How to Find and Engage Industry Influencers on Twitter

Categories: Digital Marketing, Twitter Tips

Find and Engage Influencers on TwitterThe first step to take with a Twitter account is to find the right people to follow. I talk about this as getting into your world. Twitter is a vast universe and you have to find your world within that universe. What thought leaders and industry specialists will help you keep up with the latest information about your industry? Who in your city is involved in that industry? By getting into this world, you ensure that your intake of information is relevant and that whatever you send out from Twitter reaches a relevant audience.

This post covers ways to find and engage people on Twitter.


There are three main ways I’d like to highlight finding Twitter followers:

  1. Twitter – use Twitter’s robust search options to find the right people to follow. When signed in, use their Discover, Who to Follow, and Twitter Search options.
  2. Listorious – Place to search users, topics, hashtags, keywords, etc. and then connect to the best people Tweeting about those topics.
  3. LinkedIn – Search within LinkedIn to find people with specific job titles within companies. Then, connect to those people on Twitter.

Tip: Thought leaders will usually be followed by thousands if not millions of people. Oftentimes, they will only follow 100 or so people in return. Take a look at that list of 100 people to find out who they follow. Chances are, those 100 people are worth following.


The first part of engaging on Twitter is understanding the different options that Twitter provides in connecting to someone. Here are the main types of connecting with someone on Twitter:

Method Example Access Visibility When to Use
Retweet RT @username Public
  • Original tweeter sees your retweet
  • On feed of all followers
To forward a specific tweet to your followers.
Addressed Message @username text Public
  • On wall only of followers following both you and @username
When addressing a public message to a user.
Mention (Reference) text @username Public
  • On feed of all followers
If someone would be interested in your post or if you are referencing them.
Reply @username text Public
  • >On wall only of followers following both you and @username
When someone asks a question.
Direct Message d username Private
  • Username notified of message through email or in mail area
To send a private message.

Here are a set of suggestions on ways to engage your Twitter followers:

  • Share content that adds value, makes your followers look smarter and live better.
  • Ask questions.
  • Join a conversation.
  • If you are posting something that an influential Twitter user might be interested in, include their handle in your Tweet
  • Retweet to show you are paying attention to them
  • Include them in your Twitter list – then send a message that they are in your list
  • Private message – thank for following, mention something interesting

The content above is from a presentation given at the Metro Atlanta Chamber on Monday, February 4, 2013 by @ErikRostad

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