he told BusinessNewsDaily. "I was intimidated then, but now I do consider myself a techie and I love exploring new social media sites."

Adam, however, quickly built a strategy for accumulating followers.

"When I first started on Twitter, I was daily following people in my niche," he told BusinessNewsDaily. "Following targeted people instead of random people will help you build a better network. They will be more responsive and that will help you grow your following even more."

In Adam's case, that target market was people who make and sell handmade products, like the metal pieces he sells in his Etsy shop. Adam found that by creating a community of like-minded Twitter followers, he was able to build a strong network of people who were interested in the same things he was.

"Twitter has given me a way to connect with other artists and creative entrepreneurs," he said.

Adam warns, however, that business owners should not use Twitter merely as a place to promote their own products.

"[Some] Etsy sellers seem to post and promote and not interact with their followers," he said. "You start to lose the much-needed connection, and your followers will start to unfollow."

Adam's blog, Handmadeology, was designed to do exactly that – promote his business in a tangential way by engaging his followers on subjects they were interested in – selling their handmade products online.

He calls Twitter and his blog part of his "social media arsenal."

"Without it, my business would not be complete," Adam said. His advice for those just starting out on Twitter?

"Keep it slow and steady and grow your following correctly from the start."