Our next two articles will be discussing social selling with two separate platforms … Twitter and LinkedIn. A few years ago, I recall a conversation on one of the social networks that asked the question … “Which platform, Twitter or LinkedIn, is the most effective for B2B selling?” Certainly, there are arguments for both.
Then some brilliant bloke said … “Both!” Used together, they provide a critical one-two punch. Twitter can, for example, be used as an important stepping-stone toward a more meaningful connection on LinkedIn. Therefore, we will begin with Twitter and let’s start with …
In order to be able to leverage Twitter, it would probably be a good idea to first understand it. There are literally thousands of articles and hundreds of free eBooks that have been published to assist you with this. Twitter is undoubtedly the most simple, and the most casual, of the major social networks.
Just about anything goes on Twitter and, unless you are a celebrity or … a politician (politicians should be on LinkedIn as well, by the way), you can’t do a whole lot of damage to your reputation in 140 character spurts. Of course, you could be an idiot but, I repeat myself. Your pick. Just remember that Twitter, or any social platform, does not make you something that you are not. It merely amplifies that which you already are.
While your profile on Twitter is nowhere near as sophisticated as that found on LinkedIn, you have 160 characters (only) to encourage people to want to connect (follow) and engage with you. In addition to your mini-bio, you have your photo, your location, and website, and a unique Twitter handle (username) that will accompany your actual name.
As with LinkedIn, your profile will be the first thing people will look at when they are deciding whether or not to engage with you on some level. If you appear to be a serial killer … and you are not … you may wish to think about who you are going to be attracting. Of course, if you are a serial killer, feel free to slash away.
Once we have identified our goals, and these will be largely based on our understanding of the potential of Twitter for social selling, we can then develop our strategies to achieve these goals. Our goals might include …
Branding – You now have the ability to create and nurture your very own personal brand. What does this mean to you as a salesperson? Unlike your company brand that generates leads for the company that may be given to you, your personal brand gives all generated leads directly to you.
Find – This includes discovering new opportunities as well as connecting with the right people who might want to do business with you and/or refer you to those who do.
Be found – One of the best parts of social selling is that people (buyers) are looking for people like you (providers) and they are doing so 365/24/7. This is only one of the biggest changes in buyer behaviors! Obviously, you want to turn up in these searches and the higher your search ranking the better.
I think of strategies as being the road-maps to achieving our goals. Not having a solid strategy is much like a goal that has not been clearly articulated, does not include defined steps, and has not been assigned a date for successful completion. These are called wishes.
One of your most important strategies will be to develop a target buyer persona. This is the only way that you will be able to define who you want to connect (follow) to. Once you have accomplished this, you can then create and deploy your strategies to build those relationships and these should be documented in a step-by-step manner.
Our strategies will be supported by specific tactics (social selling activities). For example, if my strategy is to connect with influencers and prospective buyers, what tactics will I deploy to maximize this strategy’s effectiveness?
Master search – Twitter has an obvious search bar that you can use to quickly find users and keywords. What is hidden from view is Twitter’s advanced search functionalities. Hint – It is hidden under the “More” tab after the results of a simple search. However, since I like you, here is a direct link. Learn to use it!
Connect with the right people – One of your strategies was to create a target buyer persona. Now you get to use it.
Engage and be responsive – You have a choice to make. Will you be a watcher or an active participant on Twitter? Being a watcher is roughly equivalent to being invisible. You don’t engage, you don’t respond, you don’t contribute and, ultimately, you don’t get nuttin’ out of Twitter. Of course, this would be commensurate with your personal efforts.
Share great content – The new sales model is education. If buyers are looking for, and evaluating, those who can satisfy their needs … those who assist them in their search become valuable assets. This can be you. Share articles, videos, slides, etc., yours and others, that pertain to your product or service. You are establishing your expertise and building your brand.
Like, retweet, reply, DM – In the order shown, you are engaging progressively through a series of taps and touches. Likes and retweets are taps that just let folks know that you are there. Retweets with comments, replies, and direct messages are touches and these should be personalized by a real person … you.
Create lists – Lists can be private (your eyes only) or public. You can also follow (subscribe rather than an actual follow) public lists that are created by others and you can do so en masse. Now, if you have a list that you have named “My best customers”, you may want to make this list private. On the other hand, if your competitor has a public list with the same name …
The beauty of lists is that they allow you to filter the noise that is inherently Twitter. If you are following 1,000’s, you can imagine that your news feed looks a lot like a fire hose and you are attempting to drink from that. A list turns this hose into a straw.
Monitor your news feed – You are looking for new opportunities and people. It is also especially critical for you to monitor your lists which should be populated with people who have the highest likelihood of delivering a positive return.
Twitter has always been and continues to be, probably the most open of all of the social networks. This means that there are a huge number of third-party social selling (as well as social marketing) tools that are available with Twitter (too many to list here but, here’s a list of a few to get you started). Their general functionalities can be grouped as follows …
- Automated engagement – For example, automatically generating a direct (private) template message to a new follower or a template @ reply (public) message. Now, I am not a fan of automated messaging and, if I follow you and you immediately hit me with a canned sales pitch or ask me to do something for you, game over.
- Automated content sharing – Buffer, Hootsuite, and Dlvr.it all have the capability to monitor content sources via RSS and then automatically disseminate any new content to the social networks.
- Find targeted Twitter users – Based on location, Klout scores, keywords such as title or industry, and more.
- Discover new opportunities – These are generally based on searchable keywords and/or sentiment (often combined with automated engagement) – “I hate (sentiment) product (keyword)!” This might be followed by an automated message such as “I see that you are talking about ‘product’. Might you be interested in an alternative?”
- Analytics – How are my tweets doing? What is, and what is not, resonating? What are the best times to tweet? Why are my followers leaving me like I am carrying the Black Death?
- Dashboards – There are many dashboards available (free and paid such as Hootsuite) and these can be used to easily monitor multiple Twitter feeds such as saved searches, replies, direct messages, lists, and even multiple Twitter accounts.
Additionally, many of these tools will allow you to connect Twitter, and your activities, directly to your CRM or Marketing application. This may be done via a direct handshake between the two (or three), by the deployment of a widget or browser extension, or through a data connector like Zapier or IFTTT (If This, Then That).
Here comes the link between Twitter and LinkedIn. When we engage personally and progressively with others on Twitter, we have perfectly positioned ourselves to request, via a personalized invitation, to connect on LinkedIn. Twitter has done the heavy lifting by establishing familiarity. Do not squander this opportunity by sending a template invitation!
We’ll continue this discussion next month with LinkedIn. In the meantime, do you have any tips to add for B2B social selling with Twitter?