Strategies For Gaining Influence on Twitter

Want your twitter account to be more influential? Want to increase the number of your followers? Or increase the amount of traffic your account can generate? Me too. These are the strategies I use—with some success—on my own twitter account.

Tweet Like an Influencer

There’s no point trying to gain influence on Twitter if you’re not going to behave like someone influential. Luckily this isn’t that hard to do. In fact, you really only need to do two things: have an opinion and share valuable knowledge. But how do you do that in 140 characters?

To behave like an influencer in 140 characters try behaving like an influential blogger. If you have an opinion about something in a particular niche (cats; surfing; wine; whatever—just pick one) share that opinion—via twitter—in no uncertain terms. If you find valuable information related to a particular niche online, share a link to it.

Yep. It really is that easy. Do this—and do it often—and you’ll be tweeting like an influencer.

Follow The Right People At The Right Time

Following the right people at the right time means finding the current influencers in a focused niche on Twitter and following just enough of their engaged followers every weekday. I’ll explain this in plain English below by showing you exactly what I do.

Here we go. I’m very active in the world of WordPress and WordPress-related web design (I run ThemeShaper and Wpazo) so that’ll be our niche.

Step 1: Find the influencers

If you’re involved in a niche you probably know who these people are. They run popular blogs in a particular niche and have something like celebrity status. They’ll also have a sizable presence on Twitter. If you don’t know who these people are you can use a free service like WeFollow to find out who’s who on Twitter by keyword. (Like, for example, who are the major twitter influencers in the world of WordPress.)

For our example—in the world of WordPress and web design—we’ll look at Darren Hoyt. He’s popular on twitter, popular in the world of WordPress, and a respected web designer. Sounds like an influencer to me. On twitter he’s @darrenhoyt.

Step 2: Follow the engaged followers of influencers

I think the real measure of influence on Twitter is the number of Retweets—or RTs—your 140-character pronouncements can generate. Thus, if you want to be an influencer on Twitter, you need engaged followers that will retweet your tweets. But how do you find these followers and get them to follow you? Pretty easily, actually. You follow them.

Here’s my secret to doing this. I adapted it from advice I found in a surprisingly awesome and now defunct ebook called Twitter Rocket. Almost every weekday—whenever I feel like building up my twitter account—I load up the twitter search engine and follow 200 people who are retweeting the tweets of an influencer in my niche (the worlds of WordPress and web design).

For our example influencer, Darren Hoyt, I’d search for ‘RT’ and Darren’s twitter username, ‘@darrenhoyt’. (That would look something like this.)

Why only 200? That’s what the twitter ebook told me to do. And note: Yes, the ebook sounds like a huge scam. I thought so too. In fact, I bought it to prove it was a scam—but it really works. I’ve even recommended it to a real-life, human friend. Follow the advice in it and you really will rapidly gain good twitter followers. It’s it’s own 5-day plan of workable strategies for gaining influence on twitter.

So, will you pollute your ‘twitter stream’ doing this? I don’t think so. Not if you’re sincerely interested in the niche you’re tweeting in. Otherwise, you might want to use a program like TweetDeck to create a custom group of people you really want to follow.

Anyway, follow these people. If you’re blogging like an influencer in the same niche these people are interested in you’ll find that about 50 people will follow you back for every 200 you follow (those are the results I get). If you’re following too many people you can use a service like twitter karma once a week to unfollow people who don’t follow you back (or not—you can’t actually do that anymore). If you’re gaining 50 followers every weekday doing this that’s 13,000 crazy-engaged followers every year.

Let me repeat: an extra 13,000 followers every year. And each one of them are prone to retweet the things you’re interested in.

Send Traffic To People Who Link To Your Twitter Account

Once you gain some influence on Twitter people will begin to link your Twitter profile. Use Yahoo to find people that link to your Twitter account and favorite pages or sites with StumbleUpon.

Here’s how I do it. Check out this sample search for my personal twitter account.


About once a month I go through these results and whenever I wind up on a list of twitter users people should follow I favorite that list on StumbleUpon. Favoriting a page on StumbleUpon sends more traffic to that page. Sometimes a lot of traffic.

The idea here is that by helping to send more traffic to sites that link to your twitter account you increase the number of followers on your account and increase your influence.

Of course, this depends on you using StumbleUpon. Which you should anyway. It’s a lot of fun. If you don’t use StumbleUpon you might know someone who does, and they can favorite it. At the very least you should be tweeting about it though! Send more traffic to people that link to your twitter account!

Other Strategies

I’m sure there are other strategies for increasing your influence on twitter. What are you doing? If you have your own personal strategies leave them in the comments. Or send me a tweet on twitter and I’ll retweet it. You should follow me on twitter here.

5 responses to “Strategies For Gaining Influence on Twitter”

  1. Very useful breakdown of how to get Twitter followers. While it’s easy to get a high volume of traffic, I find the real trick is finding those pools of traffic that will convert into customers or passionate followers.

  2. Awesome post, Ian. As usual, you’ve written a crucial information post in a clear, concise way.

  3. Very good points Ian. Sending traffic to people that actively promote you, or not even traffic but even just praise, is something overlooked.

    I especially like the method you use to find these people. Thanks for the insight.


  4. Big fan Ian, but there’s a bit of a question of chicken and egg here or something. Why do you use so much energy on getting twitter followers? I mean… Twitter was created to make this influence-making and everything go by itself, right? What if this energy was spent making content (twitter is like meta-content) instead? I may be naive on this, but this seems a lot like the crazy friend frenzy we had at MySpace back in the day. Or am I crazy?

  5. […] possible to be influential with a less than eye popping twitter following? Probably and I just read this really good post on doing just that, but if there is one takeaway worth remembering it is that you should treat your twitter account as […]

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