How to be known by Influential People using Twitter Lists

Influential people are generally too busy with their emails, meetings, tweets etc

There are always benefits when more influential people know about you and think positively of you. If they like you, they are able to give you shootouts, advice, connections, and all that good stuff. However, it’s often very difficult to get their attention since they’re always bombarded with all sorts of things.

Twitter creates that opportunity for you to contact them instantly. But still, you’ve tweeted out to them before, and either they completely ignored you, or they responded back, made you feel great, and you know they forgot about you right after.

Engage your followers those you follow

Most advice out there tell you to engage your followers. I can’t agree more with that. However, if you want to get non-followers to know who you are (read: not to “follow” you), you’ll need to do more than that.

Based on some of my own experiences on Twitter, I learned a few things that can get peoples’ attention on it. With a bit over 20,000 followers, I’m definitely not a web celebrity or a big time influencer(they’re usually in the millions), but it is still impractical for me to really know everyone on my list. But there are somehow some folks that I’ve seen over and over again that I just feel I know them in some way, even when I know absolutely nothing about them besides they respond to my tweets or retweet me every once in a while.

These are people who go on my radar on a regular basis, although I don’t talk to them much. As time goes by, I become more and more familiar to them. It’s interesting, because I don’t even necessarily like them (some of them are kinda rude to others), but when they ask me for help, I usually follow through and do it for them. I feel like they are my Twitter friends, despite the lack of past communication.

A while ago, one of them for some reason stopped tweeting me. I didn’t really notice that he stopped when it happened, but after a few months, he retweeted me again. When I saw it, I thought, “Oh yea! This guy! I haven’t seen him for such a long time!” and so I tweeted him and asked how he was doing. We still don’t talk much, but I’m definitely part of his resources now. Out of all my followers, this guy was able to build implicit friendship with me with just a few tweets here and there.

If you are consistently and persistently there for someone, you can become his/her friend.

Getting tweets is not annoying because people are not EXPECTED to respond

A lot of people would ask, “Well, wouldn’t it be really annoying if I keep tweeting them, when they don’t even want to respond?”

That’s sometimes true for email, but on Twitter as long as you are saying appropriate and relevant things, people don’t mind. The difference between Twitter and email here is that in emails, people are expected to respond to you.ย This creates some implicit pressure and annoyance when you are constantly sending them something.

But in Twitter, oftentimes a response to their witty comment or expression of gratitude does not give people this kind of pressure. They simply feel that their tweet is getting more responses from others and will probably feel good about themselves.

This is the same philosophy as constantly commenting on other blogs. If you do it once, it’s almost as if you haven’t done anything. But if you are always there commenting whenever someone has a new post, you will be discovered. Like right now Johann Ly can ask me any favor and I’ll probably say yes ๐Ÿ™‚

So don’t worry about annoying people (obviously don’t tweet them 20 times in one day). Just stay persistent and good things will come.

Here are 7 steps to ย become known by influencers:

Step 1: Make sure your Twitter Icon is distinctive

You should have nailed this by now. Most people on Twitter identify you as your little icon instead of your name. Your image needs to stand out from the rest so that people make no mistake if they have talked to you before. I purposely made my Twitter icon more “digitalized” with the white background so it’s easily recognizable when people see it. If you haven’t even nailed down this part, you should check out one of my most popular posts: How to Start, Settle, and Fall in Love with Twitter.

Step 2: Follow the Lists of people you want to connect with

This is the important part. Once you know who you want to meet (famous investors, programmers, retail company accounts etc etc), you should either put together your own “awesome people I want to meet” list, or go on sites like Listorious to find that group of people. Try to only focus on a handful of groups because the purpose of using lists is to narrow it down to a manageable amount of people that you can actually engage and build relationships with. Follow the list through Twitter so it can be piped into your apps.

Step 3: Setup the lists as columns in your computer Twitter Clients

Once the lists is added onto Twitter, you should create a column for each list in your computer Twitter Client such as Seesmic, Tweetdeck, or Hootsuite. They all offer tools that help you import lists and engage with them. Make sure that the column is at a place that you will easily see on a daily basis, instead of hidden somewhere so you’ll be reminded to do this often.

Step 4: Setup the lists as columns on your mobile Twitter Client

Besides setting the lists up on your computer, you also want to make sure you set it up on your mobile apps. I personally feel that Tweetdeck is the best on the iPhone(though I don’t like it as much on the desktop) because it allows you to store/view multiple lists very easily.

Step 5: Devote 15 minutes a day to respond to and retweet everyone on the list

After you have it set up on your Desktop/Web client, try to devote 15 minutes everyday to engage the people on the list. Retweet what they say with a few words before it (like “That IS pretty funny! RT @cow….”)ย , respond to things they say, and cheer them on when appropriate. The point is that you don’t even need to say anything intellectual. You can just say, “Good luck with your meeting!” or “Wow, that’s pretty amazing!” “Thanks for sharing the link” and that’s all fine. The point is to get them to see you icon on a regular basis, even if they ignore you.

