Using Twitter for B2B Sales: Plans for Newbies

This week’s post is by guest blogger, Jen Greene. 

Before rushing off to sign up for Twitter and add it to your social selling journey, there’s definitely some key things you’ll want to do before spending a ton of time tweeting.  Twitter can really become a deep time sink, sucking up hours of time and you may not see measurable results from it.  You might see an increase in website traffic as a result of Twitter, or you may see your followers growing at a steady rate as a result of your efforts following my previous blog posts on Twitter as a sales tool, but you may not be seeing sales as a result.

You Need A Plan

That’s probably because you failed to plan at the outset of all this time you spent on Twitter.

While yes, you will need to set up and just plain post on your account if it’s a brand new Twitter account, you should not just be engaging and tweeting willy nilly.  It’s important to identify ahead of time just what you want to get out of your Twitter efforts, then establish how you’re going to do that.

While building your base of tweets and followers, dedicate some time to sit down and figure out what you want to accomplish.  Do you want to increase sales?  Drive traffic to your website?  Gain leads to fill workshops or exclusive retreats?  What kind of sales are you hoping to gain as a result of Twitter – online sales, or are you trying to move people down a funnel to purchase of your services or solutions?

Identify your goal, then sit down and identify what should happen as a result of your tweets.  If you’re trying to drive web traffic, then you need to establish a routine of sharing links and content that your followers find valuable and will click on frequently.  Including plenty of interesting curated content will help keep your account from feeling overly self-promotional or spammy.   This technique is also recommended for ecommerce; you’ll want to share links to products and items that your followers will find helpful and establish the expectation among your followers that your content is worth clicking on and sharing.  As you build this reputation, it will lead to increased clicks to your site, and if it’s optimized properly, to increased sales as a result.

Using Twitter to Fill a Funnel

If you’re trying to generate leads and move prospects into a funnel, it’s a little trickier.  In this respect, Twitter should be acting as a general platform for you to build relationships.  Provide value to your followers and keep it friendly, conversational, and above all – I’ll say it again – providing value to your followers.  Content that is directly self-promotional should be kept to a minimum, and only provided when your content or services genuinely provide value to your followers.

What kind of a plan is that, you say?  That sounds like just a waste of time – like a lot of effort for few rewards.

Yes, it can be, if you’re expecting fast results.  Social Selling is not about speed, and if you’re looking for fast results, you shouldn’t be using Twitter, or any other social media for that matter.

To start, your plan should be to foster relationships with followers that shows you have their interests in mind.  As I’ve emphasized in every single one of my posts about Twitter for sales, Twitter is best when you’re trying to build long lasting working relationships with prospective buyers.

After a couple months of just plain being friendly and providing value to your growing community, at that point, begin to subtly include more direct links and suggestions to your services and products. Try to link to a landing page that is not a direct sales page; a quality blog that solves a prospect’s problem is a great point to send people to when you see someone asking a question you can answer.  Make sure, of course, that you have a link to a sales page or to an opt-in somewhere in your blog…but don’t make it your primary landing page when you’re offering a solution to a problem on Twitter.

It’s Quality, Not Quantity

Don’t just search and follow people based on one tweet about your niche topic. Regularly search for your niche topic (sales, marketing solutions, enterprise solutions for big businesses, etc.) and tweet at people talking about it.  Through the use of a tool such as Sprout Social, you can take notes on someone having tweeted about the topic before – if you see that you’ve tweeted with the same person a few times, follow them.  They’ll most often follow you back. Once they are following you back, you can send direct messages (DM’s) or direct tweets to establish a dialog and get to know them a little better.  Once you have that dialog going, you can take it to the next step.

Now, you can send a LinkedIn invitation mentioning your tweets.  This simple flow of Twitter to LinkedIn is incredibly effective at not only building Twitter followers, but at expanding your LinkedIn connections as well.  Your tweets will also be found by others interested in that topic, leading to increased followers, and allowing you to sift through and decide if you should extend invites to other new followers as well.

Don’t be discouraged if your following remains small, especially at first. Instead, look at the quality of your followers.  If you’re in sales looking for leads, a steady trickle of influential and engaged followers is far, far more valuable than sheer quantity.  The same goes for increasing general traffic.  Having thousands of followers is worthless if none of them ever tweet at you, click on your content, favorite or share it.

Focus on quality, and dedicate time to decide on what quality means to you. Identify your target audience and what you want your followers to look like. Time spent identifying that in the beginning and then regularly checking in to ensure you’re on target will lead to continued growth and measurable results.

About the Author: Jennifer Greene is an experienced social media marketer, skilled at utilizing various social media channels to build brand influence for both B2C and B2B companies. From strategy to implementation, training or staff support, Jen makes social media as easy and painless as possible for clients.  Learn more about how to streamline your social media process – check out Tyrannosaurus Marketing for details!