I am first and foremost a marketing person, specifically business to business (or Government) marketing on the Internet. We have been very fortunate to be able to grow American Warehouse Systems from two guys in a storage closet (literally) to one of the largest suppliers of material handling products to the US Federal Government. All of this business has been generated via Internet traffic (to date we still don’t have a yellow page listing).
Through the years we have relied on leading edge search engine optimization and other Internet marketing strategies to bring our customers to us. With the dawn of social media I have turned a great deal of my attention toward this “new” marketing resource. Social media is a great way to get out there and get engaged with your customers and potential customers.
Today I would like to discuss Twitter. Why you should use it for your company and how to maximize it.
The way to achieve your business goals on Twitter is actually quite easy in theory. You find your target market, get them to follow you, pitch your product and they buy. Unfortunately in reality it’s really not that easy even if you are very familiar with how Twitter works. A quick search on Twitter or some third party help can quickly bring you to your target market (assuming you know who they are) and you can follow them hoping they will follow you back. They might but if you spend every day trying to pitch your product you will lose each and every one of them and fast. People don’t go to Twitter to hear sales pitches they go for community. You target market exists on Twitter to be part of a community of like minded individuals not the target of never ending commercials.
In order to be successful on Twitter you need to become part of the party. You need to find someone in your organization that has a passion for the same things your target market has a passion for and let them Tweet. For American Warehouse Systems this was easy. I started AWS with the intent to sell to the American Government specifically the military for which I have a passion. My target market is basically me, God fearing, right wing Americans. Unfortunately for others, they don’t have the advantage of an emotional connection with their market. On the other hand maybe someone in your organization does. It is certainly worth looking into. Faking a connection to “join the party” is pretty transparent and won’t get you far.
OK so you’ve found someone in your organization who is on the same wave length as your target market. Now what? You need to become part of the community. You need to invest in the conversation and let people know you are a human being with the same interests as them. In short you need to make friends. Sitting in the corner listening and hoping they will come to you doesn’t work. Get out there and get involved. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion (but don’t forget you are representing your company – read your social media policy).
Lets say now you are involved and you have a great big group of followers that comprise both your passion and your target market. How do you get them to buy your product? There is no easy answer here. People “run” from the virtual salesperson faster than the Fuller Brush Man. You can’t pitch your products on Twitter and retain your quality followers.
I think if you are looking at Twitter as a pure sales tool, you will probably be disappointed. Twitter is a group of communities that have come together for a long conversation. If you become part of this conversation, you will meet people (just like the “outside” world). If you are decent and these people like you and your ideas (Tweets) they may end up checking out your “business” side and perhaps place an order someday. This process is not unlike getting to know your neighbors, in fact it is the same.
The long and short of it is; Your company should be on Twitter to become part of the same community that your customers are a part of. You should be involved in the same issues they face and Twitter is a great place to come together. Twitter is not a direct sales tool, it is a relationship building tool. Building relationships outside of the sales arena often builds trust and credibility. Trust and credibility often lead to sales