The first thing you should do is identify the influential people in your industry. This is crucial. Just because someone has a high Klout score doesn’t mean they’re a good match for you. Someone may be highly influential about knitting, but you want to influence others about scholarships and grants. That person who is influential about knitting is about as useful to you as someone who doesn’t even use Twitter at all. Choose your connections wisely.
It is true that you reap what you sew. You can’t just start out by asking for favors or expecting influential people to interact with you. You need to prove your value to them first. Start by searching through their tweets. Reply, favorite and retweet things that you find interesting. Eventually, this interaction will pay off – trust me. Just remember that there is a fine line between engagement and stalking, so don’t be weird about it, and don’t dedicate every single one of your tweets to one person.
Now that you have spent some time engaging them, they have had the opportunity to learn more about you and recognize that you are both real and engaged. You can now create a specific tweet that is addressed directly to them. In doing so, indicate that you have read their tweets, bio and blog. Also make sure that you are posting something that will be of interest to them. If you don’t receive a reply, spend some more time engaging them before reaching out to them on Twitter once again.