Finding the influencers on Twitter

I’m a big fan of our Page to Practice™ feature this month, Twitter for Good, because author Claire Diaz-Ortiz boosts readers with essential advice about Twitter and managing your social media strategy. I remember participating in a workshop last year with one of my statewide association partners where attendees were exclaiming that they couldn’t possibly find the time for social media in their schedule. You would think, by the look in their eyes, we were asking them to boil an ocean. (Read last week’s blog to find out how Diaz-Ortiz answers the “find-the-time” question.)

This week, I wanted to highlight the author’s answer to “How do I find the influencers and what’s the best way to contact them?” Many aspiring Twitter users think they need to mimic celebrity Ashton Kutcher who surpassed ESPN with his number of followers. Diaz-Ortiz argues otherwise. She asserts that what you need to focus on is quality over quantity.  Diaz-Ortiz addresses dozens of the most popular questions she’s asked as leader of corporate social innovation and philanthropy at Twitter, Inc. Here’s an excerpt of the author’s Q and A from the book about influencers:

CausePlanet: How do I find the influencers?

Diaz-Ortiz: There are a few great ways to find influencers on Twitter. First, be sure to check out Twitter’s Suggested User Lists in various categories. Individuals with high follower numbers are high engagement make it onto this list via an algorithm so these are all great examples of popular users in a given area of influence. Searching for highly followed lists is another fantastic way to find the movers and shakers in your area of interest, and you can set up automatic searches for keywords and phrases to help you find out who is interacting about given terms. I’ve also suggested making your own private lists of influencers you are following. Consider choosing one or two of these influences a week to focus on, and read all t heir @replies on any given day. There are many tools that can help you set up an automatic stream of who they are @replying to. This allows you to see who they are interacting with and will lead you to new influencers.

CausePlanet: Once I find the influencers, what’s the best way to contact them via Twitter?

Diaz-Ortiz: It can be intimidating to contact influencers, and knowing how to do it well is the key to getting noticed by the people you are trying to woo. Check out the specific tips from Tim Ferriss earlier in Chapter Five.

Ferriss’ tips:
• Make your tweets specific and offer proof that you’re capable or credible.
• Keep it to 120 or less and get your friends to retweet it. For your message to stand out in the firehose stream of Tweets, I first need to see it. If your Tweet is 137 characters, no one can easily retweet without editing.
• Use multiple channels. The easiest way to influence me is to have one of my friends (not someone who’s just met me once) email me and ask me to take a look at your work.

Seasoned Twitter users and novices alike will find a plethora of useful advice in this book. I highly recommend getting a copy for yourself. Her simple yet comprehensive methodology uses the word T.W.E.E.T. to help readers remember to Target, Write, Engage, Explore and Track while using Twitter. The book is designed for nonprofits of any size as well as for-profits that want to make a difference or create a movement.

This blog excerpts a Page to Practice™ book summary. Learn more information about this book summary and others in our summary library.

See also:

The Networked Nonprofit
Up and Out of Poverty: The Social Marketing Solution
Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission

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