How to get Influencers & Authorities to Follow you on Twitter

how to get influencers to follow you on twitter

Wouldn’t it be awesome if some of the top authorities in your industry followed you on Twitter? Sure, it’s nice to be able to brag about having the top influencers in your industry following you, but that’s not the real reason you should be aiming to connect with them. Being followed by people like Rand Fishkin, Jeff Bullas, or Jay Baer shows people that you’re respected by the top folks in your industry, which gives you more credibility and more reach. It’s kind of like being popular by association.

I’m honored to be connected on Twitter with people that I really respect like  Rebekah Radice, Neil Patel, and John Lee Dumas. These are some of the most inspiring marketers out there. So the fact that they were kind enough to hit the follow button for me is a pretty freaking awesome.

But trust me. This didn’t happen overnight. Getting top authorities to follow you on Twitter usually isn’t as easy as following them and having them follow you back. In some cases, I’ve had to put in a lot of work to get acknowledgement from authorities, and it doesn’t always work. Twitter influencers are busy, get asked for things A LOT, and have new people following them every day. So don’t be surprised if they don’t follow you.

If you want to get on the radar of the top people in your industry, here are some tips to help you avoid being just another follower, and become someone authorities want to follow.

Target The Right Influencers

The chances of me getting Seth Godin to follow me on Twitter are slim to none. The guy is only following one account. I wouldn’t even waste my time trying to become number two.

And let’s take someone like Drew Eric Whitman. The author of one of my favorite books, Ca$hvertising. The guy is an absolute authority in the world of marketing and sales. But let’s be honest. His Twitter page sucks. It’s inactive, so there’s no real value in having him follow me.

Your goal for finding influencers and authorities on Twitter is to find people who are respected, active, and might actually follow you back. You probably have somewhat of an idea of who the top people in your industry or niche are already. But you’ll want to make a pretty large list because 5-10 accounts isn’t going to cut it.

You can use tools like Klout or Followerwonk to help find influencers. But my preferred tool is ManageFlitter. Here’s how you do it.

In ManageFlitter, go to Manage>Power Mode > Create Filter. Then use these settings, except change out the bio search box with relevant keywords for your industry. By checking the “Popular” box, ManageFlitter uses it’s set criteria to find authorities and influencers, so it automates the process for you.

find influencers manageflitter

You might have to do a few searches with different keywords to build up a hefty list. Some of the people you find will actually just follow you back without having to do anything else. But for the top influencers. The ones that don’t follow back everyone who follows them. You’re going to have to go beyond just hoping for a follow back.

Tweet Them With An @Mention!

This is one of the simplest steps you can take to get on the radar of authorities. But a lot of people mess up because:

  1. They’re too scared
  2. They do it incorrectly

Twitter is so public that the thought of doing an @mention to someone popular and being completely ignored in front of the whole Twitterverse can be absolutely nerve wracking and stomach turning. And then the imposture syndrome starts to kick in and you think to yourself, “who am I to tweet Gary Vaynerchuk?”

Throw all those thoughts in the trash where they belong. For one, people get ignored on Twitter all the time, don’t take it personally. Most of the times it’s just because the person you’re @mentioning overlooked your tweet. And then there’s some people who just don’t respond to tweets very often. It’s not a big deal. I @mention people all the time and don’t get a reply, favorite, or a retweet. But guess what? I just keep tweeting because it doesn’t matter.

The second problem people run into is tweeting at people the wrong way. Never @mention someone asking them them to follow you, whether they’re an authority or not. It just screams desperation and makes it seem like all you’re after is more followers.

The right way to do it is to compliment them. Let them know you found one of their blog posts helpful. Send out a genuine tweet about how much you’ve learned from them. You don’t have to suck up and kiss ass, but something like this tweet I got can be really effective.

Jacqui just gave me a quick thank you for my post on how to make SlideShare presentations, and an example of how she put what she learned into action. It was an awesome gesture, so I followed Jacqui back. Sometimes it’s that simple.

Share Their Content

One thing all three of the people I mentioned above (Rebekah, JLD, and Neil Patel) have in common is that they’re all people who’s content I share A LOT. I quote JLD and reference Entrepreneur On Fire CONSTANTLY on my blog. I link to Neil Patel’s Quick Sprout posts in darn near every post I make. And I tweet out and +1 Rebekah’s blog posts on a regular basis.

