Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Three Ways to Connect with Potential Clients via Twitter

You’re active on social media – you’ve set up your blog, crafted your profiles, written great cornerstone content and optimised everything in line with best practise principles. Now you need people to connect. And not just any people, you need to reach a specific group - your potential clients. There’s no point having hundreds of people read your blog if there’s zero chance any of them are going to buy your stuff. So how do you get your message in front of the people most likely to become business partners?

This is a common question, particularly as social media experts rightfully advise against making direct contact orsales pitches straight up. So how? Identifying prospects and monitoring their activity is a great place to start, as it provides insight into what your target audience is talking about and what they're interested in, but there are other ways to establish relationships with potential clients without coming on too strong. Here are three ways to get your content in front of the right people via one of the big four social platforms - Twitter.
1. Likes, re-tweets and favourites. This is a pretty simple one, but a process you still need to approach carefully. Once you’ve identified a list of key people you want to reach through social media, add them to a private list and monitor their updates. Once you have access to their stream, you can interact with them by favouriting one of their tweets or re-tweeting something they’ve shared. A good way of doing this, for content they’ve curated, is by creating a new tweet where you acknowledge them as the source:
‘Great piece on business management from @companyname (via @JoeBloggs)’
This is more effective than a re-tweet as your whole tweet will appear in your prospect’s ‘Notifications’ feed, as opposed to a thumbnail on a re-tweet list. It’s a good way to make your target contacts aware of your presence, but you need to be careful you don’t overdo it and just favourite and re-tweet everything they do as this can be overwhelming and can turn the contact away. Or, maybe worse, it can seem lazy and disengaged, as it may appear that you’re not even reading their posts, you’re just automatically. You need to create a genuine connection, give the prospect a compelling reason to acknowledge or respond to you and start the conversation. Highlighting your shared connection with the piece is a great, non-intrusive, way to start. 
When sharing the prospect's own content, try to include a quote from the piece in your tweet:
'Social listening is key to success' Great piece by @JoeBloggs'
This acknowledges their work and shows how you connected with the content. Including a quote can be quite a compliment, and can help establish a relationship.
Favourites and re-tweets are the simplest methods for making a potential contact aware of your online presence. Used in moderation, they can be a very effective tactic for reaching your target audience.
2. Run a hashtag audit using Twitonomy. If you haven’t used Twitonomy yet, you really need to check it out. Twitonomy gives you a range of data on Twitter profiles, including stats on tweet history, users most re-tweeted, users most replied to, days/hours of the day users are most active and lists, favourites and followers – basically an in-depth rundown of each individual Twitter profile you choose. 
One great use of Twitonomy's data, in prospect analysis terms, is to locate any Twitter chats that prospect takes part in. In the hashtags most used section, have a look for chat hashtags – Twitter chats generally have ‘chat’ in the tag (e.g. #blogchat). If this user is regularly involved in any chats, that hashtag is likely to show up among their ‘Hashtags Most Used’. If you analyse a few potential clients and find common chat hashtags coming up, probably best you locate the time of that chat and get involved. Twitter chats are a great opportunity to connect and share knowledge with likeminded individuals, whilst also offering you the opportunity to showcase your knowledge and get your profile in front of potential clients. 
Note: You can also use Twitonomy to work out influencers who the prospect has most re-tweeted and mentioned, then follow the relevant influencers and work to create connections with them. Even if that influencer is not a target client, if your prospect is listening to what they’re saying and you can get them to re-tweet your content or get your name in your prospect’s feed via that influencer, that’s another way to reach your intended audience.
3. Use Twiangulate to locate the best blogs to use for outreach. Twiangulate gives you a range of data on chosen Twitter profiles by comparing them to each other - reach potential, common keywords used, followers in common. Using the followers in-common data, you can analyse your potential prospects and find out which blog sources are the most commonly followed among them. Make a list of these sources, then look them up and see if they accept guest submissions – as these blogs are commonly followed amongst your prospects, there’s a good chance that landing a guest post on them will get your content in front of your the people you want to reach. The more commonly followed the profiles are amongst your target clients, the greater the potential you'll reach your target audience through guest posts on those sites.   
There are many ways to utilise social media data to locate where your clients are at and how get your content in front of them. Using tools like the ones above can expand your thinking on the data available and how to use it to target specific groups. It takes some time to collate the info, but the more specific you can get, the more you can tailor your efforts for each category of your intended audience – you may, for instance, discover that a sub-section of your target clients follow a blog that the rest of your client base does not, making that the best source to highlight your expertise in their specific area of interest. Taking the time to analyse the data will help narrow your focus and showcase your expertise, not necessarily to the widest audience possible, but to the specific groups you really need to reach.

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