I received a very interesting email on Tuesday, which will be of interest to ANYONE who is using Twitter as a way to market their business, but not getting the kind of results they need.
First off, for those of you who do not already know, I used to be the 3rd most followed person on Twitter in England and one of the world’s top 50 most followed people. As a marketing professional, I quickly saw the total lack of value in having such a massive, yet untargeted network and got my Twitter account reset to zero! After this, I started achieving amazing marketing results from Twitter – In total, I have now generated around £50,000 in new business, via contacts I made on Twitter – using the service for an hour or two a week.
Bob’s Twitter problem
Bob, not his real name, wrote to ask me for some advice. He said that he spends around 3 hours each day on Twitter and that he has over 50,000 ‘followers’ – BUT that he has nothing to show for it; other than regularly appearing on various lists as one of the most ‘retweeted’ people that day. Bob wanted to know how to transform what he referred to as “all this popularity” into income for his small design business!
Twitter is NOT the end game – It’s just a tool
Many people, who start off using Twitter as a way to market their business and make new contacts, end up quickly forgetting this and instead, become obsessed with attracting as many followers as possible. Building a large following on Twitter then becomes their end game – instead of building their business with the help of Twitter.
I took a look at Bob’s Tweets and they are mainly just him sharing other people’s favourite links. As a result, his ‘following’ is untargeted. He explained in his email that his ideal follower is the owner of a small business. As far as he knows, very few of his followers are in that position. Those who are, are usually following lots of other designers. He went on to explain that the additional traffic his website gets because of his Twitter use, has been of zero value to him. No sales, no new clients and no referrals.
100 followers and 2 new clients in a month
Yesterday afternoon, I was speaking with a client of mine, who’s an Accountant. He has only been using Twitter for a month, (around an hour or two in total spent Twittering) – YET he has already attracted 2 new clients directly via Twitter, using the same approach as me!
In February, I made over £7,500 from a project I undertook, for a contact I met on Twitter. In total, I have made in excess of £50,000 via contacts I have made via Twitter. I achieved this, even though I only invest around 20 minutes using Twitter, 3 or 4 days a week.
Professionally marketed businesses achieve great marketing results because they use an effective marketing strategy to develop their business. The other 99% of small businesses ‘play it by ear.’ Most marketing carried out by small businesses is undertaken simply because it’s free / low cost – like email marketing, blogging or using Twitter, FaceBook or LinkedIn etc.
These businesses will send out emails, purely because they have a ‘list’ of names and it’s free to send these messages. They will write a blog, without a clear idea of exactly what they are seeking to achieve. I had a comment on this blog from a reader, who has been blogging for 5 years, and has yet to acquire a single client through his blog!
Understand Twitter’s limitations
I have mentioned a few times already, that I have generated tens of thousands of pounds in business from people I MET on Twitter. The key word here is MET - I met them on Twitter – but I did not get to know them or try and market to them via Twitter. Twitter was exclusively used as a method to meet interesting people.
Twitter is a very poor tool, if you want to develop a relationship with someone. Because of this, I make it super-easy for people to email or call me. I advise my clients to do the same. The contact page of this blog, for example, has my full contact details; postal address, phone number and email. THAT’S where I ‘connect’ with the people I ‘meet’ via Twitter – NOT via Direct Messages!
Twitter is a great place to meet, but once you have met, if there’s any synergy between you and your new contact – GET THE HECK OUT OF TWITTER AND START TALKING!
For marketing, Twitter is NOT about numbers
Bob spends 3 hours a day on Twitter, ReTweeting other people’s links and communicating with a few dozen ‘regulars.’ That’s why his business is seeing no return for all his efforts.
From a business perspective, it’s far more profitable to have a smaller Twitter following, made up of people with a genuine interest in your core business. These can either be prospective clients or prospective ‘introducer’s’ – People, who will recommend you to their contacts.
When I had tens of thousands of followers and followed over 20,000 people back, I was wasting a stack of time dealing with messages and direct messages from people, who had zero interest in me or my business. They just wanted me to ReTweet links to their website, ask people to follow them or whatever, but they were really just sucking hours of my time each week, with no return on my part. I occasionally got 600 direct messages in a single day!
Quality is key – not quantity. Today, I have 2000 followers and I follow around 80 people. However, I have spoken to or met way over 100 of the people who follow me. Add those I have sent / received mail from and that figure is closer to 1000. NONE of these relationships have been built on Twitter.
You would not dream of meeting someone at a networking event, who was interested in your services, and then refuse to follow that up with a call or a meeting would you? Just because you meet that same person via Twitter, the rules stay the same!
In my experience, the most profitable way for a small business to use Twitter as a marketing tool, is to use it as a way to connect with targeted people. Once you have connected, if there seems to be a synergy, treat them like ANY other business contact and talk to them. Show them that they are worth more than 140 characters to you.
Also, focus on quality and not quantity. If you want to attract people with a potential need for your products or services, keep your Tweets on topic as often as you can. I have people who I study on Twitter, like Bob the designer, who make it impossible to easily find out what they do for a living, based on their Tweets.
Your profile might say what you do and link to your website or blog, but remember; if your Tweets do not get people interested enough, they won’t check your profile out!