Lindsey Madison Special to the Business Press
From a bird’s eye view, Twitter can be a daunting place if you’re a small to medium-sized business (SMB). After all, companies like Amazon.com and Walt Disney have hundreds of thousands of followers and entire departments dedicated to managing their Twitter accounts and other social media profiles. However, being a social media savvy SMB is easier than you think if you put your efforts into looking for leads instead of followers. It’s all about intent-based marketing – marketing efforts geared specifically at looking for consumers who say they intend to buy a specific product or service. And Twitter is a great intent-based marketing platform, because with the right tools, businesses can listen to conversations, find potential customers and reply with an offer to get that customer through the door. Here is a checklist of five things you can do to help your Twitter marketing efforts turn conversations into customers:
1. Use relevant keywords. To find new customers who are quality leads, your business needs to narrow down the search to people who are actually expressing a want or need for your specific product or service. Choose keywords that are unique to your business. For example, restaurants searching for people who are “hungry” on Twitter would bring in a large quantity of results, but finding the quality leads would be time-consuming and tedious. However, using keywords that are specific to a certain cuisine, such as “craving tacos” or “want queso” for a Tex-Mex restaurant, will bring in stronger leads. Once you have your Twitter account, visit https://twitter.com/search-advanced and type in relevant keywords for your business in the “this exact phrase” field.
2. Go local. Large businesses have the luxury of sending their message out to the Twitterverse and reaching a national audience that has access to their product or service. Smaller businesses need to be more aware of the geographic location of their potential new customers and make their marketing message local to target the right market. To do this, SMBs should take advantage of Twitter’s geo-locating capabilities by adding their city in the “near this place” field at https://twitter.com/search-advanced. After doing this, press the button to see real-time conversations that are happening near your business.
3. Listen and respond to potential customers. One of the biggest advantages of social media marketing versus traditional marketing is the two-way channel of communication. Customers and potential customers now have access to an easier and more open way to communicate with businesses. SMBs need to take advantage of Twitter as a way to start conversations with customers and create ongoing relationships. Use Twitter to not only see what potential customers are saying about your business or industry, but also to respond to them and create the opportunity for open dialogue. Listening and responding shows customers you care about their comments and are actively interested in creating relationships with them. One Dallas sporting equipment salesman was frustrated by his social media efforts of tweeting pictures of his product, hoping that his group of followers retweeted them. “I only reached a small circle of people who already knew about us,” says Steve Kent, sales representative for Dallas-based Victus Bats. “Now I use the social media marketing tool SocialCentiv – it gives me the ability to reach outside my circle. Instead of broadcasting my business, I listen to who’s talking and find out what they need. There is a strong purchase intent to the conversations and that’s an easy sale.” For example, using SocialCentiv, Kent found one father looking for a bat for his son’s baseball team on Twitter. Kent was able to respond directly back to that father with a discount, and now all the kids have bats from Kent’s store, plus the father knows people on another team. That’s 60+ sales from a single tweet.
4. Create offers and incentives. It’s also valuable to give customers a reason to use your product or service. This is where valuable offers and incentives come in. The opportunity to save money is one of the top reasons people will follow a business on Twitter. By offering discounts or special promotions, customers are more likely to engage with a business on Twitter and take advantage of the offers sent to them. SMBs can use Twitter to send out discount codes or coupons, which not only creates loyalty with existing customers, it also helps to find new customers and drive sales. 5. Continue to nurture customers and prospects. Being a social media savvy business is more than just creating a Twitter account and occasionally updating posts or checking mentions. Potential customers are more likely to trust and take advantage of your offers if your company continues to nurture relationships built online. Nurturing customers and prospects can be done a variety of ways. Following up with Twitter @replies ties back into number three on this list, but there is also e-mail marketing. Once you’ve engaged customers on Twitter and they’ve taken advantage of an offer, continue to follow up with other online tools like emailing blog links or new offers that they can share with family and friends for additional incentives. The latter is called referral marketing and can turn one customer into 10, 20 or more.
Happy Tweeting! These five tips are all important for a successful intent-based marketing campaign. From using relevant keywords and listening to real-time social media conversations, to providing incentives for customers through special promotions and offers, SMBs can use Twitter as the smart and effective marketing tool they need to get ahead in the world of social media.