7 Ways to Engage with Industry Influencers on Twitter

By Corey Smock Social media is a great tool for brands to engage in influencer marketing. This strategy targets a specific individual--or type of individual--who has influence over potential buyers in your industry. Influencers can include broadcasters, journalists, professors, analysts, and athletes--any person who has a large following in your field.

Developing a relationship with these individuals is not as difficult as it seems. Twitter is the most effective platform to engage with influential people in your industry. This network hosts the most conversation and has a tremendous amount of shared content. In fact, there are 5,700 tweets sent every second.  That gap between you and your target may be wide, but savvy Twitter use will help make up the difference.

This first step is identifying influencers in your industry. Do some market research. Influencers are typically well-connected, vocal, and involved in the community. Other points to consider: How active is the influencer on Twitter? How often are they sharing content? How many followers do they have? I recommend generating a list containing several of these influential users and saving it for reference when you wish to engage.

Here are seven ways to engage with influencers on Twitter:

1. General Interaction: Retweet, favorite, and reply to influencers from your brand's account. When retweeting, make sure the content is relevant to your audience as well. (Tip: create a twitter list)

2. Ask Questions: Every so often, reach out and ask a question to an influencer. Make sure that your question can be answered in 140 characters or less and that it is targeted toward their area of expertise.

3. Keep the Dialogue Open: Once you've engaged with an influencer, keep the dialogue open by occasionally reminding them that you have been following them and enjoying their work or content.

4. Campaigns: Reach out to one influencer a day and let him or her know about a campaign that you are running.  This doesn't have to appear like a spam post. Make sure your campaign is something that would be valuable or interesting to them.

5. Twitter Chats: Find and participate in relevant Twitter chats surrounding your brand's field.  This is a great way to make connections. From here, not only can you find new influencers, but you can invite current individuals from your list to join. (Don’t know where to find relevant Twitter Chats? Here is a master list)

6. Generate an Exclusive List: People love lists. (Hopefully you love the list post you are reading right now.) Create a list of the top 10 or so influencers in your industry. Base this ranking on how valuable these individuals are. Share this list with your audience in a blog post or webinar. This list can be ever-evolving, maybe it changes monthly or quarterly. This is valuable information for people in your industry and also creates an incentive for the influencers on the list to interact with you.

7. Listening: Keep an eye on your influencers for chances to reach out and offer a surprise and delight. If you notice someone is having a bad day, find a way to make it better. They will remember.

With these simple, yet effective techniques, you can widen your target audience, build your customer base, and make lasting relationships in your industry.  Twitter makes bridging the influencer gap fun and easy!

What techniques have you used to engage with industry influencers?