How to Find the Most Influential People on Twitter in Your Niche

Posted by Kristi Hines - July 15, 2010 - Social Media - 22 Comments

Have you ever wanted to see who is the most influential Twitter user intersted in a particular topic, niche, or industry? There are several ways to do this, many benefits, and ways to interact with them as well.

Finding Influential Twitterers

So first off, how do you find the most influential Twitter users? One way is to look at the number of followers someone has. It’s not a sure fire way to know how powerful they are, but it is a start at knowing how many people are listening to them. Here are a few free Twitter tools to start with.

Wefollow

Wefollow allows Twitter users to tag themselves with the categories they fit in. You can search these tags to find the influential users within that topic.

Wefollow Influential Twitterers

You can also change tabs on the results and see the users with the most followers, as you will find that sometimes the most followers does not equal the most influence.

TwitterCounter

TwitterCounter is a service that measures users’ Twitter following. It has a handy search feature that allows you to search people based on the information in their Twitter profile and see their follower and following count.

Twittercoutner Search Results

The downside to this search is you can’t sort it by followers, so people with a lot of followers could easily be on the last page of the results while people with only a handful of followers are on the first page.

Topsy

Topsy is a Twitter powered search engine. If you are interested in what people are talking about a particular topic, just search it. You can see tweets from the last hour, day, week, month, or all.

Topsy Search Results

By clicking on the number of times a result has been shared, you can see the influential Twitterers that have shared it with their following, so if it is a topic you tweet about, chances are they are interested!

Topsy Influential Tweets

Hovering over their Twitter username will give you some additional information about them, including their follower and following count, bio information, and a button to follow them.

Benefits of Following an Influential Twitterer

If you’re just looking to learn more about something, following influential tweeps in that niche is a great way to start monitoring the latest news, conversation, and so on.

Thanks to Twitter lists and management tools like HootSuite, it is easy to follow influential users in a variety of topics. Just create a list, and setup a column in your favorite Twitter tool to keep an eye on it.

You can watch how they interact with their followers and what they share to see what you should be doing if you want to build the same kind of audience. You will also not miss out on the upcoming events, seminars, and conferences that are important networking events in your industry.

Ways to Get an Influential Twitter Users’s Attention

This is the tricky part. If you are looking to connect with a influential Twitterer, here are some great ways to get them to notice you.

Follow Their Blog

Many Twitterers are also bloggers. Follow their blog, comment and interact on it. Retweet the posts by them that you know your followers will like as well, and be sure to include their @username in the tweet so they see you’re interested in their content. If they don’t post often (the safe bet is at max once a day), and you know that their posts are always something you want to share with your followers, you can always set their blog’s RSS feed up via Twitterfeed or HootSuite RSS to have their latest posts automatically tweeted to your account.

Answer Their Questions

By monitoring some influential users via Twitter lists and tools, you can easily keep an eye on whether someone has a question that you can answer. Go for it! If you give them the answer they need, preferably first or best, they will probably notice and show some appreciation. If you can answer their question with a blog post of yours, you may even luck out in getting a thanks plus a retweet of your article to all of their followers.

Thank Them for Retweeting Your Posts

Grab the Topsy Trackback Bookmarklet and use it on your latest posts to see who has been tweeting them. If it’s only a few people, then you should probably thank everyone at this point, but if you are writing for a site where the posts get tweeted hundreds of times, definitely be sure to thank the influential users.

Why is this important? Sometimes people tweet stories without knowing who the author is – this is a great way to get them to notice you as an authority in a topic they are interested in which might lead to a visit to your blog or website.

Your Thoughts on Finding Influential Tweeps

Do you follow and interact with influential people on Twitter? What other tips can you think of to find them, and how can you learn from them in order to eventually become an influential Twitterer yourself?

About the Author

Kristi Hines

Kristi is a freelance writer, online marketing consultant, blogger, and social media enthusiast. Follow her on Twitter.