How to Find Industry Leaders and Competitors on Twitter

By Kyle Lacy

If you are marketing on Twitter you need to learn how to find industry leaders and competitors in your area. Leaders write the articles in the trade journals, get invited to give keynote speeches and presentations at conferences, and get interviewed by media as industry experts.

The experts write the books about their fields, and everyone knows who they are. These people are the thought leaders and idea makers. You can find these leaders just by doing a simple name search on Twitter’s Find People – Who to Follow page and following them.

You can also build your own brand and reputation if you begin conversations with these leaders and evangelists. Retweet their stories, tweet links to their articles, and ask them questions. The following Web sites can help you find leaders in your field:

  • Twollow: Do a search for specific keywords and automatically follow people who use those keywords in their tweets. Twollow is a great service that requires you to pay a fee after your 7-day free trial has expired.

    If you don’t upgrade your account, Twollow will upgrade the account automatically to the Bronze package. Keep this in mind and remember to delete or upgrade.

  • TweepSearch: Search tweets or profile bios for specific keywords, and get a list of people you can follow. You can search for keywords that can pull users into a list for you to peruse! You can also download a .csv file of the list.

    TweepSearch lets you easily find people and export the information to a .csv file.
    TweepSearch lets you easily find people and export the information to a .csv file.

Remember that if the main reason you’re on Twitter is to promote your product or service to potential customers, your competitors are on Twitter for that reason, too. So, why not keep an eye on them and see what they’re saying? Hopefully, you’ve been keeping track of your competition anyway, and you know who the players are in your field. Do a search for them by using Twitter’s Find People – Who to Follow page and Search features.

If you’re using TweetDeck, create a group for people in your industry whom you want to keep track of, such as industry leaders, evangelists, important customers, and even your competition.

If your industry doesn’t have any leaders, maybe you can become one. Build a following of people in your industry, and then blog and tweet about the issues in your industry. Several excellent books discuss how to become an expert in your field:

  • Get Slightly Famous: Become a Celebrity in Your Field and Attract More Business With Less Effort, by Steven Van Yoder (Bay Tree Publishing)

  • How to Position Yourself as the Obvious Expert, by Elsom Eldridge Jr. and Mark L. Eldridge (MasterMind Publishing, LLC)

  • How to Become an Expert on Anything in Two Hours, by Gregory Hartley and Maryann Karinch (AMACOM)

You can find many others, too; just use the one that suits you.