Tactical Twitter Techniques To Drive Engagement With Influencers

Who are the influencers in your industry niche?

How do you find them on Twitter?

How do you begin to engage with them on Twitter?

There are a number of techniques which can be highly effective in finding and beginning conversations with the influential Twitter users who you would like to build a relationship with.

Twitter for social media But first of all there is an extremely important point to be aware of…

Stop pitching!

Yes, if you want to be taken at all seriously in social media circles then you MUST stop the hard sell!

It is the first thing that will turn off the engagement tap for any users – not just influential ones. You have heard a thousand times that social media is where you build relationships, give value, join conversations… and I am telling you this is 100% the reality!

There has been a very powerful shift away from the pitch and it probably has a lot to do with consumers drowning in advertising messages, some overt and some covert. People hate being sold to and they particularly hate being sold to in a social or community space.

Next up – how is your online image?

Pay attention to how you look! What is your image like? Is it really cool to use the image of you with the wrestling mask on?… or your dog?… or an image you pinched off Google?…

Use a really good image! Not a posed photographer’s studio shot, but a warm, interesting human photo of you!

The most powerful short message about yourself is your bio!

Take care with your Twitter bio and make it professional but a bit of fun as well. Show your personality here and use this area for any slightly out of the box bragging or special interests. Β Hopefully you will have a blog and this is where the bio link should lead rather than some sort of sales page.

Yes, and the numbers do matter!

Please make sure you follow a reasonable number of people and that you have a reasonable number of followers. It is hard to be credible as a social media manager for instance if you have 150 followers (take note self-proclaimed SM experts). And it would be hard to believe you are a top selling author and global CEO if you have 300 followers.

The old cliche – Content is king!

OK, now the content. Share valuable interesting posts from “appropriate to your industry” sources and do it often. Subscribe to blogs by the thought leaders in your niche and share their stuff frequently.

Intersperse these with expressions of thanks to anyone who retweets something you have posted and conversations with people who you communicate with on Twitter – you do have conversations with people on Twitter… right?

Now you are starting to look like you know how this stuff all works.

Here is where you can ramp things up a little! But be certain that these strategies will take time to gain any traction.

Step 1: Find the thought leaders in your niche

Where do you find these people? A great place to start is at the leading industry blogs. If you are into SEO go to blogs like Search Engine Land or Search Engine Journal. If you are in the social media field try Social Media Examiner or Social Media Today. Advertising and marketing should go to AdAge or Adweek. Business to Harvard Business Review and New York Times Business and so on and so on…

Who are the authors contributing innovative and interesting analysis, evaluation or opinions on these sites?

Keep note of the ones who resonate with you and find their Twitter pages – these are usually in their author bios (and most bloggers and writers use Twitter). Follow them!

Step 2: Brand any tweets with the author’s handle and embellish

You may have noticed the number of times you have gone to someone’s site and tweeted a post and at the end of the tweet the tweeting program gets a mention and not the author. Programs such as @addthis (2 million followers? Why?) or @sharethis are not going to do anything for driving engagement and you would be surprised how many sites still have this default setting.

This is what you do. You obviously found the post valuable and it is a good idea to give the author credit. Find the author’s Twitter username (usually there will be a link to their Twitter account on the page) and replace @addthis with @authorstwittername!

And you can do this with any site you think would be overwhelmed with communication like @adage or @nytimes or @smediaexaminer!

And here is the important next step…
Say something about the post or ask a question.

Here is an example of what I mean:

Are We Missing the Big Picture of ROI in B2B Social Media? http://t.co/VQMnUbFg by @ Nice post Mili!
Mike Morgan

Or something like this:

The 20 Most Expensive Google Adwords-Keywords - http://t.co/9DSAc5fh via @ Cord blood? What? Go figure!
Mike Morgan

On the first one you will see how instead of using @socialmedia2day which is a big social media blog I have used @SocialMediaF which is author Mili Ponce’s Social Media Management Twitter account. And I have finished with a personal note “Nice post Mili!”

On the second I have had a bit of fun with the content of the post with the cord blood stuff!

Each time you do this you are opening an opportunity to connect with the person you have just promoted to your following and in most cases it is appreciated. This is not to say that the social media heavyweights will reply to you – they get hundreds of such retweets and mentions a day, but it is a really good way to get to know those who are actively engaging with a wide range of users – but don’t expect a reply to every message.

