FOLLOW ME: Twitter stars in the Twin Cities - KMSP-TV

FOLLOW ME: Twitter stars in the Twin Cities

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It seems almost everyone is on Twitter, but how do you become a Twitter star? Fox 9 News got some tips from some of the biggest social media starts in the metro area.

Fox 9's Iris Perez met with the most popular people in the Twin Cities to find out how they got their Twitter followers and why they keep coming back.

Some users check the bird once a day or multiple times an hour, but either way, there's no denying that Twitter is among the dominating forces on social media.

"It's an emerging social force among the influencers," David Brauer, MinnPost journalist and Twitter enthusiast extraordinare told Fox 9 News.

Brauer is among the influential Twin Cities Twitter users, and he uses it to cover a broad spectrum of social media strategies.

"For news people, it becomes a headline service," he said.

After conducting weeks of research, Brauer wrote Twitter's Top 1,000 last December.

"I've been on Twitter since 2008, and part of the question was, 'Who's doing this right?'" he explained.

Rather than take to his own list, which focuses primarily on news folks, Brauer took time to tell Fox 9 News about why authenticity is important online.

"It's almost a cliché, but it kind of comes down to good content," he said.

When it comes to Twin Cities Twitter users, hockey nut Michael Russo isn't the only one with more than 50,000 followers. In fact, several organizations -- including the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Marriot, Caribou, Dairy Queen and Mayo Clinic -- all have strong followings in the metro.

When asked what it takes to create a strong following, Brauer says having a local base and a national role is a recipe for success.

"Andrew Zimmern, who's a food writer based here, does a lot of local stuff," Brauer said. "He has a couple cable TV shows nationwide -- huge number of followers.

Zimmern describes Twitter as "the bully pulpit of the 21st century."

Trolls aside, however, Zimmern has been deemed one of the most influential chefs in the world due to his impressive online following -- and he loves cooking up conversations with users.

"My favorite ones are from single moms trying to make ends meet in Missouri who tell me that their kids eat fresh vegetables now," he said.

Yet even though he has one of the largest followings in Minneapolis, Zimmern doesn't brag because other Minnesotans also boast some big digits.

Prince has 161,000 followers even though his purple majesty only joined the social media site a few months ago, and another Minneapolis musician with a nice follower count is Ryan Liestman.

"It's kind of fun. It can be fun," Liestman said with a laugh. "Certainly an ego boost. You go on there and tweet something and you get all these positive responses."

Liestman toured with the Jonas Brothers for 6 years and is now back home after the group's recent breakup.

"It was a bummer, but I understand," he said. "I know them very well and they're close."

Liestman told Fox 9 News he believes the band felt overwhelmed by the expectations they faced, and their artistic plans no longer aligned -- but the guitarist and pianist has big plans of his own that involve his 95,000 followers.

"Release my stuff and do my own thing," he said.

Of course, Minnesota artists aren't the only whose online activities reach a lot of eyes. Many athletes also rank among the most-followed -- including Timberwolves Ricky Rubio, who has more than a million followers. Kevin Love has 800,000, and Vikings' stars Greg Jennings, Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson also have a ton of Twitter followers.

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