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Published April 3rd 2012

How to be an Influencer on Twitter

We spoke with internet expert Tudor Davies on his recent ideas about how to engage with other users on Twitter.

He’s put together this piece to explain what he means in his slideshow that he created on his site.

These thoughts are certainly interesting: what do you think?

Twitter is a social network

The term ‘social network’ is often thrown around without much thought about what it actually means.

A lot of people don’t realise that Twitter is a ‘network’, or if they do, then they don’t know what techniques are the best to employ in order to make the most of Twitter’s network properties.

Understanding that Twitter is a network can give any social media enthusiast a better footing in order to gain followers and genuinely interact with complete strangers.

Twitter is a Tree

Firstly, you need to think of Twitter as a tree branch, with each person on Twitter connecting with smaller branches, and subsequently passing on news down the branch.

When you think of Twitter in terms of this new model you can see that key figures within an industry are closer to the tree base and they tweet to followers within the branches as the news filters all the way to the less significant branches.

If you think of Twitter in this way then you have three options:

  • Top-down approach: This is where you follow ‘hubs’ or ‘kingpins’ within a particular industry.

This is great if you just want to use Twitter to find out about news, but it is a poor approach if you are trying to engage with people.

  • Bottom-up approach: This where you follow people who have similar interests to yourself but ignore the “hubs”.

Although, this approach could create a micro-community of people tweeting to each other, it is has a low reach.

This approach also means that you won’t be in-the-loop about the latest stories, as it may take hours for news to filter up the branches to you.

  • Mixed approach: This is where you employ both techniques by becoming a middle man following the hubs and then retweeting and moving the discussion down to the smaller, less influential users.

This technique is much more successful than the top-down or bottom-up approaches because of one simple reason: this technique appreciates the way in which Twitter functions as a network, and it utilises Twitter’s very nature in order to attract more followers.

By adopting the mixed approach and becoming a middle man you filter all the good news and then retweet it to the people at the very bottom of the chain.

Without you as the middle man it may have taken hours for these small fry to find out the latest news.

You are essentially cutting off the unnecessary branches within the network and connecting directly between the power influencers and the smaller users a lot faster than they are used to.

This speed is what makes people want to follow you.

Hopefully, by seeing Twitter in this new light you should be able to improve upon your Twitter behaviour by staying on top of the news and then immediately tweeting to those that care.

For more information and diagrams see the accompanying slideshow.

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