How to Use Social Media to Find Thought Leaders

woman thought bubble

Do you ever stop to consider why big brands use high profile celebrities or athletes within their marketing? They have been doing this for years and one of the most common reasons is because of recognition and trust. You already know the celebrity and when a brand uses them in their advertising they are doing so to help build their credibility.

The same way that Buick uses Payton Manning or Capital One uses Samuel Jackson for credibility is the same way you should use thought leaders to compound your social media reach. In this first of three of this series we will discuss how to find thought leaders through social media.

Why Connect with Social Media Thought Leaders?

Thought leaders on social media have developed a reputation for being credible, trustworthy and knowledgeable personalities in their respect industries. Their years of forward thinking have amassed them a large following and nearly everything they share on social media is looked upon with trust and dependability.

If you can tap into their influence you have a greater chance of attracting more attention to your website and gaining the trust of some of their followers. In addition, strong social influence has been correlated with higher rankings meaning better SEO for your business.

How to Find Social Media Influencers

The massive rise of social media has spanned the birth of websites whose sole purpose is to measure the social influence of social media users. Finding thought leaders on social media is as simple as typing in generic searches into these websites to find out who has the most influence in your industry. The individual social media sites themselves are also great resources as are search engines. Let’s take a look at how to use each.

Social Influence Websites

There are a number of social influence websites that can help you find thought leaders in your industry as well as measure your own influence. The most popular and well known of these sites is Klout.

Klout is a measurement of how influential you are on social media. This measurement, called a “Klout Score,” represents your influence across all of your social media networks measured from 1-100. Currently Klout uses more than 400 signals from eight different networks to determine a Klout Score.

There are also a number of other sites that you can use to measure your social influence. Here are a few worth mentioning:

When you get on these sites you can simply type in the generic phrase that identifies with your industry. If you are looking for “organic food” for example, here is a screen shot from Klout that shows the top influencers.


Finding Influencers on Social Media

The most popular sites in which to find influencers are no surprise:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+

All of these sites have search features in which you can look up high profile influencers and begin to follow them. Don’t be afraid to also use the hashtag in addition to general searches to find industry-relevant searches that are trending. When making the choice to look for influencers this way you may need to dig a little deeper than you would with the social influence sites. You obviously want to find people who have a lot of followers and a high engagement rate. You can learn more about these metrics with the EdgeRank Checker for Facebook, Twitter Analytics, and simply by looking at the number of followers for LinkedIn and Google +.

Using Search Engines to Find Social Influencers

Using search engines is probably the most time intensive method on this list but can help you connect with people and brands you might not be aware of via Klout or through the social media networks alone. The most basic way to do this is by searching for heavy hitting bloggers in your industry. Let’s continue with the organic food example from above. A simple Google search for “Organic food blog” will bring up some sites that Google has deemed appropriate for those keywords.


Once you find a list of sites that are credible in the eyes of Google use the other measurement tools – social influence sites and social media network searches – to measure their reach. You will want to connect with the ones that have the most reach in order to try to capitalize on this later.

Other Blog Search Engines: Technorati

Technorati is a blogging search engine site – the biggest of its kind – where people go to find awesome content. Blogs that have high influence are featured more prominently on the site and will therefore get a lot of traffic. Take a look at the bloggers that are relevant in your industry and measure their Klout Score’s and their social media reach. The ones with high scores are the ones to follow.

Phase One Complete

Now that you know where to look for social media thought leaders you are now ready for the next stage: building relationships with them. Your eyes are probably tired now so it is a good time to let you know that building relationships will be the next topic in this series of three posts on social media influence. Until next time, make sure to sign up for our weekly marketing content so you don’t miss out on the next two articles in this series.