Now before we dig in and learn about how to use twitter to generate leads for your business, we will first have a brief summary and overview of what Twitter is and how it can help you build your business.
Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the author’s subscribers who are known as followers. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications. While the service itself costs nothing to use, accessing it through SMS may incur phone service provider fees.
The 140-character limit on message length was initially set for compatibility with SMS messaging, and has brought to the web the kind of shorthand notation and slang commonly used in SMS messages. The 140 character limit has also spurred the usage of URL shortening services such as tinyurl, bit.ly and tr.im, and content hosting services, such as Twitpic and NotePub to accommodate multimedia content and text longer than 140 characters.
Since its creation in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Twitter has gained notability and popularity worldwide. It is sometimes described as the “SMS of the Internet” since the use of Twitter’s application programming interface for sending and receiving short text messages by other applications often eclipses the direct use of Twitter. But to make it simple, think twitter as your own billboard.
What we have to do is deliver to people the best and freshest most relevant information possible. We think of Twitter as it’s not a social network, but it’s an information network. It tells people what they care about as it is happening in the world.—Evan Williams
Twitter emphasized their news and information network strategy in November 2009 by changing the question it asks users for status updates from “What are you doing?” to “What’s happening?”
Twitter has created a unique social media platform that allows individuals, as well as businesses, to post updates in a quick, concise fashion from anywhere in the world.
As a marketer, Twitter allows you or your business to laser target a niche. It’s also quite possible you may actually create a “Twitter Persona” that’s far more interesting that you actually are! Why? Because with Twitter you don’t have to come up with a ton of useful content – short bursts of quality information and entertainment is sufficient to build and retain a following on Twitter.
Once you have created a following on Twitter, the platform allows you to stay in frequent contact with your “list” without burning them out. This alone makes Twitter one of the most, if not the most, powerful social media tool for marketers. Because Twitter messages are short and to the point, you can easily tweet up to 4 times a day and cultivate a relationship with your followers much quicker. Your Twitter followers are voluntarily choosing to stay in communication with you because they want to hear what you have to say. And when people want to hear what you have to say, chances are they will eventually buy from you.
It is vital to understand, however, that Twitter is NOT A SALES PLATFORM. This is where many people get it wrong. If you go on to any Social Network and immediately start pitching your product, business or service you will lose your following and your friends quickly. You must establish credibility and cultivate a relationship with your followers before you present your offer. But once you have built up credibility and mastered the art of the Twitter conversation you can easily “sell” as often as once a day, and your followers will never know what hit them. The key is discerning when you have reached that point in your relationship with your followers.
Okay enough of those “ra-rah”. I think you have grasped now of what and how twitter can help you build your business.
Here are the basic steps you need to do:
1. Sign up for a Twitter account: www.Twitter.com : Set up your profile using your personal name or your business name, not some cute nickname. Remember, you are branding yourself.
2. Begin following other Twitter users. Go to the “Find People” tab and look for people you know, admire or have something in common with. Generally Twitter etiquette would dictate that they follow you back. As you begin to accumulate followers, be sure you follow them back too.
3. If you have a brick and mortar business and/or website be sure to include your social media contacts on your website and your sales receipts.
4. Include your social media contacts in your standard email signature. In Gmail you would go in to “Settings” and look under the “General” tab for a “Signature” block. Here you could set up something like this that would conclude every email you send:
Be sure to include these links on every communication you use to connect with people such as business cards, letterhead, packing slips, etc.
5. Make sure you have a graphic with a link to your blog or website on your twitter page. It should say:
“Learn more about me at “yourblog.com”
6. Now it’s time for you to “WOW” people. It’s vital that your Social Networking accounts give a good first impression. Your graphics are like the clothes you wear to a business function or a party and your posts ARE your conversations.
- You should tweet about interesting stuff, not pitch your “deal” like a cheesy used car salesman (no offense to cheesy used car salemen, you just don’t want to be one of them on Twitter.)
- You should genuinely interact with people who interact with you or run the risk of being labeled a snob.
People want to hang around cool, interesting people. Be one of them. Observe the world around you for quirks, anecdotes, observances, etc. that will tell your followers a little about who you are and how you see the world.
Resist the urge, however, to tweet about the mundane. Nobody wants to know you’re sitting in your car at a stoplight … unless you’re sitting in your car at a stoplight and a herd of camels wearing cowboy boots runs in front of your car … OR you’re sitting in your car at a stoplight and the song on the radio inspires you to propose to your long-time girlfriend via Twitter … OR you’re sitting in your car at a stoplight thinking about that great new book on origami you just started reading and you recommend it to your followers. You get the picture? Your goal is to add VALUE to your followers through content or entertainment – ideally, a mixture of the two.
Some great examples of things to post:
- Good articles
- Cool pictures
- Your personal content
- Some of your Aweber broadcasts (make sure you send them to a sign up page first to capture their name/email). Aweber provides the link for this.
When it’s time to sell something directly through Twitter keep the “3 to 1” Rule in mind:
3 Content-Only Tweets for Every 1 Sales Tweet!
When you do make a sales pitch be sure to connect it to something of value, such as:
“Check out this cool new article on the 5 deadly sins of making money online and how to avoid them. yourwebsite.com.” And then at the end of the article, show them your offer.
7. Re-tweet good content. Appreviated “RT”, you can pass along someone else’s tweet to your followers. Simply type in RT and then the @ symbol followed directly by the person’s username.
- If someone follows you, follow them back.
- If a follower replies to your tweet, respond back to them. Foster the dialogue.
- Never type in ALL CAPS. It’s like yelling. Most people don’t like to be yelled at.
As often as possible you should have your Twitter content also posted on your blog or website. Include a link in your Twitter post that directs people to the content posted on your site. Many times people will post content that links to the original source instead of copying it to their own blog (make sure you are not infringing on a copyright!). There are downsides to this, though:
- You won’t get credit for the quality back links from Twitter which boosts your site’s Google rankings.
- Your followers won’t be directed back to your blog or website where they have an opportunity to learn more about you.
Remember, the goal is to “WOW” them and then eventually introduce them to your product, business or service. What better place to do that than on your site? We suggest that you always include a link at the bottom of your website that offers a free mini course (video, audio, pdf) on something related to your product, business or service in exchange for their contact information. This gives you the ability to create interest, foster goodwill, and sink the hook a little more.
After your Twitter followers have opted in to your email list you are then able to “back end” them with a one-time product/service purchase offer, redirect them to an offer, email them a promotion, or call them. It just depends on how much information you request and how you choose to proceed.
Tools & Resources
- www.bit.ly (Free) Use this to track how many people click and link you post. It will help you see if what you are posting is interesting. It also “shortens” the URL you are posting so it fits easier in Twitter posts.
- www.search.twitter.com (Free) Use this to track what people are saying to you or about you.
- www.twitpic.com (Free) You can easily use this to send pictures through Twitter. Log in with your Twitter username and password.
- www.tweetdeck.com (Free) Use this to sort your follows and followers into categories and generally manage things easier.
- www.ping.fm (Free) Use this to post to all your Social Media accounts with one push of a button. It will save you lots of time logging into multiple accounts.
Here is another great source about how to use twitter to generate 75 leads in 2 minutes.
And if you want to automate things on twitter and get more followers instantly, you may want to check this tool so you can spend time on other tasks while the program works for you.
So there you go… Hope this article has somehow helped you to understand the true power of twitter and how it can help you generate leads for your business.