How to use Twitter to find new customers

CubeSocial co-founder Mark Bower on how to use Twitter to find and engage with prospective clients

Experts always say that the best way to grow your business is through referrals. That’s fine if you are an established business, but if you’re just starting out, you need an attention strategy to get you noticed. After all, clients can’t come to you if they have no idea you exist.

You could try cold calling, but everything about cold calls is cold and hard. With social media, there may be a better way: find warm leads through Twitter. Here’s how you do it:

Step one: Find the right keywords and phrases

Think about the words and phrases people might use if they were looking for the product or service you provide. Write them down. Next think of what people might say if they were dissatisfied with a competitor’s service. Note those phrases down too.

Step two: Perform an advanced search

Log on to Twitter, click through to the advanced search page and search for each of the phrases you came up with. Scan through the results looking for people who are searching for the product/service you offer.

Step three: Consider your approach

Consider what people are saying. Are they asking for a recommendation? Are they complaining about a competitor? Are they researching ideas?

Step four: Engage; don’t broadcast

Engage, engage, engage; but remember to be social. Don’t go for the hard sell. People are on the lookout for businesses that listen and care. The more you speak with people, not broadcast to people, the more successful you will be.

For example, if people are asking for a recommendation, you could reply with a link to the testimonials page on your website, or a link to an independent review. If people are researching ideas, you could respond with a link to a helpful blog you wrote on the topic.

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Step five: Follow up

You won’t close a sale in one tweet, so following up with your prospects is what makes the difference. A good social customer relationship management (CRM) system will help you keep track of your social media conversations, your leads and the tasks needed to maintain or advance the relationships you are developing. Dip back into your growing pool of warm leads at regular intervals to nurture them to the close.

Why this works so well

What makes this strategy so successful is that you are engaging with people at the point they are ready to buy. It’s no longer a cold call – it’s a warm lead. You get to see the person’s picture, their bio, their website, their personality-revealing tweets and their friends. What’s more, you see their intent.

One thing to remember

A word of caution: all your tweets will show up on your Twitter public timeline, so be sure to mix things up a little. If a prospect checks out your timeline and all they see are blunt pitches, that’s bound to be off-putting. However, if they see you being helpful and providing solid advice, that will add to your credibility.

Mark Bower is co-founder of social CRM service CubeSocial. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markbower


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