The Ultimate Guide to Targeting Twitter Users and Connecting With Influencers

In the following post, you’re going to discover a great way to target Twitter users that will save you a lot of time and effort. You also will learn about tools that can help you do this and how you can encourage users to share your content.

Twitter is an extremely powerful platform, but like everything in marketing, it’s all about targeting the right people.

When you launch an ecommerce or SaaS website, getting traffic really isn’t that difficult, but getting the right people on your site is a bit more challenging.

Getting back to Twitter, sure, having 150,000 followers would look great, especially from a social proof standpoint, but what if you could have the same level of engagement with a fraction of that number of followers (that would, in turn, take a fraction of the time to build and nurture)?

After all, time is money.

Why even do this at all? Because using the strategies and tools that I talk about means the following: more social shares, more links/mentions, more traffic, and ultimately more business leads.

How to target the right people on Twitter

When you set about targeting users on Twitter, you need to go outside the regular confines of looking at your target audience.

Every market you work in has a demographic of customer you want to reach. When you’re at square one, without any established following or audience, it means there is a lot of work to do to get your business where it needs to be in order to compete in the market place.

Luckily, there are other businesses and even blogs that already have an established audience your target customer falls into, and this is where you need to start. With them, you can build a strong and active following that will share your content and help you generate more leads.

I like to break these businesses and blogs into 3 distinct types of users to target (and, of course, there will be some crossover among them).

1. Industry influencers

Industry influencers are the people and the companies that carry weight in your industry, and they should be your highest priority.

Industry influencers will send you traffic and ultimately influence the buying decisions of others.

Typically, industry influencers have all of these:

  • Large following on social media
  • Engagement in social media through retweets, Facebook comments, etc.
  • Clear signs of engagement on their blog such as shares and comments

Think about whose opinion you value in your industry and which blogs you subscribe to, and this will give you a good idea of who is an influencer in your industry. If you value someone’s opinion, there is a good chance other people will, too.

Let’s look at the SEO industry for an example. Immediately, the following names come to mind:

  • Danny Sullivan
  • Eric Ward
  • Rand Fishkin
  • Garrett French
  • Neil Patel
  • Kristi Hines

What about marketing in general?

  • Seth Godin
  • Guy Kawasaki
  • Brian Clark
  • Neil Patel
  • Chris Brogan
  • Julie Joyce

The better you know your industry, the easier this is, but what’s important is that you don’t just stop at the first 5 or 6 names, because these are what I like to call “trophy influencers.”

You would love to have these people share your content or mention your business, but you need a much bigger list to work with. Don’t think that just because someone has only 500 followers on Twitter, they won’t be able to influence people, because they can.

So, as an ideal place to start, make a list of all of the blogs you read right away. Then dig deeper and expand that list as far as you can. When you actually connect with these influencers on Twitter, you will have a greater chance of your content, shares, or brand name going viral, which will cause your business or brand to be perceived as more of an authority in your industry.

2. Amplifiers

Amplifiers are Twitter power users, and you need to target them because they are:

  • 86% more likely to send tweets
  • Twice as likely to follow more than 20 brands
  • 54% more likely to use Twitter on their mobile
  • Most likely to retweet or share your status updates or content

The above statistics were taken from a survey compiled by Twitter and Compete last year.

And, while it’s true that you would struggle to fit these Twitter users into a demographic, there is a straightforward tactic that you can use to find out exactly who the amplifiers are in your industry.

Just grab the URL of a blog post from one of the influential blogs in your industry and type it into http://topsy.com.

topsy twitter user targeting amplifiers

Then you can see exactly who has shared the post and find additional data to help you. Topsy also labels which users it believes will be influential so you can use this as an additional method for gathering data on influencers within your industry.

It’s important to note that there will be a crossover between amplifiers and influencers.

3. Your target audience

Industry influencers and amplifiers often are part of your target audience, and they are a direct route to your target audience, but it’s important to remember that you should attempt to reach out to your target audience directly as well and not just through influencers and amplifiers.

