The worst thing for a professional to do in today’s business world is become irrelevant. This is a fast-paced generation and the up-and-comers are changing the markets at break-neck speed. So, how do you keep abreast of the competition? How can you learn important news and tips without spending all of your free time browsing online? Professionals everywhere are posting their work, ideas and inspirations on social media. So, it’s time for you to harness social media to be the instructional networking tool you need.

Imagine if you had a business butler who would spend his days searching for and curating the best content just for you? Well, if you follow the right thought leaders, you are essentially bringing on many butlers completely free of charge and covering a huge range of diverse topics. These leaders offer their insights for free, and the best professionals will pride themselves on presenting their audience with only the best.

Check the Hashtags and Followers

It’s hard to find people on social media if you are searching in the user section unless you know exactly who you want to follow. First, start by looking for thought leaders in your industry. For example, some of the best Twitter profiles to follow for business, leadership and technology topics include:

  • Social Media Today: @socialmedia2day
  • EveryoneSocial: @EveryoneSocial
  • Forbes: @Forbes
  • All Things D: @allthingsD
  • Business Insider: @businessinsider
  • Mashable: @Mashable
  • Harvard Business Review: @HarvardBiz
  • Tech Crunch: @TechCrunch
  • HubSpot: @HubSpot
  • New York Times: @NYtimes

Next, scan the conversations to see who is adding new ideas. The hashtag links a bunch of posts into a thread based on a common idea. For overarching hashtag campaigns you can look at more generic topics, like #smallbiz or #marketing. For more detailed campaigns for thought leaders directly within your industry, try using hashtags that are unusual and may not get much use. You can quickly browse through a few campaigns a day, looking for posters who intrigue you. Look at your favorite accounts’ posts to get additional ideas for hashtags to check out.

Once you’ve found users you really enjoy, find out who they are following. By looking at the people top thought leaders follow, you can find additional inspiration in the same places they are looking. This will help you find accounts that might not be well known or using common hashtags.

Look at Posting History

When you find a great post, don’t forget to check through what other posts that profile has recently published. Are they consistent or has it been six months since their last post? Are all of the posts great, or are half of them about their family troubles? A quick scan will help you weed out the profiles that waste your time and clog up your newsfeed. Remember, you are looking for those profiles that will provide you with the very best content in the industry.

Clear Your Lists Regularly

Don’t spend time scanning a newsfeed clogged with garbage. Just like you don’t want an inbox full of spam, you don’t want your newsfeed full of worthless posts either. If you see a poster who has published more than one pointless or irrelevant post, consider unfollowing the account. The goal should be efficiency and great content to help you learn faster.