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How do I find the key influencers in my industry, and get them following me on Twitter?

Thursday, 21 March 2013 | By Craig Hodges

This article first appeared on March 23, 2012.


How do I work out who are the key influencers in my industry that I need to follow on Twitter? And how do I get them to follow me?


All over Twitter, every minute of every day, meaningful exchanges are taking place that connect people and allow them to interact with content and with each other.


People tend to talk with others about topics they know a thing or two about who are interested in similar subjects. We are influenced by others and information on things that we can relate to.


As a business owner you need to figure out who the top influencers on Twitter are in your industry and learn from them. They will help you to extend your reach and also to direct more followers to your business.


So what is an influencer?


It is an individual or web entity that has a strong following and/or readership within one or more social media channels.


Basically an influencer has a lot of influence! They are identifiable through their high following and frequent tweets. Make sure they can answer ‘yes’ to these three questions with flying colours:

  • Do they produce valuable content that’s engaging, relevant and useful?
  • Are they consistent with updates every day?
  • Is their interaction with followers of a high quality?

Where do you find them?


Influencers are not hard to find. What you need to do is write a list of keywords to search for in Twitter that will direct you to:

  • Occupations in your industry
  • Common glossary terms
  • Businesses and associations in your industry
  • Twitter users that write about your industry i.e. media journals and publications
  • Your competitors
  • Your target audience

Another way to find top influencers is to have a look at your competitor’s accounts. This way you will be able to see:

  • Who they are following and who is following them
  • Who is mentioning, listing and RT-ing them

How do I get them to follow me?


Once you’ve identified some key influencers it’s time to begin developing relationships with them. To get an influencer to follow you and to get them to retweet your content you should start by simply following them.


When you see a post of theirs that you feel is worthy of retweeting then go ahead and do it. Also directly @ reply them when you add to their conversation, always responding with a well thought out or humorous comment. Research studies have shown that people don’t like to be marketed to on Twitter so don’t be spammy - nobody likes a spammer!


It may take some time and a bit of effort to win the attention of an influencer so refrain from going in with all guns blazing. Being a small business owner means you don’t have the same pulling power as the big brands when it comes to engaging influencers. But the effort is well worth it, so be smart and persevere.