Nov 24, 2015

Using Twitter for Digital Selling: Prospect Effectively and Drive More Sales

by Digital Marketing Institute

Are you a socially enabled seller? Are you incorporating Twitter into your digital selling strategy? Whether you are or not (yet!), this guide will share with you everything you need to know to optimize your selling approach. Expand your reach, prospect efficiently, and engage in up-to-the-minute social conversations that will convert customers and help you reach your quota.

50% of technology companies have acquired a customer through Twitter, while 74% of people follow businesses on Twitter to get product updates; the potential to drive digital sales using this platform is immense, and something that you can very easily tap into.

Create a Compelling Profile

The first step in any successful social selling activity is to ensure that you’ve optimized your profile on the appropriate social media platforms. As with LinkedIn, you are equally visible to prospects on Twitter as they are to you, so it’s important to persevere with your personal branding efforts and present the best possible professional version of yourself! That small initial effort can yield significant long term benefits, as customers will be much more likely to engage and convert if you are considered a credible, authoritative social media source.

Choose a suitable @username: You will have to select a handle that is 15 characters or less and reflects both you and your business. Try to pick something clear, simple and easy to remember, as this will be your enduring identifier on Twitter by which customers will be able to search for you. For example, why use your birthdate to create a unique username when you could include your company name? Sophie_DMI would be a lot more distinguishing than SophieSmith1990, even if the latter doeshighlight how youthful and vital I am.

Be on-brand: Your Twitter profile is composed of a number of visual assets, namely your profile picture and header image. Using a professional yet approachable and relaxed profile picture should be a consistent action taken across any social media account used for business purposes. When it comes to selecting a suitable header image, it’s important to choose a photo that aligns with your personal brand and best represents your business. You can even use your cover photo as an opportunity to advertise a price promotion, or a new product or service.


It’s helpful to note that Twitter’s recommended size for profile pictures is 400×400 pixels, and for header images it’s 1500×500 pixels. Twitter will automatically resize any pictures that don’t fit these dimensions.

Make your bio count: You have an economical 160 characters with which to pique the interest of potential customers, so use them wisely. Try to succinctly convey your business’s unique selling point; how you can provide value to potential customers and why, rather than just listing your title or business name. As always, you should try to position yourself as someone who can inform and advise potential customers, so including a pithy insight or statistic is also recommended. Use hashtags where appropriate, as these will increase your visibility in Twitter searches, and include a link to your LinkedIn profile to add another touchpoint for potential customers.

Use a Pinned Tweet:Pinned Tweets are perfect for demonstrating your value that little bit further. You can provide maximum visibility at the top of your timeline to a Tweet that could either showcase your industry expertise or thought leadership, or promote your sales offering. All you have to do is post a Tweet, click “More” and then select “Pin to your profile page”.

Target Potential Customers

Because it can facilitate countless social conversations on countless topics, Twitter is the perfect medium for identifying and targeting customers based on their interests. You can use Twitter to research their needs and interests, and then engage them in a personalized conversation that they are much more likely to want to participate in. If used effectively, Twitter is an all-powerful platform that can significantly assist your digital sales process and improve your customer conversion. I’ve outlined a couple of tactics you can adopt to make the most of your Twitter targeting:

Acquire a relevant following: Before you can start targeting prospects, you need to find them first!

You can use Twitter’s search function and enter any keywords (be it a job title, company or industry) to find photos, video, news, tweets and accounts that reference them. You can also use advanced search to look for exact words and phrases, tweets from or to particular accounts (your competitors, perhaps?) or tweets that mention particular accounts. You can even use criteria such as location and date ranges, and include retweets in your search. Once you find the Twitter user you’ve been looking for, you should start following them, in the hope that they’ll follow you back! Another option is to use a social listening tool to help you find your ideal followers. You could use Followerwonk, for example, to search for users that use certain keywords in either their Twitter profile, bio or both. You can also use the app to identify your competitors’ followers, and follow them yourself in an attempt to grow your own follower count.

Be organized: Twitter lists can help with your prospecting in more ways than one! Once you’ve started following a lot of users, your newsfeed will start to get incredibly active; this, coupled with the fact that the average lifespan of a Tweet is approximately 18 minutes, means that you need to implement a streamlined system that allows you to closely monitor chosen users and their tweets as and when you need to.

Creating lists is all about categorizing and curating Twitter users for your own convenience. You can create lists to monitor business prospects, either individual or company accounts, and segment those lists by industry, job title, how qualified they are, or a specific keyword. By following these lists, you will become familiar with conversation trends, industry news and customer pain points, all of which will set you up to engage prospects in a way that is more valuable to both you and them.

