It’s been a year and a few days since I first joined Twitter. I admit to being one of those people who didn’t see the point of the platform. I thought it was useless. But I was intrigued and I was on a mission. I knew Twitter was up and coming and rapidly gaining in popularity. For that reason I chose to write my diploma thesis about Twitter as a tool for Relationship Marketing. It was a challenge to say the least. I’d never used the platform before. Hell, I didn’t even know ANYONE in the Marketing, PR or Social Media industry. And yet, I needed a minimum of 120 experts to take part in my survey. I needed them to share their knowledge and experience with me. Someone, no-one had ever heard of before.

I’m not going to lie to you. Being new to Twitter sucks because you need to build an audience that helps you spread the word. Preferably an audience that has a big audience themselves. You want to connect with people that have influence in your niche, that know what they are talking about and whose single Tweet can get you noticed by a lot of other people. All of this is intimidating. You’ll need to be interesting, humorous, provide quality content and not be afraid to approach people. It’s a lot to take in and a lot to handle for a Twitter newbie.

A year ago, I was a newbie. Now, 5000 something Tweets later, a great thesis and some wonderful connections in my bag I’m going to share with you what I would have loved to know a year ago. I’m not going to talk about how you need to provide quality content or Retweet others because there are a million posts telling you exactly that. What I am going to do is to give you some tips that will help you become a blip on the influencer’s radars. The people that do something awesome, are interesting, have a wide reach and know their stuff.

Approach people!

This one is really important because people are not going to come knocking on your door. You have to work for what you want. Say hi to people. Ask how they are. Provide them with quality content. Comment on their blogs. @message them on Twitter. Do not spam them. No-one likes to be spammed. It’s probably not going to work the first time or the second time or even the third time. It all takes time. Don’t give up. If I had given up I would have not finished my thesis. I would still sit here and wait and hope.

Big shot or not, people are people

It doesn’t matter how famous someone is. People are people. You’ll probably find it intimidating to approach the celebs of your niche. There’s no need to. They are human. Maybe with a bit more knowledge and a bit more $ in their bank account but they are human. Remember that.

Be yourself

There’s nothing worse than being approached by someone who isn’t authentic. Be true to yourself. There’s no need to be something you are not. Being yourself greatly increases your chances of being recognized.

Don’t rush things.

What would you say if a stranger knocked on your door and said, “Please help me build my house.” Would you say yes? I doubt it. If you want others to help you, you need to be patient. Relationships take time. In that respect, Twitter is no different to real life. It’s a give and take. If people start to get to know and like you, they will be more than willing to help.

Don’t be afraid to speak your mind.

Every person has an opinion. Most of us are just too afraid to speak their mind. There’s no harm in saying what you think as long as you pay attention to how you say it. If you read a blog post by someone that is “famous” but you don’t agree with it, say it. They are not going to bite your head off. If anything, they’ll be appreciative of your opinion. They hear all day long how awesome they are. As I said, people are people. Just because people are well known, doesn’t mean they know it all. They still learn from other human beings. Try to be one of those people they can learn from.

Sometimes, just ask!

People will surprise you. Asking never hurts. If you did all of the above and you still haven’t reached the goal you set out to achieve, ask them straight. What’s the worst that can happen? They say no or nothing at all. No-one gets hurt. But, you might just win the jackpot and they will say yes. You never know.

When trying to approach people that you feel intimidated by it’s important you grab the bull by its horns, as they say. The influencers won’t come looking for you. You need to go looking for them. You need to be worth their time. Twitter allows you to approach them. Now, go do it.

Today’s guest post is by Antonia Harler. Antonia recently graduated and holds a degree in Management, Communications & IT. She’s performed extensive research on how to best use Twitter for Relationship Marketing. For more information about her visit her blog, follow her on Twitter (@antwizzel) or join her on Facebook