If you’re attempting what’s known as social selling – using social media tools to power your sales opportunities – I’d like to offer a courtesy reminder: Buyers don’t join social networks to be sold.
Social selling is the buzz term of the season because of its proven success: Hubspot research, for instance, shows that sales reps who use social media as part of their process exceeded quota 23% more often. The problem, though, is that more and more sales reps jump into social selling without proper training or social media expertise at hand. The result? Reps hastily engage with any social user who will listen, and lose a potentially valuable connection in the process. As I mentioned, no one joins LinkedIn or Twitter because they’re looking forward to a sales pitch.
As the social media manager at Brainshark, I’m on social media channels a lot, and constantly witness social selling attempts that get shut down due to easily fixable mistakes. While social selling is most popular on LinkedIn, I see a lot of damaging activities happening on Twitter, too.
How Are People Using Twitter?
The Twittersphere can be intimidating for those who don’t consider themselves social media-savvy. Whereas Facebook has the most users, and LinkedIn is the known hub for professionals, Twitter can be seen as an in-between – and its value isn’t yet universally understood. According to the American Press Institute, here’s how people are using Twitter:
- 40% for breaking news alerts,
- 39% to keep up with news, in general
- 36% use Twitter “to pass the time”
Only 19% say they use the platform to network – but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked.
How to Appear Like a “Real” Twitter User
Whether you’re new to Twitter, new to a company that expects you to participate in social selling, or simply need to improve on your current Twitter presence, here’s what it comes down to: If you want to look like a genuine Twitter user who isn’t just on the network to garner leads, you need to use Twitter genuinely and authentically.
Anyone who actually enjoys the network is savvy enough to spot someone who just pushes out content and doesn’t interact in a meaningful way with others. They’re seen as essentially inactive.
8 Ways to Use Twitter (And Improve Your Social Selling)
1. Add a Profile Picture
Know what the “Twitter egg” is? Scramble that sucker. Nothing will turn off users more than not seeing a profile picture. Your absolute first priority on Twitter should be changing the default “egg” to your own photo.
What kind of photo? Well, a professional headshot may be right for LinkedIn, but Twitter is a little more casual, and users can get away with an image that shows more personality. Just make sure you’re not in an outfit or pose you wouldn’t want your CEO to see.
2. Optimize Your Bio
Your Twitter bio is a great place to mention your job title and include a hashtag or two about things you’re interested in (like #sales or #marketing). When people search for others to follow on Twitter, they can type in a term – handles (that’s usernames) with that search term in their bio will appear in the results.
Second to the egg profile picture, your bio is how people will immediately judge if your account comes off as spam. Avoid using all capital letters, multiple symbols, or anything that mentions FREE or “get more ___”.
Rule of thumb: Make it extremely easy for people to know: who you are, what you do, and how they can learn more. If you want to keep it simple, consider: Your Job Title, Your Company Name and a link to your LinkedIn profile or website.
3. Post Consistently
Participate at least once a day on Twitter (this can and should include links, retweets, favorites and conversations.) When you post consistently, you stay on your followers’ radar, and they’ll be more likely to continue following you.
If I’m thinking about following someone on Twitter, and I see they post very infrequently (like once every few weeks), I won’t follow them. You only want to follow people who will deliver fresh content to your newsfeed regularly – and others expect the same from you.
If you don’t want to commit to posting every day, consider setting up a free tool like Buffer or Tweetdeck to schedule tweets ahead of time, for a few days or a week. If you do choose to schedule tweets, remember to still check your Twitter account for notifications, like when others have mentioned you, and respond to them as needed.
4. Don’t Just Talk About Yourself
Make it a priority to share articles not published by your company that you find interesting. Twitter is a SOCIAL network, and the whole point is to connect and engage with others with similar interests. Retweet from people you’d like to connect with and always follow new people. This should include colleagues, brands you like, thought leaders, and your customers, prospects and contacts.
Related Article: LinkedIn, Microsoft and the State of Social Selling
5. Create Lists
Lists are a great way to segment those you’re following, particularly if you’re following a large number of accounts. You’re able to easily sort through whatever interests you at the moment, and this can be particularly important from a social selling perspective.
For example, at Brainshark, we have followers segmented into Our Employees, Our Partners, Researches and Advisors, Sales Thought Leaders, and more. The title of each list is whatever you’d like it to be.
Remember, lists can be either public or private, which means you can track your prospective customers or competitors accounts without them being aware you’ve segmented them.
6. Participate in Chats
Twitter chats are a great way to interact with fellow users with similar interests, share your knowledge and opinions, get advice from industry peers – and find others who might be looking for a solution that your business can provide.
What we don’t recommend? Going into a Twitter chat and tweeting links to your products and services. Remember: people are there to connect and engage, not hear all about you. Even if you have a blog post or downloadable asset that touches on the topic being mentioned, refrain from sharing it in a chat, unless another chatter has made it clear they want to learn more from you.
Tip: If you want to mention someone’s Twitter handle at the start of a post, and want your entire network to see it, put a period in front of their @mention name. If you don’t, the post will only be visible to those who follow both you and the person you’re mentioning.
7. Whenever Possible, Include Rich Media
Whenever possible, include images in your tweets. Twitter research shows that tweets with photos get up to 313% more engagement that those without. Just remember that an image takes up 24 of your 140-characters (for the time being), so choose your words wisely and be concise. If you have a LOT to say about something, LinkedIn is the place to voice those opinions.
8. Post on Nights and Weekends
If you only post while you’re in the office, you’re missing out on prime tweeting time. According to Buffer, tweets sent at 9 p.m. in the U.S. earn the most retweets and favorites, on average.
And don’t assume your network takes a break from social media on the weekend. In fact, research shows that Twitter engagement for brands is actually 17% higher on weekends.
Ready for more sales advice? Check out 6 Reasons Why Sales Reps Lose Deals They Should Be Winning