“The qualities that make Twitter seem inane and half-baked are what makes it so powerful” – Jonathan Zittrain
According to the American Press Institute, 79% of Twitter users use it to get news, 36% use it to pass the time, and 19% use it to network. Okay, if you’re a salesperson looking for connections and opportunities, 19% doesn’t sound too impressive. But 19% is not a throwaway number!
“One technology doesn’t replace another; it complements! Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevator.” – Stephen Fry
When it comes to sales, you can adopt new ways of doing things that don’t threaten the other ways of achieving your goals; they should complement them. Here’s a question that often comes up at my social selling training sessions: Should people give up cold-call methods and throw away the Rolodex? “Oh, I’ve got 50 phone calls I haven’t made today—let me see who I can attack, who I can intrude on, who I can bother, pester, coax and cajole.”
Personally, I believe phone calls still have a place in the sales process, but considering that it takes at least eight cold-call attempts to reach a prospect, we’d need to focus on relationship-building nurturing activities that pull the prospects to us instead.
If your social selling strategy includes Twitter, make sure you’re in it for the long haul.
If you’re just starting out and you expect your pipeline to increase by the next week, that is simply never going to happen. Twitter is a relationship-building tool, and you use it to create a profile that gets you found. A lot of people say, “It doesn’t really matter; nobody looks on Twitter.” You might be surprised to know that roughly 46% of Twitter users are on the platform daily, and there are more than 335 million Twitter users today!
So don’t assume that just because somebody is seemingly not active on Twitter—posting content, liking, and replying—that doesn’t mean they’re not listening. They are using it as a way to research, to get industry updates and listen to thought leaders. With the right strategies, you will be visible to them.
Here are my Twitter tips and tricks:
- Use the right keywords and one or two hashtags in your posts. Twitter has a search function for keywords and hashtags, so if you want to position yourself as a digital transformation expert, make sure it’s mentioned in your posts and even your profile description.
- Listen first, before broadcasting. Make sure that your business-oriented posts are strategically relevant to your prospects. Go through your prospects’ posts and Google industry-relevant hot topics to discuss on your Twitter feed. If you’re not listening to people, you won’t know what to share and you won’t be able to share valuable content that’s interesting to your connections.
- People will say, “Why would I tweet? I’ve got two followers!” I’d say, “Well, you’re never going to get any more followers if you don’t actually tweet.” You have to start somewhere, and you need to consistently participate in the conversation, share content, and engage your prospects.
- Remember to cater to followers’ egos. Suppose you’re active on Instagram and you have a particular follower who’s consistently liked and commented on your posts—you eat up that validation, don’t you? It’s the same in the B2B world: People love digital compliments, and it’s a great way to start a relationship with someone you’ve never met. As Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Focus your time on the people you care about, and you can cut through the noise using smart techniques and tools in Twitter to focus on the conversations that matter and the relationships that you want to build. I like to use Twitter Lists, a tool that lets you segregate Twitter accounts based on how warm the leads are.
- Combine your personal and professional Twitter into one account. With Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social platforms, there’s no time to maintain multiple Twitter accounts. (Just be mindful about expressing potentially controversial opinions.) Combining both will help humanize your Twitter brand. At the end of the day, you are who you are—you don’t walk out of the office and say, “I’m somebody else now.” Also, business accounts with nothing but work-related content are dull and inauthentic.
Social selling has become such a hot topic that Coffee-Break with Game Changers is dedicating an entire series to exploring its various facets and promoting best practices for salespeople. To listen to other shows in this series, visit the Changing the Game with Social Selling channel.