Connecting with your target audience comes down to their interests, what they like to do, what they need to learn, and all that fun stuff.

If you haven’t put customer personas together yet, now is the time, because doing this will allow you to figure out the exact phrases you can use to search Twitter for your target audience. Then you can take the information outside of Twitter to find what media they consume elsewhere on the web.

It also will help you ensure that your content is laser targeted and tailored to answer the questions your target audience needs answered and that it provides the right media they want to consume.

Ellie Mirman published a detailed guide to developing customer and buyer personas on the HubSpot blog last year.

Your customer persona will highlight related industries and websites that you wouldn’t have otherwise considered as an online hangout for your target audience.

You can take this a step further and use Topsy to find amplifiers in these related industries using the tactic mentioned in the amplifier section above.

Twitter Tools to help you get the job done right and save time

Maintaining your Twitter account can be very demanding in terms of the time required, but carrying out research to find your industry influencers, amplifiers, and target audience can be even more time consuming if you don’t have the right tools.

The following tools will help you gather important data, discover the influencers and amplifiers that you need, help you connect with them, and save you time maintaining your Twitter account.

Simply Measured

simplymeasured twitter reports example

Simply Measured is one of the best when it comes to gathering relevant data from social networks. The reports look really good, too.

Simply Measured works with many companies and social media channels other than Twitter, but for the purpose of this post, here is an example report.

This particular Twitter report can give you an impressive amount of data you can examine to put together solid conclusions, but you also can export this to Excel and grab all of the raw data such as usernames, mentions, and a lot more.

Followerwonk

Comparison of users crazyegg kissmetrics follow on Twitter Followerwonk

Followerwonk is a company that specializes in Twitter analytics. (It was acquired by Moz (formerly SEOmoz) last year.) You can compare users to see how they size up and export in-depth user data from Twitter searches.

Here’s an example of one of the many ways you can use Followerwonk:

Map out a number of search phrases related to your industry and run them through the Twitter bio search in Followerwonk.

Export this data to Excel, add filters, and then sort by the highest percentage of retweets.

Including the time to generate, export, and sort the report, this will take around 5 minutes. Then you will have a detailed list displaying the following data points:

  • Screen name
  • Full name
  • Location
  • Followers/friends
  • Number of tweets
  • Bio
  • URL
  • Social authority

The URL and social authority can be particularly useful because you can use them to find Twitter power users that have their own blogs and those that have the greatest authority on Twitter.

Inkybee

inkybee influencer research

Inkybee is a relatively new tool, and it’s not a tool that actually specializes in much that is Twitter related. It’s a powerful toolset that has a specific task – to help with blogger outreach.

So, why use it to help target users on Twitter?

Inkybee helps you find influential blogs and bloggers in your industry while pulling in extremely useful data, such as engagement metrics and average audience sizes, along with links to social accounts, including Twitter.

You can even manage the process of reaching out to these bloggers right from within Inkybee.

Buffer

buffer twitter tools

When you’re developing your following on Twitter, all of your tweets can’t be self-serving, but, still, you do need to promote your own content, and promoting old evergreen content usually works well.

The time-consuming thing is scheduling these posts at times that match with when your followers are most likely to share them.

You can use the Twitter reports from Simply Measured to discover peak times for your followers to retweet, and then use Buffer to schedule posts around these times by simply clicking “Buffer.”

Triberr

triberr twitter tools

Triberr has been dubbed the “reach multiplier.” It is a social networking platform that mostly focuses around Twitter and helps you connect with other like-minded social media power users through the use of tribes of related bloggers.

Your content will be imported into the tribe, and the idea is that other members of your tribe will share your content and you will share theirs.

Since Triberr has been growing in popularity, there are tribes for a wide range of different topics, and the majority of users have blogs as well, which makes it the perfect online hangout for you to connect with influencers, amplifiers, and, most likely, your target audience, too.