Over time you will be surprised about how much the more savvy social media users are prepared to interact with you and actually enjoy meeting interesting people from around the world.

Step 3 : How are you perceived by others online?

Be interesting, be fun, be a bit random, be opinionated, be different!

Most of all BE YOURSELF!

When interacting through social media always let your amazing personality shine on through! Be gregarious ( not antagonistic) and be warm and tolerant.

Don’t buy into the negativity that can become prevalent in social media. Joining in on a wave of critical sentiment is not very attractive and does your brand no favours.

Step 4: One more very valuable tweak!

While you are at the various influential blogs if you think a post is informative, funny, interesting or smart enough to share make sure you leave a comment.

And this is a big proviso here…

Please do not leave a comment that says “Cool post” or “I got a lot from this post, this is really helpful”.

This type of comment is very hard to separate from software generated spam and will do your reputation no favours at all. Engage with the author – add to the conversation with your own experiences, even be prepared to challenge any points you do not completely agree with.

Start the dialogue!

Your comment should be as thoughtful as a mini blog post – this is your online brand at it’s most visible.

Share your experience and expertise with the world!

Step 5: Add your engaged influencers to Twitter lists

Create a list on Twitter with a really complimentary name (people do look at which lists they have been added to) and add the people who you are getting feedback from to this list.

Check into this list often to see what this group of people are sharing and go through the same process of going to the link, reading the post, deciding whether to share it, adding a comment, sharing with the author’s handle and adding a personal message.

That’s about it really.

Stop the sell.

Have a great, interesting profile.

Share cool stuff.

Acknowledge the authors.

Be interesting.

Be interactive.


Why not try this out by tweeting this with a note to me and/or leaving a comment – you will be surprised (or not) that I actually read and value every comment and retweet and you will find that the majority of influential social media users do as well!


About Mike Morgan
Mike Morgan works with innovative businesses in New Zealand and Australia developing custom web marketing strategies integrating SEO, Content Marketing and Social Media Optimisation. When not in front of his screens you will probably find Mike walking on beautiful Ohope Beach with wife Midge and doberman Cooper. Follow Mike on Twitter here and


  1. Hi Mike!

    Nice post! πŸ™‚ ( you see , I learned a bit!)

    I just admire you for taking time for interaction on social media.
    It’s time consuming but you do meet interesting people online (though I still prefer offline communication).

    Best to you and Midge!
    Elena (in Sri Lanka now)

    • Hi Elena,
      Very nice to hear from you!
      I have met some great people online who I have been fortunate to meet face to face as well! And there is no way I would have crossed paths with them without social media (particularly Twitter).
      Sri Lanka? Wow! You certainly cover a bit of ground my friend! A slight climate change?
      Thanks for visiting and saying Hi!
      All the best
      Mike (and Midge)

  2. What’s cool about this post Mike? The tips you share are so simple, and powerful, because I use them and know they work darn well. So easy to connect with leaders, when you are genuine, authentic, when you share, engage and simply give freely.

    Thanks for sharing!


    • Hi Ryan,
      Thanks very much for your positive feedback! Much appreciated!
      Just a simple tweak and all of those people who had no idea you were promoting their messages get to meet you. It is amazing how powerful these simple steps can be.
      Appreciate your visit, retweet and comment πŸ™‚
      All the best

  3. Thank you for sharing this article… This is very useful for me since I love to learn the right way of meeting some well known and powerful people.

    • Thanks Alice,
      Glad you found it valuable.
      It takes time and it is more about giving rather than getting. Eventually you are rewarded and recognised for your generosity.
      All the best

  4. Excellent post!

    Now I should get some of the people who I follow to come read this too… LOL!

    • Hi Ana @ SEM Rush,
      Nice to see you here again!
      Please feel free to share with your audience πŸ˜‰
      I definitely recommend people check out your blog – one of the best!

  5. Great post Mike. I really value this kind of information as I seriously want to sell my wares online. I am doing all that I can to make this a reality. It is great to watch how my online efforts bare fruit. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Wade,
      Thanks, I appreciate the positive feedback. Use each of the steps discussed and see where you are in a few months with your Twitter efforts.
      All the best

  6. While relatively new to twitter, I can see that your ideas would apply to many communication channels. People are a bit overwhelmed by all the sales messages and surely appreciate just having somebody speak their mind. If the focus is on the “conversation” instead of the desired outcome it would clearly be more effective.

