There they are, right in front of your eyes on Twitter—almost every celebrity you can think of. There is no gatekeeper, no phone number or address you need to know to get in touch. The celebrity you want to reach has a handle that is apparent for everyone to see. And when I say celebrity, I don’t necessarily mean just the Hollywood celebrities like Oprah or Justin Bieber. It could be a celebrity in your field–someone who could be far more helpful to you than the kiknd of celebrity that’s featured in People magazine. So, let’s take a look at how relatively easy it is to talk to someone important on Twitter. It takes patience and understanding of Twitter etiquette, but it’s a lot easier than trying to get through to them any other way.
1. Google the person’s name.
You’ll find the Twitter handle if he or she is active on Twitter. The first thing you’ll want to do is see if there’s any possibility of having a conversation. We’re not going to have a conversation yet, but let’s see if the celebrity you chose talks to mere mortals like you at all. To do this, you’ll look at the Twitter feed. Do you ever see the use of the “@” symbol in the course of the last 20 or 30 tweets Use of the “@” symbol indicates that there is the potential for conversation. Then check to see if the celebrity is only talking to other celebrities or are the conversations in response to regular followers like you? This is an indication of the potential for conversation, but if not, there may still be hope.
2. Follow and listen.
You’re a fan. You probably know a lot of about the person. If not, make sure you learn something about the person. If you want to be acknowledged you’ll need to earn it. Read through the tweets. Pay attention on a day-to-day basis for a while. Watch how other people interact. In other words, be a fly on the wall and listen.
3. Do not stalk!
You may think that step #2 where you were following, listening and watching was stalking. It’s not. Stalking would be the equivalent of standing in front of the celebrity, flailing your arms and saying look at me! On Twitter that would mean talking at the celebrity and looking for a reply when the celebrity has not had any reason to be speaking to you.
4. Develop a relationship.
Remember Twitter etiquette is about being generous and sharing the content of others 8-15 times more often than sharing your own content. So again, without overdoing it, every so often, retweet or some share the tweets or content of the celebrity in a genuine way with your followers. Add a comment to your share that explains or adds value. If you genuinely admire and know the celebrity, that will come through. You will be a useful fan, not just an admiring fan.
5. Now that you have a relationship you may expect a response.
Have you truly been adding value, asking good questions, sharing the celebrity’s content, complimenting and honoring the good, humorous, or helpful content in a genuine way (without overdoing it)? Have you been answering the questions and responding to the celebrity when called for? Over time, you may expect that the time, energy and genuine effort that you put into the relationship online will result in being recognized with a shout-out (or maybe more) by the celebrity. The celebrity will notice you. He will say say to himself, “who is this person who always comes through for me in a way that gets retweeted, that is interesting, humorous, or helpful?” You will earn the right to ask a question and will be much more likely to get an answer. Perhaps by this time, the person may have already taken a moment to thank you for your shares.
6. Take the relationship to the next level.
Celebrities join Twitter because they need followers. If you happen to be influential in your field, (in other worth, you are a minor celebrity on your way up) why not take it a step further, and become one of the influential fans that your celebrity not only values, but embraces? If you are active and influential on Twitter you are offering up the connection to an large, engaged audience. See if you can find an opportunity when you’ll be able to meet the celebrity in person and continue to build on the relationship. If you’ve earned the right to ask a question by following the steps above, go ahead and ask. If you have a conversation with a celebrity, take a screen shot and put it on your blog. You’ve created a relationship you can be proud of.