How to Use Twitter for Prospecting
Twitter has over 255 million active users a month – it is a massive database, buzzing with real-time information about individuals and communities around the world. Twitter is therefore a valuable source of information for online sales and digital content teams, as well as professional bloggers, who can benefit greatly from easy, personalised communication with prospects, as well as readers and consumers.
A Social Database
Twitter is an interconnected game of follow the leader – if you are savvy, you can use it to start far-reaching conversations, as well as plug into those conversations relevant to your publication or brand.
We hear often of the importance of putting information out there on social media and using these platforms to gain followers and develop a valuable community. Twitter presents an alternative method to target and connect with your audience on a personal level and learn about their habits, interests and concerns. This provides a unique opportunity to understand what information your target audience is looking for, how they interact with content and therefore the most effective way to provide it.
Twitter also offers a great opportunity to jump on the back of social trends. For example, you may notice that Game of Thrones is a (pretty darn massive) current trend that lends itself to a plethora of content ideas – a travel blog may write a piece about destinations that resemble those in the book/tv show, a freelance advice blog may write a ‘five things I learnt from Game of Thrones’ advice piece. Shove #GameofThrones on the end of your tweet, complete with the link and a nifty image, and let the wildlings flood in.
Hashtags Are More Than Just A Trend
Hashtags allow you to plug into a conversation and get your tweet, and the content attached to it, noticed. Effective use of hashtags could catapult your content further – therefore reaching far more people – than if you rely on your social channels alone.
Look out for any big event or social movement that relates to your blog, use it for inspiration for a post and then wop in the official hashtag. You will quickly see how many more people retweet, favourite and follow, which will hopefully also lead to a higher click-through and potential conversion rate.
Tweetreach is a great way to assess how far your tweet, and others like it, have reached and gives you the opportunity to analyse what hashtags are most effective. As an example, the hashtag #GameofThrones was used in a sample of 50 tweets and reached almost 130,000 Twitter accounts.
Keywords are Vital
Keyword searches are another brilliant way to identify your target audience. For instance, I am a writer targeting the freelance market so my keywords are very specifically focussed on freelancers and contractors. By setting up a keyword search in Hootsuite, I am able to gather every tweet that uses the word ‘contractor’ and ‘freelance’ and can analyse this data to more efficiently and effectively target my intended audience. I also keep an eye out for recurrent themes – is there a tax issue that many freelancers are discussing? What content can I provide to help solve any issue or confusion they might have?
Furthermore, you can monitor any conversations about your brand, industry or area of expertise – even when tweets don’t mention you directly – by setting up a stream in Hootsuite using a keyword search (domain name, hashtag, alternative spelling, industry, type of products you sell or topic of your blog).
Make content the solution
Look for buying or advice signals by searching for keyphrases such as ‘anyone recommend’ or ‘any advice on’ to identify those looking for immediate assistance. Once you’ve spotted an opportunity, jump in armed with a useful blog post that will help solve the problem – you can even use the information gained through Twitter, such as the person’s name, profession, interests, etc, to help you more effectively tailor your content and response.
You can then use Twitter to monitor whether the problem persists and make contact again with further information, therefore ensuring a return to the blog and adding a personal touch that could really make you stand out against your blogging competition.
And into the sales funnel
Making content the solution is a great way of engaging prospects through Twitter without immediately putting them off with the hard sell. By putting your customers at the centre of all of your content, and ensuring everything you retweet is relevant to them, you will build a community that successfully engages with and values your brand.
This doesn’t apply to all bloggers, many of whom rely on web traffic for advertisements but do not actually sell anything. However, for companies that manage a corporate blog, the most important part of the process is shimmying the prospect further down the sales process and proving the worth of your blog through increased conversions.
A story in 140 characters
Twitter is a powerful tool – not only does it give you hands-on, immediate access to your audience and target audience, it also provides a plethora of real-time information about people around the world. It can initially feel daunting and some have previously been put off using it for little more than a sharing device. However, with a little bit of savvy and some serious gumption, you will see a significant increase in conversion rates, as well as the monthly visits to your site.