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 and building leads, either on a B2C or B2B basis, if you know how to utilize it. Here are nine tips to help you do so.
1. Handle Twitter Contacts as Leads
This is the basic step but it’s so often overlooked. People you interact with on Twitter are your leads. People your competitors are interacting with can also be your leads.
Once you start recording and organizing these leads, you’ll see a lot more ROI from your Twitter activities. No need to invest in an expensive customer relationship management software. You can have great results with free tools. This free CRM platform from Hubspot is a great option to organize your social media leads.
More tools: CRM Software for Small Businesses (Compared)
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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!
A good read; yes, community and communication is vital. Looking beyond the sometimes negative press surrounding social media, it would be foolish to ignore the power of Twitter as an ideal access portal and powerful tool for business and marketing. That said, and to risk contradicting myself, I have yet to use Twitter very much but my plans are to ramp up activity, and see what happens. I do see potential for posts “tweets” in most specifically targeted niche areas.
Hi Ian, thanks for the comment! Good luck with your new tweeting plan!
Nice read Ann.I have been looking for something like this as my social media presence and activities are really poor especially in twitter.
Cool post. I generally think Twitter is overlooked compared to many of the other social media platforms (FB, LinkedIn & IG) in terms of advertising.
This would definitely be need if you’re new to Twitter and/or on a smaller budget.
This is a great list. It’s true that we need to treat the contacts as leads. Also – have you tried RiteTag for hashtag research? We use it only for Twitter….
Hey, looks interesting but at the same time requires some investment. What is the quality of the leads from this channel compared to others? Is it comparable?
Thanks, Ann for publishing this article. The ideas I got throughout will be used practically. I will follow the hashtag of any major event or political campaigns. Also, individual interaction with my targets would be my priority.
I think tracking your twitter new engagements, followers, top followers etc really helps in generating leads. Just make sure to engage with your followers as much as you can so you can build rapport which helps you in closing the sales.
I agree with your 8th point on building a community using Twitter as it can be a great platform for building loyal audience whom you can later use to turn into customers.
Excellent tips Ann, keep posting more.
I have been looking for something like this as my social media presence and activities are really poor especially in twitter.
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