How to: Grow a Qualified Twitter Following for Lead Generation

July 20, 2011 | 
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“Twitter…really?” That may be what you’re thinking. And you may think that it’s just people Tweeting about what they had for lunch or a place where your sales team can waste time during work posting Tweets of cat videos.

But the research shows that building a qualified Twitter following can prove beneficial to your lead generation engine. Marketing software company HubSpot recently published their study, finding that businesses with 1,000 or more Twitter followers saw 6 times more traffic than those with 1 to 25 followers.

It is of course worth considering other factors. Businesses committing time to Twitter are likely the ones who are also blogging or participating on Facebook. These both drive traffic, especially given Google’s new ranking factors that reward authority and social sharing. Nevertheless, there are 20 million people on Twitter and 177 million Tweets are sent per day. With that much participation, it’s likely that your prospects are Tweeting about the issues your product can solve right this minute. You just haven’t engaged with them yet.

Here are some simple tips on how your individual sales pros and your business can make the most of Twitter for lead generation.

1. Optimize Your Twitter Profile

You want to brand yourself professionally and complete all areas of your profile so that others can find you and follow you via Twitter search.

  • Use a professional looking profile picture
  • If you haven’t already signed up for Twitter, choose a username as close to your real name as available. Screen names (like from AOL or chat rooms) or nicknames are perceived as old-fashioned.
  • Complete your 160-character bio and use the words that matter to your industry. Keywords like “sales”, “B2B sales”, “sales operations professional” or “sales blogger”, plus your company name and the type of product you sell (ie, “marketing analytics software” or “email marketing platform”) will help you show up in search results for those looking to connect with like-minded folks.

2. Follow the Right People

When you’re first starting out on Twitter, you have to follow others first in order to build a following. Find the right kinds of people to follow with a tool like FilterTweeps, which lets you search for people by the keywords in their bios and location.

Another way is to follow your competitors’ followers. Compare your two Twitter accounts with FollowerWonk and see who they are already targeting.

Last, set up search terms for Twitter with Twitter’s free search tool. Search for your competitors and keywords relevant to your industry. Follow people who are participating in those conversations and subscribe to an RSS feed of those searches.

3. Add Value

Many people will automatically follow you right back, especially if they are interested in the kinds of things you put in your Twitter bio. You will grow and nurture this following in two ways:

  •  Share good information: Subscribe to the industry blogs and news sources that matter to the following you are trying to build and the leads you want to target. If you are a source for this information, others will follow you to learn from you. They will also “promote” you to others via ReTweets, giving you visibility to their followers and a whole new set of leads. You can use a free tool like Buffer to even schedule Tweets of this content and help save you time.
  • Engage: Twitter is a very conversational platform. Unlike other social networks you may have used before like MySpace or Facebook, it’s actually considered a good thing to “talk to strangers” on Twitter. (Whereas on the other two, it’s considered creepy.) Commenting on someone else’s Tweet (“I like the tips in that article!) with an @reply, thanking those who share your blog posts, ReTweeting the Tweets of others – all of these are what you need to do to connect with these new followers.

Have your sales team follow these tips to get started on building a qualified Twitter following that will help them engage directly with leads and prospects and bring new business to your company. And, last but not least, make sure everyone is on the same page for how they should engage and present themselves on Twitter. Check to see if your company already has a social media policy, and if not, think about establishing some basic guidelines so that expectations are clear.

And feel free to follow Yesware on Twitter while you’re at it. 🙂

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