How to connect and get people to share your content

Most people instinctively think about following people first and end up leaving it at that. Sure, you could start there, but that’s not the best way to do it. There are much better ways of getting on the radar of influencers.

Here are a few ways you can connect with influencers, amplifiers, and the rest of your target audience:

@Mention them – Actually, the first step is to engage in conversation. Further down the line, you can use this to recommend content directly to someone you think may enjoy it.

I’d recommend avoiding using direct messages (DM’s) for this because they’re overused by spammers, I personally don’t read my DM’s that much any more and focus on @mentions. The other benefit is that they show you are real.

Retweet their updates – This is a great way to get on a Twitter user’s radar while sharing some great content with your own followers at the same time.

Write about something they tweeted – Writing a post about something a Twitter user has said can make a big difference, providing it’s something that either helps them or portrays them in a positive light.

If they ask a question that you can’t do justice in 140 characters or less, then it’s time for a blog post. Be sure to embed their tweet and @mention them in order to let them know about it.

Share their blog posts and @mention them in the tweet – Everyone loves it when someone shares their content, but if you don’t @mention them in the tweet, the majority of the time they won’t even see that you’ve shared it. You will just be a number on a tweet counter and that won’t help you.

Link to their blog posts, tell them about it, and ask them to share – Link building is either time consuming or costly if it’s outsourced. So, when you link out to someone, chances are they’re going to appreciate it.

If the link generates traffic, that’s even better because your website will come up in their analytics under referrals, which, in turn, provides an incentive for that person to continue building a social relationship with you.

The important thing here is that you tell people when you link to them and ask them to share. While some people instinctively share posts they are mentioned in because they understand the impression it has when their followers see that more people value their opinion, the truth is that most people won’t share, so you need to ask. I typically get around 20-30% more shares when I include a call to action asking the user to share.

Write a post about trending topics and share it with them – There are certain topics that drive people crazy, especially on Twitter. The topics where people need help solving a problem do work best.

For example, if something changes in the industry that has created a gap in the market and your product/service can’t fill that gap, then make some recommendations of what can fill the gap.

This does require keeping your eye on trends and industry news. When Google announced that they were shutting down Google Reader, there were a few helpful posts about it initially. Then, in the weeks that followed, there was post after post that didn’t add anything new to the discussion.

That being said, after another several months, there was a point where it was clear that people had done additional research and found some much better alternatives, which meant another round of posts on Google Reader alternatives. These actually added to the conversation, but the bulk of samey and rehashed posts had calmed down by that time.

Offer to guest post on their blog – If you have an opinion or know how to do something that will help your target audience, and the audience of an influencer’s blog, offer to write for them. This will get the right eyeballs on you and your content; but, more importantly, it’s more valuable than a tweet.

Connect with them on other social networks – When you connect with Twitter users on different social networks, there is a good chance they will recognize you, especially if you use the same profile picture and keep your branding consistent.

You will have a greater chance of getting your content shared and generating more traffic.

Most importantly, you are building the relationship and creating more channels you can use to promote your content.

Facebook and Google+ also work great for developing the conversation, and you can mention other users in status updates.

Connect with them on other online communities – There are plenty of other online communities where the people you’re trying to reach hang out, and, often, these can give you a direct route to the people you need to connect with.

For example, if you’re looking to connect with marketing professionals, a great place to start is Inbound.org. And, for those involved in the small business world, you can make some great connections by engaging with other users on BizSugar.com.

It just so happens that these sites also are great places to share your content if it has a marketing or business focus. These types of sites and other communities, such as forums, exist within most industries.

Connect with them in the real world – Despite our reliance on the internet, nothing helps build relationships more than face-to-face contact, which can be done by meeting at events and other meet-ups.

Summary

Whatever you do when you are using Twitter, remember this:

“The true power of Twitter is not to reach your own followers, but to reach the followers of influencers in your market.”

