Twitter can be used for pretty much anything. You can launch a political campaign, start a non-profit hashtag movement, spy on your competitor, track down your long lost friend… it is a world of opportunities on a single open platform.
It is no surprise that people have been turning to it for professional uses over the years. Prospecting is one that has been a little controversial, with some claiming it is too quick and cluttered to build long-lasting business relationships.
I disagree; Twitter is a great tool for sales prospects, either on a B2C or B2B basis, if you know how to utilize it. Here are nine tips to help you do so.
Discover What Hashtags Are Most Relevant
Hashtags are going to be your number one resource in finding prospects. The tricky part is discovering which ones to watch, because while some are obvious, others aren’t so much.
There is this awesome list by MarketerGizmo that has every single marketing based hashtag you could want, and it is a great place to start. Here are also marketing Twitter charts that will connect you to relevant prospects. You will want to get more creative, by search out targets and seeing what they tend to use, then branching from there. But that list will give you some solid leads.
Start Tracking Those Hashtags
Once you know what hashtags to use, it is time to begin tracking them. A social media dashboard is crucial for this, so you can get alerts or see all mentions in a single place. I have used several in the past, including Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, and both are pretty good.
Have Valuable Conversations
There is nothing I hate more than someone who approaches me as a prospect and it is super obvious that the only thing they are looking to do is sell to me. It makes them seem like a spam bot, and I am not going to waste my time on a programmed advertisement.
You will find that most people feel this way. The only tried and true method of breaking through to a prospect on social media is to engage them in a genuine way. You have to add something to the conversation, give them a reason to take notice and interact.
Twitter is one of the best platforms for this, because it is open and people are expecting to engage. Just make sure you are giving them something to engage with.
Bio Is Changed is a great free tool that will let you engage with people you follow in a meaningful way. It will email you each time your Twitter friends change their bios, so you can reach out to them to congratulate on their life changes.
Make an RSS Feed
Do you use an RSS reader, like Feedly? You can create customized feeds that watch for different keywords, mentions and hashtags right there in your reader. I love doing this because it makes it easy to check in the morning as I am having coffee and reading the day’s news. It is all right there, waiting for me and helping me plan my daily prospecting strategy.
Social Media Examiner has a fantastic breakdown of how to do it. Definitely check it out for a thorough explanation.
Start Scoping Out Competitor Follows
Obviously your competitors are looking for prospects just like you are, and are probably having their own success. Since you work within the same industry, you are both going after the same kind of targets.
By looking at who they have managed to capture (and just seeing who it is they are wanting to get in the first place), you can start making a list of potentials yourself. You may even narrow down a new pool to fish from.
Keep an Eye On Events With Expo Floors
Live events are obviously a great way to find prospects, especially conventions meant to connect industry participants with one another on a professional level. If you want to find those events, Twitter is a great place to keep an eye out.
Announcements are common, and you can find hashtags to popular events using a database like Twubs.
Monitor For Recommendation Or Advice Requests
Often people will just straight up ask for recommendations on services, products or companies. You can watch for those using your social media dashboard, so you are alerted when they do. Just have it watch for combinations of things like “recommend [Subject]” or “Anyone know [Subject]”.
You can swoop in and save the day.
Focus On Building a Dedicated Community
Everyone on social media wants followers, but they don’t spend nearly enough time community building. Guess what? That is a HUGE mistake, especially for anyone who is hoping to find prospects.
An active and dedicated community gives you an introduction to these targets and ensures you will never be going in cold.
Never Underestimate The Power Of Influencers
Influencers are everything on Twitter. Some celebrities have created careers more on their Twitter profiles than anything else. So you should never underestimate the power they hold, especially when prospecting.
Just imagine having an influencer with 100k followers on your side, promoting you or your brand. Then imagine going to your targets and being able to say, “Me and BIG SHOT INFLUENCER PERSON actually discuss it here [link].”
The more influencers you have behind you, the more impressive it looks. Better yet, why not work to become an influencer yourself?
Twitter: It Ain’t Just For Flirting
Social prospecting is becoming more and more popular, and Twitter is a great place for it. The open nature of the platform gives you more access than Facebook, and it is more populated than Google Plus or LinkedIn.
Have any tips you think should be added to the list? Let us know in the comments!