Social media is a great way to open your business up to new clients. Way back in the olden days — pre-Internet — many businesses were limited by geography and collecting information on a customer base was a time-consuming and expensive process.
Today you can use platforms such as Twitter to not only advertise to potential buyers, but also target and research them. Those 140 characters can be an amazingly effective sales tool if wielded correctly.
Let’s take a look at what it takes to sell well on Twitter and maybe get a glimpse of how not to try generating sales.
1. Target Companies and Titles
One of the first rules of Twitter marketing is be selective. Use search functions to discover companies and people to contact directly instead of spamming all of your followers with tweets that may not be that relevant to them. Start by doing basic searches on Twitter using industry keywords. Let’s say you're interested in social media. Use Twitter’s search function to look for “Technorati social media.” The results will show you who’s writing about it, who’s researching it, and related tweets.
When you want to look for individuals in a specific position — say finance bloggers — try Google’s Twitter search. Just type in “finance blogger” and voila. Google will give you the results of everyone with “finance blogger” in their profile or updates.
With that kind of information at your fingertips you can choose who to reach out to, ensuring that your message has the best possible chance of being received well.
2. Giveaways and Coupons
Twitter giveaways are a worthwhile way to use social media to attract new customers and so easy to do, too. Say you’re a furniture store and you are doing to do a coffee table giveaway for the holidays. Have your followers retweet your giveaway message to be entered for a chance to win and create a giveaway-specific hashtag for them to use like #freecoffeetable.
Every time one of your followers retweets the giveaway message, all of their followers will see it. It’s a great way to build a following. Just be sure you make following your Twitter account a requirement for entering the giveaway. Coupons are similar. Just tweet the coupon code with a link to your site. Make the coupon code you use on Twitter unique so you can measure how many Twitter followers took you up on your coupon offer
If you’re looking to jumpstart your business’s presence on Twitter, you might want to considerpromoted tweets. These are tweets that are basically paid advertisements that will appear on targeted Twitter user timelines.
Marketers can target users by: 1) Keywords, 2) Interest, 3) Geography, and 4) Gender. Many businesses have reported seeing positive results from their promoted tweet campaigns.
4. Conversation Starter
One of the best things about social media for business is it opens up a conversation with your followers. You aren’t just mailing out direct mail postcards to a list of strangers, which usually gets pitched anyway.
You have the opportunity to actually talk to potential customers. Opening that dialogue is a great step toward building brand loyalty and earning new sales. Once you’ve started the conversation, don’t ignore it and let it fall into an awkward silence. Be responsive to your followers. Answer their questions, handle their complaints, and show them you care about meeting their needs.
5. Don’t Oversell Yourself
This is a hard one for some entrepreneurial spirits to grasp. Twitter is about making connections, not about selling to every follower with every single tweet. If you think of it like a party, how likely are you to hang out with someone who just talks about themselves?
Twitter is similar. No one wants be bombarded with 20 offers a day to buy your new book or sign up for your new service. Be selective in the timing and the content of your promotional tweets and focus a majority of your tweets on crowd-pleasing messages that don’t have anything to do with you wanting them to buy something from you.
Twitter can be a fantastic tool for driving sales, just make sure you’re using it correctly for maximum return.
Author: Courtney Gordner
Main image credit: Hubspot