Twitter has had a strange relationship with marketers over recent years, and that’s because it has never really been a direct way of making money – this now looks to be changing.
According to Optify, 82% of all B2B social media leads are generated on Twitter. This is despite the fact that just 32% of the website traffic generated from social media sites actually comes from Twitter – these stats highlight the valuable role it has to play in monetising an online network.
To make the most of Twitter, you need to know what you're doing, however. Otherwise, your time will probably be better invested holding a sandwich board on a busy street!
Here are nine steps you can take to start generating solid leads from the time you spend using the site.
1. Have a watertight strategy
To be successful generating leads on Twitter, you need to embrace it wholeheartedly and build your usage of it into your routine.
It's not a magic formula, but it can be an incredibly effective way to engage with your audience and reach out to new people.
To generate maximum ROI from the time you spend using social media, you need a clear strategy.
This should detail when you post, what you post, and how you will use Twitter to convince your audience that you can meet their needs.
2. Contribute don't lecture
To be successful at generating leads, you need to actually engage with your audience. Doing so on a superficial level just doesn't work.
A very loose rule of thumb is that you should tweet, re-tweet, join in with conversations, and post links to other people's content, roughly four times as often as you mention your own service.
Too much selling will simply alienate your audience, and encourage people to stop following you. Twitter is best viewed as a conversation, and certainly not as a hard sell situation.
3. See what others do, and do it better
Follow people who are influential in your niche, and observe how they use Twitter.
You can learn a lot – and make waves online – simply by watching how successful individuals engage with their audiences, and then applying the lessons you learn.
4. Be the pied piper
You need to give people in your audience a reason to follow you – by playing a tune that offers them real value.
It's unlikely that anyone logs into their Twitter account to be sold to – they do it to find advice, news, ideas, conversations and distractions – so make sure you're providing all of those things.
It's good idea to link to other people's content, which you feel is valuable. Make sure you're sharing your own useful content as well, though.
Ted Prodromou offers a simple description of how you can use content you've created to generate leads here.
5. Leverage new and affordable technology
As the worth of social media has become more widely known, the selection of tools available to help marketers get the most out of their use of it has also grown.
Software is available that can help you do more, and analyse the results of your efforts to optimise how you work.
- Hootsuite – This software allows you to post across all your social media channels with ease – and then analyse the results by creating personalised reports. You can also schedule posts, so they are released according to your plan, at the exact times you want.
- Social Bro – This lets you discover exactly who your Twitter community is, so you can devise the most appropriate strategies, and really cater to their needs. It allows you to filter these people, and create new lists e.g. High Influencers who have more than 10,000 followers, who also follow you, and who tweet at least five times a day. It also goes beyond your immediate community, and helps you find people outside your community using an advanced filter tool.
- Buffer – This software takes the hassle out of posting, and allows you to spread your contributions out over the day. You simply add content, posts, and information to your ‘buffer,' and the software posts automatically without overwhelming your followers. Similar to Hootsuite, this means you can spend half an hour in the morning gathering interesting content, and then focus on other areas during the day without having to worry about neglecting your audience.
6. Unlock new leads by using keywords
You can use the search function on Twitter to find people who are looking for what you have to offer.
On the flipside, by using keywords and hashtags in your posts, you'll have a greater chance of showing up in the search results of people who are looking for exactly what you provide.
As an example, adding the keywords ‘help', ‘advice' and ‘ideas,' into your tweets can be very effective, as individuals who are actively looking to enter a sales funnel, and are searching for help or advice with an issue related to your niche, will be able to find you.
7. Say my name say my name
You should search for your own name and your company's name on a regular basis. Set up a personalised filter so this lands straight into your dashboard every day.
Some good Twitter clients that offer this functionality are TweetDeck and TweetBot. If people are mentioning you, they're interested in what you're doing, and there may be opportunities to engage with them and encourage them to enter your sales funnel.
Or, if they are writing negative comments, it may give you the opportunity to diffuse the situation.
Searching for your competitors can give you some valuable insights, as well as being good, honest fun if you're a bit nosy!
8. Work your profile
Your profile page gives you a number of spaces where you can display the information visitors need to interact with you. Make sure it's clear what your value proposition is in your bio, and make your contact details clearly visible.
Don't forget you can add a URL that directs to a website in your bio section, but think carefully about the landing page you link to.
Your homepage is not necessarily the best option. It may be worth creating a customised landing page for the short attentions spans of Twitter visitors, which is concise, and has a clear call to action.
By mentioning Twitter on this page, it also adds some level of relevancy.
9. Think about splashing the cash
While you don't need to spend a penny to be successful on Twitter, using promoted links can be an effective tactic for getting your content in front of the right people – if you have the budget available.
Even more interestingly, Twitter is in the process of releasing what it calls ‘Lead Generation Cards‘.
Instead of users having to fill out a form, Twitter will lift their current contact information, so they can express interest with one click and then this data can be instantly passed to the advertiser.
These are still being tested, but Twitter is promising to roll them out globally soon, and appears committed to increasing the number of ways marketers can use the site.
Twitter's here to stay, so don't get left behind, and make sure you're making the most of the time you spend using it.