Twitter Thoughts

Twitter for Business Building and Lead Generation (or as I prefer to call it, relationship building) – Part 1 of 2, Follow and Be Followed

In response to requests from readers on how to use Twitter to market their businesses, large and small, a few thoughts on the matter, over the course of two articles. The first will be how to build and manage your following/followers lists. The second will be how to interact with that group to build the relationships that will benefit you and your business by focusing on what your followers are interested in.

If you’re reading this, you are likely already using Twitter as a way to keep in touch with friends, colleagues, current events and interest groups. You might also be using it to drive traffic to your website, thus marketing your business offering, be it goods and/or services for your online or bricks & mortar type of businesses. I would argue that in addition to traffic building, you use the social aspect of Twitter to actually get in genuine conversation via the Direct Message section of the site with as many of your followers as possible. This allows you to build better relationships with your followers, whose business and social interests and goals you genuinely share.

Follow and Be Followed

From a marketing perspective, volume of followers is the ticket, but because Twitter is a social medium, you will want to consider the quality and interests of those followers.

There are many ways to build followers in any combination of manual or any number of automated means. If you are looking to build a high volume following quickly, automated is the way to go. Hummingbird2, Buzzom, and Twello are a few to consider. If automated tools are used to build a large list quickly, manage them well as you want to keep the number of those you are following to no more than 10% greater than those following you. This is especially important when you are in the neighborhood of following 2,000 people. If you stray too far beyond this percentage, there is a risk Twitter will shut down your account. Ideally, everyone you are following are returning the favor and following you as well. Automated tools can be very useful in synching this up for you and keeping your following/follower difference in the 10% range.

Using automated tools to build your group of followers does not preclude you from adding to your group manually. Depending up how hard you work at this, the manual approach allows you to increase the percentage of followers with whom you genuinely know you want to work and be in regular, two-way communication with.

There are several ways to manually search for people to follow whose interests match yours. Two of my favorites are:

  1. Follow the followers of the leaders in your field. As your professional interests already overlap and they are more likely to be at a comparable level of success as yourself, they are more likely to follow you in return. If you’re into network marketing, the followers of Mike Dillard, Ann Seig, and Dani Johnson are already interested in your market. Also note that many of those following industry leaders are likely also very well placed in your industry, so follow their followers as well.
  2. Follow those whose other interests you share. On the Find People page of your Twitter home page, plug in some of your other interests and see who comes up. If you’re interested in personal development, gardening, or music, plug that into the search bar and see who comes up. As you want to follow and be followed by people that you can interact with, avoid following businesses, unless you’re genuinely interested their offerings. You can also search on keywords for your particular market. Again, follow the followers of those who share your other interests.
As you will hopefully be spending quality time with those you connect with, connect with people who genuinely interest you. If you’ve set your automated tools well, this will happen, but following people manually helps you remember that business success at its best is really dependent upon high quality personal relationships.

Next Up

Now that your lists of those you are following and followers is growing nicely using automated and manual means, the next article in this series will be suggestions on how to interact with your lists of fascinating folks doing great work.

Twitter for Business Building and Lead Generation (or as I prefer to call it, relationship building) – Part 2 of 2, Communicating with Your Followers


As discussed in the previous article of this series, you’re finding and being found by interesting people, with whom to connect via automated and manual means and you experiment with the occasional tweet. Now what?

As a business building tool for your relationship based business (is there really any other kind?) Twitter can be used to introduce yourself to people with shared personal and business interests, get into a “conversation” with them and ideally build a relationship with them as any combination of client, team member and friend.

As mentioned in the first article in this series regarding building your list of whom you’re following and your followers, there are automated ways to communicate with everyone, that there are pros and cons to automated tools, and they can always be augmented with manual (i.e. real interaction).

Direct Message Box


When someone is nice enough to follow you in twitter, even if in response to you following them, basic good manners suggest you thank them. So please do respond to them. If you are using automated means to build your lists, you will quickly be overwhelmed with too many messages to personally respond to. This is when automated tools are helpful. All of the twitter tools mentioned in the first article, Tweetspinner, Twello, and Social Oomph (my favorite) as well as many others will work. No matter the tool you choose, they will each have a tool to automate your responses to your direct messages. Part of setting up the automation in any of these tools, is preparing a list of 140 character responses, thanking those that follow you. The set up and configuration of your list might vary from site to site, but the idea is the same for every tool. In your 140 character messages, remember that folks are following you because you’ve expressed interest in what they are up to. Continue that interest in your responses. Remember, you are at the very beginning of building a relationship with them. Don’t try to sell your opportunity too soon. That said, feel free to include shortened links to your business sites (bit.ly will help here, shortening your links so you can make the best use of your 140 characters) in a context of shared interest, rather than premature, hard selling.

As you are thanking others for following you, you will receive many thank you messages as well. This is where the relationship building continues. Reach out to those thank you notes that most resonate with you. Ask them how they are using Twitter to market their businesses. Offer an introductory free consultation. Send them a complementary bit of content. Check in with them occasionally to see how they are. You know, just like you would with a friend.

Yea! Your list is building nicely, you’re seeing more traffic to your website, your conversion rate from Twitter is improving nicely. Now your inbox is swamped. These same tools will help you quickly purge your direct message box.

Tweeting


Because the purpose of social networks in general and Tweeting in particular, this is where the relationship building really begins. Regular tweets are the ticket. Ideally, several times a day. Again, the tools listed above can automate this process as well with the usual pros/cons. Automated tools have a similar spinning message feature mentioned in the Direct Message section. This spinning messages will be in a similar format of a list of 140 character messages. To be compliant with Twitter rules (and thus keeping your account open) the ratio of marketing tweets to non-marketing is about 1:4. Marketing tweets would include those that link back to your business sites, blogs, videos, etc. You also want to build a long list of tweets, as Twitter doesn’t take kindly to excessive repetition of messages. I would started with a list of 20 tweets, with a 1:4 ratio of marketing to to non-marketing tweets, and build your list 20 tweets a day and reload your list into whatever tool you’re using. Another part of automating your tweets is to set up scheduling and frequency of your tweets.

As with everything discussed so far, just because you automate a fair amount of your Twitter marketing efforts, you and your followers will be well served with manual tweets from you. Read what other people are tweeting about. If someone shares something interesting to you, share the love and re-tweet. Remember, this is a social medium. So go be social!

Next Steps


Now that you have the basics of building your list of followers by following those with similar interests as you and building relationships with that list using a combination of automated tools and good old fashioned manual effort, you can start experimenting with marketing your business on Twitter. As you become more comfortable with the tools, you will naturally progress to fine tuning your marketing message to better coordinate with your other marketing platforms and campaigns.

So go forth, get out there and introduce yourself to people, share your information, build the relationships and build your business and have a great time doing it.

Integrated Life Success

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