One of the tenets of marketing on Twitter is to find and connect with the most influential users in your industry. There are several sites and directories that claim to offer an easy way to find those users. But, in my experience, none those sites/tools alone is adequate to really find who you should be following. But, if you use a couple of them together, you may have better luck in finding who the real influencers are in your niche/industry.
Finding Influential People on Twitter
Here’s a quick way to identify Twitter accounts that might be worth following using two tools: WeFollow.com and Klout.com.
1. Start at WeFollow.com
Begin by typing your industry keyword(s) into the search box on WeFollow.com. That will give you list of users listed by influence (as WeFollow defines it), and the option to see the same list sorted by most followers.
For example, if you search for “seo,” WeFollow will show you a list of some excellent Twitter accounts in the SEO industry. (Note: WeFollow only shows users who’ve added themselves to the directory, so your industry may not be as active as SEO folks are in listing themselves.)
Jot down the Twitter usernames of the top 5 or 10 users (or more if you have time/desire to dig deeper).
2. Go to Klout.com
When you have your list of usernames from WeFollow.com, go to Klout.com and put each one of them into the search box, one at a time. Klout is a site that claims to measure Twitter influence; I don’t agree exactly with how it does that, but it can still provide some value.
Using the same “seo” example, if you search for WeFollow’s first name (above), you’ll reach Matt Cutts’ Klout page. The interesting part isn’t necessarily the numbers and measurements, it’s the part about halfway down the page where it shows you who Matt is influenced by, like this:
You can see immediately that Danny Sullivan’s name shows up in both screenshots, so that’s a good sign that Danny is an influential and important SEO-related Twitter user. (Disclaimer: I work with Danny at Search Engine Land and Sphinn.) But you can also see several other users who influence an influential user. That’s a nice combination.
Do that with about 5-10 names from the original WeFollow list, and you’ve got a good start on identifying some of the most important and influential Twitter users in your industry. There’ll probably be some overlap, some names that show up multiple times — but you should still be able to identify 20 or more quality Twitter users.
An Important Caveat
I’d be careful about measuring/considering Twitter accounts that have a zillion followers and also follow a zillion people in return. Accounts like this often get tagged as influential because of how many followers they have, but in some cases, those aren’t “natural” followers; they might have been acquired via various exchanges/platforms that offer reciprocal following.
Ultimately, the gross number of followers that a Twitter user has isn’t a true measure of that person’s influence. But using the technique above, you can learn who influences the influencers — and that’s often a good measure.