    • Hi Kevin,
      Absolutely! Having an awareness of this important point will give you a great advantage when using social media. The temptation to use this space as a selling opportunity is too difficult to resist for many and eventually they become frustrated by the lack of traction in results and give up.
      Thanks for the visit

  7. Good point Mike to stop pitching. It reminds me of the old line. “People don’t care how much you know, til they know how much you care.” Your post reminds us of that and how important relationship marketing is.

    • Hi Dave,
      Thanks very much for the comment.
      Unfortunately there is a lot of hard sell going on in social media but I feel that it is gradually reducing as people give up or become better marketers.
      I really believe that relationships become even more important in the online space as you are not in the position to shake someone’s hand, look them in the eye and have a conversation where body language and other factors we take for granted in daily life are not part of the equation. It takes a bit of time but the scope is huge. Having friends who you speak to regularly from all around the world as well as meeting people in your own city who you would have never met without social media is brilliant! And the bonus is that these people often become brand advocates who recommend your services to their friends.
      All the best

  8. Hi, I think that so many people tweet each other and become ‘friends’ but never use it. If you write for a webpage such as hubpages or squidoo, twitter is great for getting traffic. But the one thing you have to do is make sure you ‘speak’ to the people you have twittered. we spend hours online trying to get links and posting in forums, but we forget that twitter is there for just that! For example I have spent most of today, getting in contact with my ‘fans’ and reading their work, now they seem to be doing the same back as my readers have gone up. In other words if you make yourself known to them, then they will do the same back. easy for linking and forum posts!

    • Hi Tenesse,
      To build good relationships and trust online takes time and effort. Once you have put in the hard yards to build a network of people you know well you will find the social space becomes a lot more collaborative. When you see something good that a friend has written or shared and it is very easy to share to your own following and the favour is often returned.
      Thanks very much for your comment.
      All the best

  9. The social media is so one amazing place. I just have to say the beginning of being involved in social media is difficult and time-consuming. But once you start with is, you could feel the freedom and its wide informative info. The information transfer is often much wider than offline. Thank you for providing so much info.

    • Hi Sophia,
      Thanks for the comment! Social media supplies a massive amount of information – almost too much sometimes πŸ™‚
      Appreciate the visit.
      All the best

  10. Thank you for a very comprehensive post, Mike! There are still a few online businesses who don’t appreciate the value that Twitter can give to their business, but your post just shows that intelligent use of social media can really help an online business a lot. I have learned that in the online world, one has to build relationships first before you get to sell your products and not the other way around.

  11. Though I’m not really a twitter user though I have an account I fully understand how hard it is come up with some good numbers of followers. “Stop Pitching”, sounds good to me, it’s a big no-no..

    • Appreciate the visit Ernes,
      The big “sell” is a major turn-off and a number of companies are guilty of it on Twitter and elsewhere in social media.
      All the best

  12. olivia34newton says:

    Awesome post, I agree that social media is a huge factor to influence others, because of information that they are sharing with us.

    • Hi Olivia,
      Thanks for the positive feedback. Social media levels the playing field – you can have a conversation with almost anyone and that is the really cool thing about it. Business thought leaders, social media stars, people new to social media, you can create a relationship with anyone if they are open to it.
      All the best

  13. Nice read, I find that if I can even get into t discussion with someone who is big in their industry my number of follows soars!

    • Hi Lizza,
      Isn’t that interesting! I remember a post where Mark Zuckerberg clicked Like on a car racing related site and they got 20,000 Likes in 4 days. So the power of the social media influencers is huge.
      Thanks for the comment

      • Definitly, thats the point I was trying to push. Remeber the early days of digg where people got other people with stroke to publish their stories as they though it gave them move chance of hitting the homepage. Its just like that on an ever more elitist scale!

