Working With Social Media Influencers on Twitter: Using Private Lists.

You have probably heard this wise thought many times: the best way to spread the word about your company, product, or service in social media is to reach out to the influencers in your topic and engage with them on a regular basis. This blog post will tell you how to find influencers on Twitter and manage relationships with them using private lists.


Social Media Influencer: a person who spreads the word (tweets, blogs, post Facebook updates, answers questions, etc) about a particular topic of interest and has a substantial amount of dedicated followers on social media websites. Can be an expert in the field (journalist, professional, etc.) or just a fan of the topic (a customer who uses particular products very often and enjoy talking about them).

Twitter private lists: a collection of Twitter users united by a particular topic of interest. Adding users to private lists allows only you to see the collected users, so your competitors or anyone else won’t be able to access it and take advantage of it.

Part one: Defining your targeted influencers and creating private lists.

Although you can create just one list and name it “influencers, it is highly recommended to spend some time and define major groups of social media influencers for your business. Firstly, it will be easier to engage with them in the future; secondly, it will give you more ideas on keywords and key phrases to find them (next step).

You can create private twitter lists of influencers based of the following criteria:

– What kind of product or service they use;

– Professional/Expertise level;

– Location/Places where they hang out (brick and mortar as well as virtual where your target customers can be found often);

– Mixed criteria (product/service + expertise);

– Anything that works for your company and goes along with your marketing strategy.


You are skateboarding company that sells skateboards and longboards.

You can create private lists based on a type of product: “Skateboarders Influencers” and “Longboarders Influencers”.

Example of professional/expertise level would be: “Pro/sponsored skaters”, “Amateurs“, “Extreme Sport Journalists and Reporters”, “Skate accessories manufacturers/distributors”, and even “Competitors”.

Places based private lists on Twitter would look like: “Skateparks” (brick and mortar place), “Skate websites” (popular websites, blogs, and forums related to skateboarding).

Mixed lists would sound like “Professional skateboarders”, “Pro longboarders”, “Journalists covering skateboard topics”, and so on and so forth.

Part two: Finding targeted influencers on Twitter and making initial contact.

1. Think about what would each group of influencers write about and prepare list of keywords and phrases they would use often.

Returning to our skateboarding business example, the keywords for “Skateboarders” would be: skate, skating, skateboard, skate park, names of popular skateboarding websites, etc.

2. Use Twitter search to find users who post tweets with the keywords and phrases mentioned above (search.twitter.com).

3. Search for public Twitter lists with the same or similar titles (if available).

4. Follow the users you found on Twitter.

5. Look at their profile and tweets to determine to which private list of influencers (from part one) they belong to, and, if they are influential enough (tweet often about the subject, have a lot of followers, engage with them regularly) – add them to the list.

Part three: Engaging with influencers.

1. Monitor your followers list and personally thank each new follower who added you or added your back (not only influencers, but everyone, if you have time).

2. Look if there are any influencers in the users who followed you first. Follow them back and add them to a private list, of course.

3. Constantly monitor each influencers list and retweet (RT) interesting tweets.

4. Regularly engage influencers in conversation: answer their questions, ask them questions, comment about their tweets, and so on. In other words, make them notice you!

5. If some influencers don’t follow your back after several weeks of engagement, ask them to do so informally (example: “by the way, we post some cool skateboarding videos often in our feed, you are welcome to follow us back :)).

6. When time comes and you have important information you want to share (a promotion, video, new product, etc.), select the most appropriate list of influencers (or all of them) and tweet the info with the link to them (@Username).

7. Try not to use direct messages often, since a lot of users associate them with automation software and spam and rarely check them.

8. When you have important information or a link to share, don’t tweet it to all the influencers right away – it can be seen as a spam by some users. Spread it in time and mix it with other tweets and retweets generously.

Have fun and good luck with finding and engaging with the best influencers in social media! 🙂

Author: Sergey Izbash

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