Obviously I do it because they put out awesome content. But I also do it as a way to stay on their radar. When the same name keeps popping up constantly on Twitter as someone who’s tweeting out your content, eventually you’re going to take notice. Whether it’s consciously or subconsciously (like in the movie Focus), when someone keeps seeing the same thing over and over again, it’ll start to get embedded in their brain.

On top of that, people like brand advocates. When you’re constantly sharing someone’s content with your followers, authorities will pick up on that. Some people will add you to a Twitter list of “advocates” or “content sharers” to acknowledge that you’re helping drive traffic to their site. And on those super awesome occasions, they’ll follow you back because they don’t see you as just another follower anymore. You’re providing value for their brand.

Be Worth Following

If your tweets suck, then what’s the point of someone following you? Authorities that are really active on Twitter can be pretty selective about who they follow. They generally only want to follow their core fans, people they know personally, or people that are offering some kind of value. Otherwise their streams get packed with spam.

Make sure that you’re tweeting out high quality content related to your industry. You’d be surprised by how many authorities and influencers use Twitter to see what’s happening in their industry. By positioning yourself as someone who’s always up on the latest trends and news, you’ll give them more of a reason to follow you.

On the same note, when your Twitter stream is bare, inactive, and boring, you start to blend into the crowd instead of standing out. Here’s some tips:

  • Setup a good profile pic with a image of yourself (NO EGGS!)
  • Create a good bio that mentions what you do, and your industry
  • Make a cover photo that stands out somehow
  • Tweet consistently

Make Yourself Known On Their Blog

If they have a blog, make yourself known by commenting on their posts. This kind of ties back in with the second tip. But the more that they see your name, the more familiar they’ll be with you. If you’re commenting on their posts on a regular basis, and then they see you share their posts on Twitter, you’re not just some dude tweeting their content. You’re Jacob Latner (completely made that name up) that comments on their blog posts.

The goal here is build familiarity. Remember, the point of social media is to connect. You want to establish relationships with authorities and influencers, not just have them follow you.

Follow People They’re Following

I’m sure you’ve all seen the “Who to follow” box on Twitter. Part of the formula that Twitter uses to suggest people for you to follow is looking at people who you’re already connected with on Twitter. Then, Twitter will make suggestions based on who your connections are following.

Twitter Follow Suggestions


If you’re able to get a lot of people that an influencer’s following to follow you too, then you’ll have a better chance of showing up in the “Who to follow” section.

You can use a tool like ManageFlitter to find the people your target influencers are following, and then try the follow back method to build up your initial base of followers.

This technique can take some time, but it’s a good way to get some valuable, targeted followers.

Don’t Unfollow Them

Here’s what a lot of people do:

  1. Follow an influencer
  2. Wait a week or two for them to follow back
  3. If they haven’t followed back, unfollow them

Don’t fall into that routine. Getting influencers to follow you takes time. It can take months in some cases. And if your main goal for following authorities is just to get them to follow you back, then you’re not using Twitter correctly in the first place.

Ideally, the influencers in your industry will be tweeting out valuable tips and insights. So even if they never follow you back, it shouldn’t count as a loss for you. Keep sharing their content, interacting with them, and establish a real relationship. Just like in real life, strong relationships don’t just build up after a week. Sure, you’ll have the occasional person that you connect with right away. But with all the spam accounts people have to weed through, and the speed that Twitter moves, it can take time.

Be patient.

Start Connecting!

Connecting with influencers and authorities on Twitter is about a lot more than just being able to say the popular kids are following you. Over time, as you build and grow your relationships with these people, some real business opportunities can start to happen. At the very least, you’ll be able to get more reach for your content than you’d get from having 5,000 people with little to no authority following you.

Set a goal to connect with at least 1 influencer this week. Just to get your feet wet. Over time, you’ll notice that it gets easier because authorities will see that people they respect are following you, and it’ll create a snowball effect. Shoot me an email to let me know how it goes, or feel free to leave a comment with your tips on how to get influencers to follow you on Twitter.


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