You can also create lists to monitor the competition. By paying attention to what your competitors are tweeting, and how they are engaging with their customers, you will be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and evaluate your own. As well as intercepting potential customers, you can leverage this insight to refine your value proposition and better position your business.

You can subscribe to other users’ lists, if they haven’t made them private (a feature worth taking advantage of when you’re building prospect and competitor lists!), which is another way to gain a more detailed understanding of customer needs and the state of different industries without necessarily having to follow users.

Finally, you can also view which lists you are a member of; a simple way to identify Twitter users/potential leads who are already interested in what you have to say!

Stay Alert: Another effective way to make that you don’t miss out on essential tweets or insights, and to ensure you are in position to respond as soon as possible, is to set up custom alerts. These alerts will notify you if someone tweets or mentions your company, selected competitors or keywords. You can use an app like Warble, which will automate the process, track your chosen Twitter activity and email you regular reports. You can also use IFTTT to receive emails when a Twitter user uses a specific hashtag, or a certain user posts a new tweet; there’s even an option to receive a daily roundup of Tweets from preferred users! All you need to do is search “Twitter” a select the recipe that best suits you!

Digital Selling Ultimate Guide - IFTTT

Nurture Your Relationships

The most time consuming aspect of your social selling strategy for Twitter can also be the most rewarding. After investing your energy in identifying and organizing your prospects, no matter how arduous it might seem, never neglect to nurture your prospect and customer relationships. It might take a little bit of time, but it is a continuous process that can drive sales and encourage repeat purchases. All you need to know is when to engage, and how:

Stay on schedule: In order to attract and engage potential customers, your Twitter account needs to be a hub of educational industry articles, appealing infographics, and impressive statistics. This is how you establish yourself as an influential thought leader, win fans and influence prospects. You probably don’t have time to create this content yourself (if you do, I salute you!), but there’s nothing to stop you from curating captivating content from other authoritative sources – like this blog post, for example! You can use an RSS like Feedly, which will recommend and collate relevant industry blogs and articles from prominent publications, so you can read and share as efficiently as possible. Tim Hughes, who worked on the roll out of social selling throughout Oracle, and is the co-founder of emphasizes the importance of having a “buyer centric profile” on Twitter, and curating and posting articles that would be interesting to a target audience. It’s about leveraging “content that the contact will be interested in to drive the conversation”.

After you’ve found suitable content, use an app like Buffer to schedule your tweets, so they will be automatically posted throughout the day! Buffer will even recommend optimum times for posting to guarantee maximum engagement, and analyze your best and worst-performing tweets, so you know what content your followers are engaging with and can curate better content for them in the future.

Be Responsive: You’ve set up your alerts, you’ve curated a compelling timeline of tweets; now you need to start personally interacting with your prospects. An easy way to test the water is to utilize Retweets, as a way to make yourself visible to a prospect without being too presumptuous. It’s a simple act that can serve as a catalyst for future engagement. If a user mentions you or your company, or a service or product you offer, this presents an appropriate opportunity for you to introduce yourself into the conversation. You’ll be able to assess whether or not it’s valuable to do so, but in the instances where you think it will benefit your digital selling strategy, you can keep that conversation going by asking questions, and demonstrating an interest in their needs as a customer. In this way, you can slowly but surely advance your relationship and, when the time is right, either take the conversation to Direct Messages, email or phone for a more direct, strategic discussion.

Tag a colleague: Tim Hughes outlines a tactic called “Twitter Rooms” or “Tag Selling”, which could benefit sales generalists in convincing and converting customers. Once a seller has entered into a Direct Message with a prospect, he can bring in a colleague with specialist domain experience. “He does this using Twitter rooms. He always asks permission to bring in the colleague. At the point the specialist is engaged, he closes for next action”. Hughes references an acquaintance who claims to get “a far better response…and says he never asks for the sale directly; by then there should be trust built between the two parties”.

Find your original angle: A lot of sales professionals do Twitter well, so you need to think about utilizing the platform in a way that sets you apart from the competition. Crafting a distinctive online persona is equally, if not more important than curating quality content; it humanizes you, and makes you infinitely more relatable to your prospective customers. Pepper your tweets with humour (the tasteful kind!), ask questions, be honest. It might take a while to find your voice, but as long as you avoid being too formal or stilted, your personality will begin to shine ]Hughes agrees; “social media is about being social and engaging. Please don’t think social is about bombarding social channels with corporate content”.

Digital Selling Ultimate Guide - Rand Fishkin Twitter

If you want to continue learning and further optimize your digital selling strategy, you could consider with our Professional Diploma in Digital Selling, which will equip you with the essential skills and knowledge you need to generate and nurture more leads, drive more sales and achieve ultimate selling success.

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