Step 6: Engage your Follow Lists through mobile whenever you are waiting for something

Do the exact same thing when you are outdoors waiting for something. If you are waiting in line, on the bus, at a meeting where the other person is late, just take out your mobile phone and tweet away. You want to be there as much as you can. I actually never feel bored anymore when I’m waiting for something since I really just tweet away (even when I’m waiting for food to be served in a fast-food place). Before doing this, I would only tweet out once, then respond to a few @ messages, maybe check out a few interesting trends or keywords, but really most of it is just finding something to do but not necessarily productive. This makes life more interesting.

Step 7: Do this continuously until the people recognize your name and start to respond to you

After you do this for awhile, people will start noticing you. By then, when you actually need some help, you have a good chance of receiving by just tweeting them, “Hey, I was wondering if you could help out and share this” or “Hey, I have some questions regarding ecommerce sites. Is it possible to ask you some questions?” If they actively remember you retweeting their stuff and responding to them whenever they are sharing their feelings, you have good odds of this going through.

Ultimately, you want to think of them as real friends instead of “targets.” However, since you had no chance of becoming friends naturally, it’s useful to apply strategies to build genuine relationships. When a guy’s pursuing a girl, he’s looking for a genuine relationship, but he’s also gotta be a little tactful and shrewd to stand out from all the other men who are trying to get her attention.

What are other ways to meet people that are usually too busy to talk to you?

Have you ever tried out other ways to make important and busy people talk to you besides the typical cold email or getting referrals? It would be awesome if you can share it in the comments so everyone can learn.

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17 thoughts on “How to be known by Influential People using Twitter Lists”

  1. Ufff! A long time since someone post here.

    I found this amazing site a couple of days ago and some post really deserves a comment no matter how old they are.

    This one particularly I found extremely useful. I participate in a workshop with Rami Ismail and one point he insist on over and over was keeping an active tweeter life, post regularly some of our own insights or feelings. Show ourselves as flesh and bone.

    A question or two:
    Manage all virtual communities is very time consuming. Facebook, Tweeter, Linkedin, G+, etc. How do you manage to keep track and successfully participate without spend too much valuable time?

    What do you think about sites like Quora as a tool to get better known as a Game Designer?

    Stay Awesome!

  2. I agree. But of course are they going to become a successful model that makes money is still yet to be seen ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I just visited and the first impression is that it is a direct rip off from twitter, translating it into chinese. Probably the business model is localization. Anyway, it seems successful, real results speak louder.

  4. Hi, Yu Kai,

    Definitely, all of us always hope that you and jun will succeed. The startup life is always a tougher choice compare to getting a stable corporate job. Our team always have doubts too and sometimes struggle due to differences in terms of opinions and directions. What we do is we just keep pushing ahead, taking 1 small step at a time.

  5. Wow, that’s really cool. Sometimes I get so focused on pushing forward the startup that I don’t leave time to write blogposts, but it’s folks like you that keep me posting semi-regularly!

    I’ll let you know if I go to Malaysia or Singapore. Same if you come to Vancouver or California.

    Btw, do you guys do Facebook Apps?

  6. Hi, YuKai,

    Our team is currently working on project that still cannot be revealed due to some NDA stuff. But mostly, we work on the LAMP stack like everyone else. If you happen to come to Malaysia or Singapore, do inform us, we might have a chat, you are a terrific inspiration, and a few guys beside me read your blog daily.

  7. Hey Fromasia! (btw, which country from Asia?)

    Thanks for the care and concern! We actually switched our model recently, focusing on the revenue side of our business first.

    Our social media service will fade into the backend for now as we are focusing on helping eCommerce sites run on Magento build a recommendation engine.

    Hope all is well and take care!

  8. Hi, YuKai,

    We are a small team from Malaysia & Singapore. Mostly coders and infrastructure guys. Good to hear that viralogy is still going strong.

    1. Oh cool! Let me know more about what you guys do. Maybe one day there are opportunities of working together ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Hey Yukai,

    I had also been wondering what happened to viralogy, are you all planning on a relaunch? It was doing pretty well previously.

  10. I just visited and the first impression is that it is a direct rip off from twitter, translating it into chinese. Probably the business model is localization. Anyway, it seems successful, real results speak louder.

  11. Haha, well, a lot of twitter usage is for business and branding, so you don’t necessarily need your friends using it. Some people use it well, and some people don’t get it. It’s not for everyone for sure ๐Ÿ™‚ In Asia, I think Plurk has a bigger marketshare. My friend also made this site called and it’s catching on a bit.

  12. I just never use twitter, the idea of google buzz even freak me off. Twitter is not popular here in our country either, so there is not much point of using it since none of our friends will be reading your tweets anyway.

You must engage in the conversation!!