        • Hi Lizza,
          There have always been ways to game the system and get “thousands of views” to promote your article, video or whatever to the front page and that stuff really bores me. What I am talking about here is creating opportunities to engage with some of the top performers in your industry and to build relationships with them. I like to think about it as something akin to traditional business networking on overdrive with a truly international reach. I don’t think starting conversations with people you want to learn from is elitist at all – but maybe I am missing your point…
          All the best

  14. great post, wow. you have taken so much time to gather all this very helpful information just to share it with us. your really did a great job and we truly appreciate it. πŸ™‚

  15. One of the best posts that I have ever read about Twitter Techniques. Thanks for writing it @meetmikemorgan

    • Thanks very much for the kind words!
      I really enjoyed writing this post and have been humbled by the number of positive responses through social media channels as well as here in comments.
      All the best

  16. Hi Mike, what are your thoughts on individuals who seek out thousands of followers while only following 100 themselves? I at times feel guilty because I’m only following half the number that are following me, but that has been because it’s difficult to sort through 50,000 followers many who aren’t in my industry or who are simply following in the hopes of adding followers.

    • Hi Warren,
      This is an interesting conundrum! If you are a celebrity or if you have a seriously public profile you can sit and wait for people to find you while following only the people you would like to see in your timeline…

      Of course most of us are not celebrities so we have to find cool people to follow – and we have to do it often. And we have to interact and we have to share and enjoy talking to people and we have to see that the social space is about more than marketing… Phew!

      If you want my rule of thumb on following back – follow everyone who follows you! This should be a democracy and everyone should have a voice… But… I unfollow and block immediately if I see offensive content or spam or if the accounts are robots or follow me/follow you stuff.

      To be honest, being precious about only following people in your exact industry can harm the SEO potential that a diverse following can deliver.

      All the best

  17. Catherine says:

    Search for business competitors you may know follow them. Be creative and your promotional skills will work.
    If you want to get followers then there is a twiiter app called Twiends that lets you get followers while you follow others in a particular category. Use Twiends to make sure you follow the right people who can help you improve your business.
    I got an advertiser for my website through twitter. Its all about making connections. I hope this helps and lastly always maintain that there should be a balance between you FOLLOWING AND YOUR FOLLOWERS. You cannot have 10000 following with just 10 followers. Get it. Now use your creativity. By the way if you can spare some money then use twitter’s new PROMOTIONAL TWEET service. It promotes your tweets throughout twitter targeting your niche audience.

    • Hi Catherine,
      Thanks for all the info, appreciate you taking the time!
      Twitter has a measure in place beyond the first 2,000 to stop people following thousands without anyone following back – fortunately! This is the 10% rule.
      Thanks for your input!

  18. I opened the link of one of your tweets and ended up opening another, and another one, and another one of yours. You are definitively engaging and provide valuable information and advice. Thank you!

    • Thanks Piccola,
      I really appreciate the kind words. Twitter is an amazing source of information and the speed and variety of the content shared is pretty amazing.
      All the best

  19. I never took twitter seriously, because I didnt find anyone interested in what I am posting, even though my blog is new and I am still not into making money from it, I will try and implement these simple and easy to follow tips.Will let you know Mike, if I crack gold with Twitter someday!

    • Thanks Arnab,
      If you follow the steps you will greatly improve your Twitter performance – definitely! Twitter is an interesting space – when you stop trying to sell and start sharing valuable content which helps others and when you focus on building relationships by helping others, your results improve dramatically! Let me know when you start to see an improvement.
      All the best

  20. You are so right about the selling. I don’t like to be sold to. I hate following someone and then being sent an auto DM asking me to buy their stuff. I also don’t follow anyone back that I see doesn’t converse with others. I want to converse. That’s about it.

    • Hi Brian,
      Don’t you just love it when they do that? Or when someone spams you with a “Get more followers” link with no profile pic and with a total of 15 followers? As soon as people start adding value instead of selling their results improve – I will not share any post that finishes with a pitch for a paid product.
      Thanks for visiting.
      All the best

  21. Very informative discussion on the use of various techniques for developing meaningful relationships with influential Twitter users. Potential benefits for the internet marketer are obvious.


    • Thanks Ellie,
      Appreciate the feedback! Twitter can be an amazing way to connect with a range of people if used correctly! I have met so many great people by using the methods described.
      All the best

  22. Hi Mike, I enjoyed your post, as usual. I can see that ‘good’ social networking is revolutionising the way we market ourselves.

    • Thanks very much Andrew,
      Appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Catch up with you soon.

  23. Thanks for all the powerful techniques. Indeed social media has a great impact on us due to it’s information. This also teaches us a lot that how to interact with others. Good information given by this post.

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