Obviously, it's worth finding tweeps like this in your niche and following them … But remember that many influencers are aloof, and some are even downright arrogant. They often don't engage much -- at least not with other tweeps who are not already in their league.
So, when seeking them out, look for ones who do retweet tweeps who aren't influencers themselves -- and who reply to them too. If they do both, that's great. But they might only focus on one form of engagement. That's okay too.
Even if they do neither of these things they can still be well worth following. And you can tap into their influence in your own way. That is simply by replying to them.
Remember that your typical "A-List" influencer has many thousands if followers. So if you can get in early -- ideally with something good, insightful and memorable -- with a reply your profile will get in front of many people, most of whom have never seen it before.
There's a good chance that this tweet will be retweeted one or more times down the track by the influencer, too. Your comment will still be there, just underneath it. So it can end up getting thousands of extra impressions after a while.
That will certainly gain you new followers. But even if it doesn't, it's still lifting your profile. Your handle and account photo are being seen by many, many people. (Every little bit helps, as they say. And this is more than just a little bit!)
To get the best effect from these tweet replies, however, you can't just follow any old Twitter influencer in your niche. It has to be someone who really makes you want to do this. Remember it's crucial for your replies to really stand out. So they have to come naturally from you. As with all social media activity, it's always better if these responses are genuine.
So it might take you a while to find these people. My personal preference is for influencers who are forthright, and don't just post links all the time. They can be quite hard to find in the social media marketing, to be honest.
In this niche most influencers tend to post links to their long articles. These pieces can be great, of course. But you have to read them fully to respond insightfully to them. That takes time. And if the article covers a lot of ground, you have to select one aspect of it. That waters down the effect of your reply.
For these reasons I prefer to respond to those influencers whose tweets are self-contained -- direct tips, observations or insights. These trigger an equally direct response from me. The words flow easily and I type replies quickly. As a result I tend to get the best effect from them.
(Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)