You've probably seen the celebrity guides to Twitter that tell you how to contact really famous people with this popular social networking tool. While there (probably) isn't much business value in tweeting with Miley Cyrus, you can use Twitter to meet slightly less famous, high-profile people in your industry who could help you take your business to the next level.
Work on Your Profile
If you are looking to use Twitter to reach the best and brightest in your field, you need to work on your own profile. If you've been using Twitter for personal reasons, look at your profile and think of ways to make it more professional. You want to communicate your credentials and make yourself appear on the same playing field as your mentors.
A Twitter profile includes a short biography, as well as keywords related to your industry and area of expertise. Select keywords to allow other Twitter users with similar interests to find you easily. Your keywords should include your position, your company's name and the sector that you operate in. Listing specific skills might also be a good idea.
Build a Following
You're not likely to impress an industry leader with no followers of your own. Make an effort to search for people sharing similar business interests. The Twitter search engine is designed to help you find people that hold similar position to you or live and work in your geographic location.
When searching for Twitter users, type the city that you would like to find people in, as well as several keywords related to industry and areas of expertise. Examine the results and start following the people that have listed the same interests as yours. Many of the people you follow will return the favor by following you.
It's important to keep your goals in mind when choosing who you follow. If you're trying to make professional connections, keep your list of followers professional. Personal tweets are OK occasionally, but try to keep your running dialog mostly business-oriented.
Get to Know Industry Leaders
Following someone's tweets is one extremely easy way to learn more about the specific Twitter user. Start your networking efforts by becoming a follower of the people you admire in your industry. Read their tweets to get a sense of who they are and what their objectives are on Twitter.
Start Your Interaction
Start responding to tweets, using everything you've learned about the person as a basis for your response. This virtual communication could become the beginning of a long-term professional relationship, so start off slowly and offer your own advice or solutions before asking for theirs.
Take it Off Twitter
When your relationship is firmly established, it's time to take the communication outside of Twitter. Start by exchanging email addresses or instant messaging IDs to start a more in-depth conversation.