If you traveled back in time to the fictional universe of MAD MEN and tried to explain to Don Draper what social media platforms were, even a man of his caliber would be dumbfounded.  Social platforms, especially Twitter, have become greater than the intent of their creation and are constantly evolving.  Keeping up with these changes is vital to your relevance in social media, and ultimately becomes a major aspect of your brand’s marketing mix.  Don’t worry; you won’t have to do it alone.  There are millions of people-let’s call them ‘social influencers’-out there on Twitter who are keen to help. But before you can pursue them, we need to answer these three questions:

  1. Who should I be talking to?
  2. How do I find them?
  3. What do I say to them?

Fortunately, breaking it down this way helps simplify the process and can get you going in no time at all.

What Is A Social Influencer?

Before we get to those three questions, it might be wise for us to establish what the term ‘social influencer’ means.  The elementary definition from Merriam-Webster states that an influencer is “one that influences.” A social influencer is no different.  Users, who are actively engaged on social media platforms and have a wide audience, would be considered a social influencer.

Question 1:  Who Should I Be Talking To?

To no surprise, this first question is the most important of the three.  If you’re reaching out to the wrong influencers, you’re not just wasting their time but you’re wasting your time too.  Social media marketing can be a pricey investment, so it’s important that you’re resources are being allocated efficiently.

It’s easy to reach out to almost everybody, but the trick is honing into a specific type of influencer, one whose interests align with your brand.  For example, if you own a gym, you might seek out influencers with an interest in health, fitness, and nutrition but not reading, video games, or puppies. Sure, you can reach out to these people, and you might even get some engagement, but it won’t be relevant engagement.  You’re looking for users who relate to your brand and just so happen to have an audience with similar interests.

That’s the whole point of perusing a social influencer-finding that audience.  A larger audience means more eyes on your content, more eyes on your content means more exposure for your brand.  It’s basically free marketing. Find the right influencers and you can maximum brand exposure, simple as that.

Question 2: How Do I Find Them?

You that you have a better understanding of the type of social influencers you should be reaching out to, and hopefully have established the type that is right for your brand, let’s talk about how you’re going to go about finding them.  One of the most efficient tools to locate social influencers with is Followerwonk–hands down. It’s free and extremely user-friendly, so I highly recommend it if you’re in need of a little bit of help.  Below explains how it works using  the gym example from earlier:

Step 1. Go to www.followerwonk.com

Step 2. Click the ‘Search bios’ tab in the top left

Step 3. In the search bar, type the keyword: fitness (this will search for any twitter accounts with the word ‘fitness’ in their bio)

Step 4. Click the more options tab below the search bar, and in the location box type: LA (this allows us to narrow the audience range a bit)

Step 5. Click the orange ‘Do it’ button. Below is a screenshot from follwerwonk:


And that’s it! You now have access to the most influential people in LA on twitter who are interested in fitness.  You’re able to see the number of tweets, the number of followers, and the social authority of their accounts.  Clicking on their user names will take you directly to their twitter account, so you can investigate them further and see if they are worth reaching out to. Remember, this was just a generic search.  Get creative with your keywords and location words.  You’ll be surprised at how a few tweaks to your wording might increase your results. A few other tips to keep in mind:

1. Avoid accounts that have a lot of followers but no engagement from users. It’s possible that they bought their followers.

2. Users that constantly retweet political or sensitive content can be bad for your brand’s image. It’s best to avoid them.

3. If you use Google Chrome, download the Klout extension. It’s another form of measuring someone’s influence on social and is a great tool to use when choosing influencers.  A high Klout Score signifies a large social influence.

Question 3: What Do I Say To Them?

It’s time to break the ice! Now you know how to locate your influencers using Followerwonk, but do you know how to communicate with them?  Poor influencer outreach can break this whole process, so tread lightly and plan your attack before you start sending your tweets. Remember when I mentioned “…more eyes on your content”? The level of exposure to those eyes hinges on your ability to communicate creatively.

Keep It Conversational

I cannot stress this point enough. Most companies don’t practice this and they pay the price in the end. No one likes spam. If your content even slightly resembles spam, don’t expect your engagement rate to be very high. There is a difference between promoting your brand and coming off as desperate.  You want these influencers to respond to your content, so give them a reason to.  Engage in a thoughtful conversation with them.  You don’t need to promote your brand.  Let their re-engagement do that for you.

Make It Personal

People love to talk about themselves on the internet.  Utilize that. When you’re reaching out to influencers, try including their names your tweets rather than just their twitter handle.  It’s a small touch, but a little goes a long way.  Ask them an open ended-question geared towards their interests or make a comment about something in their profile.  If you do the research and put some thought into your engagement, you’ll see results.

Build Relationships

At the end of the day, that’s what social media marketing is all about.  It’s about establishing a relationship with your audience, and showing them that you care.  Most of the influencers on twitter understand why businesses reach out to them and are used to the engagement.  It’s a mutually beneficial to both parties.  They continue to maintain their presence on social, and your brand gets the exposure you’ve been craving.  These are the influencers you want to focus on. Find people who will engage with you in conversation and build relationships with them.  Keep in mind, some users just flat out won’t respond, but that’s okay because there are plenty who are waiting and willing to.


Each and every day social influencers are becoming bigger players in the world of marketing, and if you haven’t started using them as a marketing tool, you need to.  Always keep in mind that with social media marketing, no matter what aspect of you’re dealing with, it is not a sales tactic.  It’s about exposure and brand image.  You are establishing your online presence so when a consumer is out there debating what gym they should start going to, they’ll find yours and see that you’re actively engaged on social media which will hopefully persuade them to join your gym.  It’s a stretch, but so are most facets of marketing.