What next?

Continue to create great content on your blog, share content that is worth sharing, and connect with influencers and amplifiers using the strategies and tools discussed.

Remember that, while marketing is a science, you need to build a tribe around you that will take your product to market. Building and maintaining relationships with influencers, amplifiers, and your target audience will do just that.

In time, your business will generate the traffic and leads that it needs to prosper while your “street team” effectively does most of the marketing for you.

About the Author: Adam Connell is an internet marketing and SEO fanatic in the UK. He is the Operations Manager of UK Linkology and can be found writing for his personal blog: http://bloggingwizard.com.

  1. I love articles like this – so many tools and so little time, it makes me want to stay up all night and test them all out!!

  2. Michael Schneider Aug 02, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    “Let’s look at the SEO industry for an example. Immediately, the following names come to mind: … Neil Patel”

    Pretty lame. No wonder that the arrogant 27yr old multimillionaire KISSmetrics co-owner Neil Patel is now suddenly an “SEO Authority”, that names himself with the fake help of a guest blogger next to the name of seth godin and others, just to look important.

    Neil, you think we’re stupid?

    You really think you’re a “kind of a big deal”?

    I think you’re just arrogant.

    I heard from 2 guys (from san francisco) that you have costed their company a lot of cash with very decent results from your “SEO Consultation”. This shameless self-promotion always, i could puke.

    • Michael,

      My name is Sean Work. I run the blog here at KISSmetrics. I know Neil’s name is on the email people get when we release a new blog post (that’s because he was the person that originally set up our email system) – but I actually handle entire KISSmetrics blog.

      The author of this post sent me the article with all the people mentioned in it – including Neil. Neil had nothing to do with the creation of this article. I know this because I’m the only person that worked with Adam to get this published. You can ask Adam that too.

      - Peace,
      Sean Work

    • Michael,

      This post had nothing to do with Neil Patel.

      The names are just examples of how easy it is to map out influencers within any industry – they really don’t matter to the subject of the post.

      It’s unfortunate that your take away from this post is a negative one.

      All the best,
      Adam

    • Where is the “do not like” button? Seriously, if you don’t have any real value to add, or something positive to say, please don’t post. There are lots of people here looking to learn and improve their skills. Adding something nasty does not help the community in any way. If you have something to share, that helps augment or expand upon the post, then great. Otherwise, respectfully, please keep your negativity to yourself. Even if the mention of Neil was slightly self-promoting (and I’m not saying it was), who cares; it was just an example.

  3. Wow! What an enormous amount of great tips! I’m a blind writer and just starting to promote my new novel The Heart of Applebutter Hill, so I’m anxious to find out if these tools are accessible to those of us using screen readers. Even if they aren’t, you’ve given me a whole new way of thinking about social media. Thanks.

    • Hi Donna, I’m really glad you enjoyed the post.

      I’m not sure which of the tools are compatible with screen readers but the main thing for me is that you are able to take away some really solid tips that can help you and I think that’s the case.

      Hopefully at least some will be compatible.

      Congrats on the launch of your new novel, I wish you all the best and hope it does very well!

      Thanks,
      Adam

  4. Hi Adam,
    I must admit my eyes often glaze over when I see posts claiming to be the ultimate guide to anything. In this case, however, I think your post is exactly that.Twitter may be the best platform for targeting influencers around. (Outside of LinkedIn, of course.) Thanks for sharing this post with the BizSugar community. And, by the way, have you considered another similar post on the topic of targeting influencers on LinkedIn? I think it would be an interesting read!

    • Hi Heather,

      I know exactly what you mean, a lot of them ultimately lead to disappointment which is what I set out to try to avoid.

      I’m really glad this has hit the mark for you!

      I haven’t considered writing one on Linkedin yet as I don’t spend as much time on there as I should but I’m going to put it on my list of posts to work on in the near future.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

      Adam

  5. Thanks for sharing all the great tools Adam. That sort of takes care of my Saturday afternoon – test driving Triberr, Follerwonk etc. Really appreciate the guidance.

