According to the Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influence Report, 88 per cent of influencers are active on Twitter. This statistic emphasizes one of the great benefits of the Twitter-verse, that it is a great leveller which offers the ability to connect with other people outside of your usual sphere, even those who are high profile and influential.
The joy of using Twitter as a tool for networking and developing relationship building is that you can do it wherever and whenever you want, whether you are at home, in the office or on the move.
The secret is to know how to connect effectively and gain attention without becoming disruptive. Basically, engaging with influencers on Twitter follows the same principles as meeting someone for the first time in physicality; get chatting, take an interest in who they are, what they do, what makes them tick and what interests and opinions you share.
Amy Harris, the Community Manager for Expert Market UK, a website offering vehicle tracking devices and systems, gives you some tips for connecting with influential people on Twitter.
Be Open to Outside Influences
The first step is to ensure that you make yourself accessible by unlocking your profile. Social media is, by definition, about being sociable so don’t exclude anybody. Influencers like to see a real person so don’t hide behind an avatar or a cartoon, post a photo of yourself on your profile. Just imagine you are shaking hands for the first time; how would you like the other person to see you?
Make the 160 characters in your profile really count; include details of your career, what you do in your free time and something off the wall and unexpected. You want to be professional but not totally work obsessed.
Tweet as often as you can and don’t make the excuse that you don’t have the time. Social media is all about connecting and if you can’t find the time you won’t attract any followers, particularly not the influential ones. Reply as often as you Tweet to demonstrate your engagement and that you are interested in what others have to say.
Following the Influential
When you have identified your chosen influencers, show the love by re-tweeting them, adding comments to their updates, liking their statuses and joining their conversations; be persistent until they begin to notice you.
Develop familiarity by letting them see your face and name and recognizing you as a like-minded Tweeter. We are not talking about cyber stalking or entering bunny boiler territory here; following your influencer is a little like dating without the snogging. Be friendly, not scary and irritating! Just gradually develop your relationship with small actions to build familiarity and trust until your influencer is ready to accept you as part of their circle.
You could progress to Twitter Chats, scheduled weekly get togethers which are usually full of opinion formers and influencers. The chats can be about any topic and may even be location or business based. They offer a great way of networking, making connections and eventually gaining recognition as an influencer in your own right!
Use the Tools
Released in May 2012, PeopleBrowsr KredAPIs were designed to measure influencers in the social media community who share a connected interest. The service has access to the Twitter firehose right back to 2008, delivering a data-mine in excess of 1500 days.
It focuses on two main attributes:
1. Influence; the ability to inspire replies, re-tweeting and new followers.
2. Outreach; the willingness to share, engage with other users and spread a message.
The service evaluates two ratings that provide influencer snapshots invaluable to anyone looking to prioritize relationships in social streams. Using hashtags, bios, keywords, locations and communities, it assigns influence-metrics to every located user. With access to over 1500 days of social media posts and the ability to parse 200 million active Twitter users in real time, the service provides an excellent tool in reaching out to the influencers in the community and establishing the potential for effective communication.