No matter what industry you’re in, an effective Twitter presence as part of your inbound marketing campaign can be a challenge. The whole point of this social media platform is being part of the conversation with your Twitter followers, which comprise at least some volume of your online target audience. The tough part is figuring out how these conversations can be used to generate leads and how you find the time to interact with them.

This aspect of Twitter use is probably its most misunderstood feature. The truth is that you don’t necessarily need to talk to all of your followers; you just need to converse with the right ones. This is where your Key Influencers come in.

What are Key Influencers on Twitter?

In a nutshell, these individuals are the people followed by your target audience, as well as those users that your target audience interacts with via tweets, re-tweets and responses. Having a conversation with a Key Influencer is much like giving a presentation to a captivated audience; the key, of course, is to make sure the audience is truly spellbound by your material.

How do I figure out who my Key Influencers are?

Start simple by looking at your company and what you do to solve problems. Your existing customer base is an excellent indication of what your target audience would be, but look online as well. Input search terms that prospects would typically use to find your company and you’ll probably see businesses similar to yours.

These complementary companies are ground zero for finding your Key Influencers. Have a look at each one’s Twitter followers and see what it does to interact via the feed. You can also review the Klout score to see a business’ social influence, which is a sign that it converses with followers and shares content.

Can Key Influencers help increase lead generation?

When you know who your Key Influencers are, you should begin interacting with them. Offer advice, ask a question and re-tweet their content. Here is where Twitter becomes especially useful as an online marketing tool for lead generation. Review the feed periodically and use historical information to determine the type and style of content that’s the most effective, i.e., most likely to be re-tweeted by Key Influencers. The more you interact, the more you increase your online exposure and become visible to your target audience. To measure your success, check out your online mentions through Google Alerts.

No online marketing campaign would be complete without a Twitter component, but it’s not enough to just set up a profile and tweet links to your blog. It’s important to reach out to your Key Influencers and become part of the conversations they’re having. Before you engage with them, however, you need to know who they are and what they can do for your company. The process of discovering your Key Influencers might be somewhat time-consuming, but it’s worth it when you master this very powerful Twitter feature and generate more leads.