Twitter as a Lead Source? You Bet!

August of last year I posed the question: “Can Twitter really be a lead source?” That original post follows these revised comments. Give it a read afterwards and see how things change. Back then we were new to Twitter, experts at driving inbound traffic, but somewhat suspicious of all of the Twitter hype. To remain relevant, we dove in and gave it the old college try. I think, at the time of the post, we had around 1000 followers.

Today, we have over 13,000 followers, and Twitter has become a major source of our traffic. In fact, as you read this post, there is a very good chance you connected to it through a tweet by us or a re-tweet by a follower.

Just last week in a single day we saw our post “Stack Rank Your Inside Sales Team” receive 190 visitors. Many of those visitors explored other areas of our site, grabbed our white papers, and some signed up for a free trial of our lead management software. Nice! The interesting thing is that we had not tweeted the link to the post in some time. But others did, it spread, got posted to news dailies, and then got clicked on. That is the power of social media and why I feel solid when I say school is no longer out. Twitter is definitely a great lead source.

In addition to traffic, Twitter has allowed us to build great on-line relationships with key bloggers and players in the space we serve. Those relationships often grow from us re-tweeting their content, doing Friday Follows, and posting their blog to our readers. Like the name indicates, it truly is “social media.” Put the effort in to meaningfully connect with others, and they will connect with you. Here are a few tips that have made us successful:

Follow people who you respect that are in your space.

Re-tweet their content to your followers.

Work at it daily.

Tweet valuable content.

Avoid tweeting for the sake of tweeting.

Be a content creator- write useful material as often as you can.

Actively seek those people who may benefit from your material- don’t expect them to find you.

Remember that your Twitter activity represents your company- conduct yourself as you would at a business related party. Its ok to be informal, but don’t cross the line!

Find good companies to follow, review their content and tweets, and share with your public. After all, that is what Twitter is all about.

Most importantly, write a regular blog that can benefit your followers- it is the major key to getting re-tweets, getting listed, driving traffic and converting the traffic upon arrival.

As promised, here is the original post from the period when we were still skeptical about Twitter.

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Without question, Twitter is everywhere. One would be hard pressed to visit the website of a company and not find their Twitter icon prominently displayed. Today, businesses tweet, follow, track, list, recommend and work feverishly to build their followers. I must admit – Twitter is cool, fun, and a decent distraction from the daily grind. But, is it a legitimate lead source that can justify the time invested for the output received? Can it replace an existing source of inbound leads or is it just a complement to existing efforts?

I would be remiss if I did not state the obvious here; I am a beginner in Twitter land. I may be considered an expert at driving inbound and outbound traffic in my field, but Twitter is a new and different animal. However, it is new and different for all marketers. It simply has not been around long enough to draw any conclusions that can be universally applied to most business. With that being said, I have seen some pretty remarkable results.

A few weeks back, Ryan, who handles social media and does most of our tweeting, ran across a good blog article. He created a bit url, tweeted it to our followers and used tracking software to follow the results. We were amazed that the tweet drove over 600 visits to this particular blog article in just under three hours. I can’t speak to the quality of the traffic, but without question it shows the power of Twitter when content is considered relevant. It also shows the power of a well built Twitter network to get content re-tweeted. We have a small following of about 1,000. I think it is safe to assume 600 of our followers did not go to the blog article. But many of our followers re-tweeted and those followers re-tweeted and so forth. The end result was a big spike in traffic for this particular blogger.

We target our followers, and who we follow, to Inside Sales, selling and some social media. Although it is a small following, it is an active following. I must admit that I get a bit lost in Twitter land when I see people who have 5,000 followers, are following 5050 and have 2 tweets. For us, even with a small following, Twitter has become a lead source that is now on our radar. Twitter creates enough traffic that we can actually count the visits daily. I think without question it has lead to the popularity of our blog.

In summary, school is still out for most business on Twitter as a lead source. I think, like most outreach marketing efforts, trial and error will be the key. Our company is early in the process, but satisfied with the results. Here are four things we have learned:

Don’t confuse a big following with a good following. Target followers that will have an interest in your content, benefit from it and hopefully re-tweet it to likeminded followers.

Find good companies to follow, review their content and tweets, and share with your public. After all, that is what Twitter is all about.

Don’t tweet just to tweet. Ensure that the content you are putting out represents your company well or is related to a subject that your company has an interest in.

Be a content creator. Writing a weekly blog that can benefit your followers is a key to getting listed, getting re-tweets, driving traffic and converting the traffic upon arrival.

As for us, we will stay the course with our Twitter efforts. We like the results with a handful of followers and I assume, if we can remain targeted, we will like them that much more with 10,000 followers.

Good Selling, Ken

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