I was talking with an uncle last week about the businesses he had bought and sold over his long career, and he related that when he sold his last one and retired in 2010 most of his clients were not even online, let alone on social media. (Listening to his horror stories about his first website I know he would have loved today’s business website builder software.)
My how things have changed. And now it’s pretty much understood that social marketing must be a part of your customer-acquisition efforts regardless of what industry you’re in. But are all platforms equally valuable?
And what about Twitter? Is anyone actually making any money with it? The platform has certainly gotten loud and seemingly chaotic in recent years, and building a solid following of convertible prospects is time-consuming, but before we write off Twitter as no longer helpful to the small biz crowd let’s review a couple of points.
Accessibility to prospects
Twitter is one of the few social networks that excels at being more than just a content publishing platform. Open communication is possible without having to pay for it. It’s much easier to “cold call” and have direct interaction with individuals you want to connect with, without looking like a weirdo. Try doing that on Facebook or LinkedIn and you get chased through the village with torches and pitchforks.
It goes like this: you search on Twitter for conversations about a topic of interest to your business, and you jump right into the discussion by replying or @mentioning the person.
I once complained to a vendor about a recent change in policy via Twitter and a competitor of theirs responded to me with their pitch about how much better they were. I checked it out and I’m now a customer of said competitor. Competitor’s cost-per-acquisition for this new customer: $0.00!
On Twitter you can also setup alerts for certain keywords or discussions, letting you know when it’s time to dive in. Set up an account on IFTTT.com, input your parameters and you’ll have emails sent to you directly!
You can create Lists on Twitter of your desired customers and then monitor and target them strategically. First gather the right people to your list using a tool like SocialBro to search by activity, followers, keywords in their bios, and more. Also include in your list anyone who has retweeted, favorited, @mentioned, or replied to you. Once your list is together you can approach these prospects with tailored tweets, offers, and more.
Tweets get indexed
This means that your 140-character mini sales pitches can be stored with Google, Yahoo, and Bing and then show up in search results when people key in certain phrases related to what you offer. How’s that for free SEO! Twitter activity can actually draw website visitors from organic sources too!
Been in one of these yet? If not, check it out. Whether you host your own or you participate in someone else’s (that is related to your vertical) it’s an awesome way to flex your expertise for engaged prospects in real-time and gain a ton of followers.
What about Twitter Ads?
Well…errr…ummm…maybe this part of Twitter isn’t so great for everyone. The consensus is that while Twitter ads for clicks-to-website are pretty successful in driving traffic, the bounce rates across most industries from Twitter ad traffic is horrible. Plus the clicks themselves are expensive. WordStream published a report not too long ago that hints that companies who wish to do well with Twitter ads need to commit to a long, well-funded campaign since it generally takes several visits before ad traffic converts.
For the rest of us, it comes down to smart targeting and using time wisely on the right Twitter activities for business growth. You’ve got a great looking website, you know how you can provide value to new customers – now go find them and tweet like a champ!
By Mark Holland exclusively for blockity.co
Business Writer - SEO & Marketing