- Think of Twitter as the top of your funnel. As you read blogs, add comments and tweet about them, you build your army of followers - hopefully a large army that respects your judgement and appreciates your content. You want your followers to be your target market for sales. Using my company as an example, we are looking to attract CEO's and CMO's who are interested in our inbound marketing services. We actively search for these folks using Twitter search, which searches tweets for keywords like "social media marketing", or Tweepsearch, which searches Twitter profiles for words like "CEO" or "CMO". We scan the results and follow people who tweet fairly frequently, show an active interest and seem predisposed to engage with us. Hopefully, they will follow us back. If not, we can deal with them later via FriendorFollow.
- Create a Steady Stream of Helpful Content. Now you want to convince your followers and potential followers to take an interest in what you have to say. Set up your RSS feeds and social bookmarking sites to deliver daily, interesting content to your door step. Throughout the day, if possible, scan those results, read the articles that will appeal to your target group and tweet about them. Be sure to include a url-shortened link (at the end is best) and keep your tweet under 120 characters, so that your followers can easily retweet without modifying the original content. This step accomplishes two things - it establishes you as a trustworthy source for valuable advice or news and it spreads the word beyond your immediate network. This is how you can grow your audience without doing a lot more searching.
- Tweet your own blogs periodically. A good ratio is 10 public-service tweets to 1 of your own. You don't want to overdo the self-promotion, but some of that is expected. Make sure your blogs are on-target with your network, which further solidifies your status as a trusted expert. Ideally, your blog is integrated with your website, and you have calls-to-action and landing pages associated with your blog content. When visitors have finished reading your blog, they have an easy opportunity to subscribe to your blog and pursue your valuable offers or free content. This is how you convert visitors to leads and move them down your sales funnel.
- Study your leads and follow-up. Hopefully you have some lead-tracking software built into to your blog/website. Check your leads as they come in and respond as personally as you can. This will usually be by e-mail, but if you're lucky enough to get a phone number, don't hesitate to call. Let them know that you appreciate their contacting you (by Twitter or Facebook or Google...) and what can you do for them?
- Close the deal. Now you're down at the spout of the funnel. Be as real and genuine as you have been online, but add your real personality to the mix and build that relationship. Let them know how you got to this point. They will appreciate your knowledge of inbound marketing and that will add to your qualifications. Get to the point. Tell them what's in it for them and don't forget to ask for their business. Good hunting!
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