  6. Great article Adam, thanks for sharing!! I just started building my Twitter platform so your tips came in the right time. Definitely going to implement many of your ideas and see what kind of results I may get :) Thank you!

  7. Thank you for this superb post! we actually fond of it.

    Finding your influencers is incredibly necessary, we have a tendency to all use them to extend your reach and unfold your word.

    It’s vital to cultive your influencers over time, however it’s not trivial to search out them, certify you reply back to them and follow them back.

  8. Thanks for sharing Adam. These are some really useful insights. I will recommend this to my marketing assistant as one of his reading assignments tomorrow. :)

  9. A lot of great tools listed here, that I had no idea existed.

    On the other hand, I find all these a little overwhelming since there are so many tools out there to try and what usually happened for me was I played around with these and then completely forgotten about it.

    I guess it’s better to focus on a few tools first and then compare the results and see which one works best? Since I am a solo entrepreneur, I won’t be able to manage them.

    Thanks for writing this up Adam.

    • Thanks for dropping a comment, Pete.

      You’ve got the right idea focusing on a few tools.

      It’s better to use a few tools and truly understand them rather than using a lot of tools and barely scratch the surface of what they’re capable of.

      I hope you can put this to some good use.

  10. Wow, great insight for us newbies in the worldwide web…we are a small window company in Denver Colorado trying to catch up to the technology out there. My webguys gave me the link to this site…Great stuff Adam

    • Tony, thanks so much for your comment.

      You’re in the right place to learn, Sean who runs the blog has a great eye for content, all of it’s focused to help your business.

      The important thing is to soak up the information, put a plan together and then put it into action.

      The possibilities are endless.

  11. Excellent tips. Shame about the isolated and rather harsh comment you received. Anyway I think my approach will be to pick one or two of these tips and use them instead of getting overwhelmed by all of them! Thanks for sharing

    • Chim, thanks for a great comment, it’s much appreciated.

      I agree with your approach, focusing on a few tips means you should be more effective in your implementation.

  12. Adam as u said, @ is a powerful to get influencer in into your radar. Just started initiating conversation with influencers and found they added me.

    What this goes to show is that if you reply to tweets these influencers post u are simply planting seeds in fertile ground.

    Secondly, the guy who critqued you is a coward cos he couldn’t link his name to his site. It’s a pity.

    Finally, just wanted to tell people who wish to implement this strategy that they should pic up a few tools to work on, except they plan to outsource if not they could suffer burnout trying implement all at once. Thanks Adam for this wonderful article

    • Peter, thanks for taking the time to comment.

      I’m glad you mentioned about planting the seed, because that’s exactly what it’s about.

      The more you use these types of tactics, the better they will work.

      I tried this on my personal blog and within a few weeks I had influencers within my niche that I’d been targeting commenting, sharing and linking out to me and they continue to do that as I continue to reach out and connect with them.

      Yep, it’s a shame, but as much as we try, we can’t please everyone.

      You’re right about burning out, information overload seems to be a common problem so when anyone is starting off learning about influence marketing or digital marketing on the whole, it’s important to soak up the information but take it slow and keep on reading.

      As marketers, our learning never stops, there’s always a new way to do things.

  13. Thanks Adam, very useful.
    I’m learning a lot on marketing actually as and i work in an ecommerce company. So have to deal with Digital marketing and how to drive customers on our website by promoting our different SM platforms. Thanks for the article and the tools.

  14. Hi Adam, great list. Thanks for sharing. I would love to add another tool which we started using at Netcurate and already finding it beneficial – it’s called JustRetweet.com – Hope you will find it useful too.

  15. A very useful article! I had no idea these tools even existed. I will experiment with them and choose the best one, instead of getting overwhelmed. Thanks for writing!

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