There are many ways to make the most of Twitter, with one particular thing to focus on and enjoy being to find influential people in a field. Networking on Twitter is more, however, than just dipping in and out of a subject – you can get access to stories before they become widespread, and sample a wide range of different links. Everyday use of Twitter can gradually build followers and networks, and can help you to gain a comprehensive understanding of news and views on subjects.
What are some of the best ways, then, to find the most influential people for your niche on Twitter?
When just starting out on Twitter, it’s a good idea to search for people that you’re already aware of from a niche – these people might include authors, professors, and politicians; you can then check their Friend list, and gradually build up different categories. Twitter is very effective at this knock on effect, whereby a few adds can translate into hundreds of people writing about the same subject.
Checking networks on other sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Academia.edu can also mean you can quickly boost the amount of people you follow.
Websites and Apps
Multiple websites and apps are available to make it easier for you to find the most influential people; one good example is Wefollow.com, which tags categories, and allows you to search on people that are tweeting a lot on certain subjects. The main page for Wefollow includes lists for subjects as diverse as ‘falconry’ and ‘knitting,’ and contains listings of people that have posted using keywords, or that have been picked up and retweeted by other people.
Other useful web apps to make use of when trying to find people include Topsy, which is a search engine that allows you to break down the number of people posting in any one particular area; sites like Topsy are useful if you want to get more of your niche, and can be used alongside management apps such as Hootsuite – this app is particularly strong at categorizing your Twitter contacts into different lists – doing so can help simplify what can become a very confusing amount of information, and can ensure that you don’t miss the most important information or retweets.
However, it’s also important to use Twitter as a way to expand your search to other sites and networks; check for Twitter handles in magazines, and try to follow people’s blogs and Tumblrs if they are posting a lot, and authoritatively, on Twitter. The more you use Twitter, the easier it’ll become to find like-minded people and to realize who is making an important contribution to a field. Look for hashtags (#) to see what’s trending, and break down your categories through apps like Hootsuite to follow conversations and disputes.
Other programs work using include PeerIndex and Klout, which can provide tallies of who’s deemed to be authoritative on a subject, which can be measured through retweets, inbound links and other metrics.
Again, LinkedIn Groups is recommended if you want to get a quick sense of how a particular business niche is operating, and who is a good person to follow in terms of group moderators or influential speakers. Using websites like Google Reader can similarly make it easy to break down a lot of disparate content into RSS feeds and plain text files.