If you're still looking for a New Year's Resolution, go ahead and add engaging with Twitter to that list of possibilities. By the time you're done reading this, you'll see why it's worth your time as a seller.
When I encourage people to use Twitter for more than keeping up with celebrity rants, I'm met with a little resistance. I hear, "I don't get it," "Twitter seems useless for sales," and "I don't have the time to add Twitter to my day."
Over the last few months, I have worked with a few organizations to show them how they can turn what they once thought was a social media fad and time waster into a highly effective tool for prospecting, engaging with their clients and establishing themselves as a thought leader with topics they are passionate about for their business.
Follow these 5 introductory steps and you will begin to feel like a more empowered seller:
1. Sign up for Twitter.
Even if you're not 100% sure you'll use it, you won't be able to determine if Twitter is right for you, if you don’t explore it. Take care in creating your profile with your chosen Twitter name (aka Handle) and illustrate through text and your photo how you wish to be perceived. For example, is your Twitter picture from the last SEC game you were at or is it a professional head shot? Again... how do you wish to be perceived? I also recommend you silo Twitter as a business tool and refrain from personal Tweeting. If you want to tweet for personal use, create another account for that.
2. Once you sign up, follow your favorite industry trades.
If you're in beverage distribution, maybe it's @Beverage_World, if you're in finance, maybe it's @The Street or if in advertising sales maybe it's @Adage. The more you follow, the more tweets and links to great content you'll have in your timeline.
3. Follow your best clients and prospects you want to know more about.
Following your clients and prospects gives you a peek inside what's going in their world right now. This will help you create really powerful valid business reasons for asking for the appointment— or help you come up with specific needs analysis questions for your next appointment. Also, there is such a thing as Twitter etiquette and it's customary to follow those who follow you, as long as the content is trusted and relevant. My next recommendation will also help in this area.
4. Retweet once a day.
Retweeting is the act for forwarding a Tweet you find interesting and relevant to those who follow you. If you're following your favorite industry trades, this is easy to do with a simple click of the retweet button. Also, have you noticed the little Twitter logo on your favorite blogger's website? You can easily Tweet those articles by simply clicking on the logo.
5. Don't be afraid to be followed.
You may not have a lot of followers to start with but other Twitter users will soon be exposed to you in their Twitter recommended followers list. Don't be alarmed if you are being followed by questionable people. It happens to everyone, but through exploring your Twitter settings and account options, you can decide to block those followers whenever you want.
I like to encourage the sellers and managers I work with to use Twitter once a day during the week. If you've done the above, it takes no more than 10 minutes to spot a great article, read it and retweet it. Think of it as the time you may take to brew a pot of coffee in the staff kitchen or chit chat by the water cooler—only this 10 minutes a day can be worth greater dividends in your paycheck!
For ideas on how to use another social media tool—LinkedIn—for lead generation, download our LinkedIn guide.
Kim Willoughby is a Senior Consultant at The Center for Sales Strategy.