When it comes to using social media for business sales, most people automatically think of LinkedIn and Facebook. If you haven’t already, consider adding Twitter to the mix. Twitter, which has more than 300 million active monthly users, can open the door to plenty of potential contacts, business insights, and sales cues.
If you use Twitter the right way, you can insert yourself into conversations that are relevant to your company, find opportunities before the competition, create relationships and build trust within your industry.
Simply being present on Twitter doesn’t ensure you’ll get sales. Using it properly can make the difference between tweeting into the mass of over 300 million users, and creating a new avenue to use for lead generation.
1. Find Potential Buyers
Put in the time and effort required to find your target audience. Begin by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. Perform searches, thinking of keywords and hashtags they would use to find information about your business or your product. Use the Twitter search feature and follow anyone with a profile matching that of your ideal customer.
Follow your competition and see how they are engaging potential buyers. A couple of the most useful social media influence measurement tools for this are Kred and Klout. This could greatly cut back the amount of time you’ll spend finding people to follow.
Eventually, as you grow the number of people you are following, you’ll want to use a social media dashboard application such as Tweetbot or TweetDeck to organize people into lists, making tracking and search easier. Save your searches to make real-time tweets regarding your keywords visible at any time. Remain prudent when sifting through the loads of automated tools stating that they can instantly create a relevant following for you. By taking the extra time to put your lists together by hand, you’ll end up with a much higher-quality following. Add a human element to your company Twitter by always thanking people who follow or retweet you.
2. Monitor for Opportunities to Step In
This is the time to monitor your Twitter feed to find people you might be likely to assist and people who are showing interest in your product. Engage people who are complaining about your competition, or asking for recommendations or advice on products in your industry to catch them at the start of the sales process. Listening platforms can aid in finding conversations occurring online that are relevant to you and generating leads.
3. Start a Conversation
Once you’ve shown your followers that you are listening, it’s time to get into the conversations. Just because someone asks for help on Twitter, that doesn’t mean they’re ready to buy. Retweet potential buyers’ tweets to your own followers. One of your followers might be able to help them if you can’t. And that prospect will still appreciate and notice you for spreading their message to get the help they need.
If the potential customer is one of your followers, begin to move the conversation from public to private by Direct Messaging them exchanging phone numbers and email addresses. This begins the process of taking the conversation offline. Whether or not this potential customer wants to buy today or in the future, they’re likely to remember the positive interactions they had with you on Twitter when it comes time to buy.
4. Gain Followers
While you are building a list of people to follow on Twitter, you also need to focus on creating your own following. Make sure your bio clearly lays out your expertise and what exactly you and your company do. This encourages people to follow you back. While it’s good to include a personal touch, customers likely aren’t going to be looking for an animal lover who enjoys long walks on the beach when looking for direction on a software solution.
Use hashtags that are relevant to your business when you tweet. Don’t try to game the system by using trending hashtags. Followers can be quick to unfollow you when you attempt this. The minimum recommendation for tweets is a few times throughout the work day. More tweeting will gain you more followers. Connect your business with current news and events by commenting on topics related to your product or brand.
Tools like Buffer and HootSuite allow you to schedule tweets in advance to post at times of the day when your followers are most likely to be reading through their Twitter feeds. If you’re sharing a link within a tweet, take advantage of link shorteners like bit.ly. This powerful tool not only frees up space to include more information in your tweet. It also enables you to track analytics like clicks and shares, giving you the opportunity to engage with anyone interested in your business. You want your Twitter feed to be a resource for your target audience to find informative content and comments that keep you fresh in their minds.
5. Identify and Engage Influencers
Identify the most influential people on Twitter by paying attention to who your followers are retweeting and following. Again, Klout is a good tool for finding key influencers. Create columns or lists specifically for these influencers. When an influencer engages you, reply to their tweets and retweet content that is relevant to your industry or product. Once you’ve built a relationship with an influencer, direct them to your own content. Make sure you thank them if they share your tweets. When a tweet from the right person comes along, this provides an opportunity to position yourself as an expert in your field, and could turn you into a key influencer in time.