Why invest your precious time on Twitter when you have Facebook, Instagram and YouTube where you can reach way more people and eventually generate higher levels of attention?
You see the majority of small business owners don’t fully understand the power of Twitter. Furthermore, they haven’t come to terms with the fact that over the past few years, Twitter has evolved and with that the ‘tweets’ and conversations on this channel.
It’s no longer about what you have had for lunch or dinner. If you miss those kinds of stories though, you’ll have to switch to Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook.
This is the sixth part of the Small Business Owners series I started recently.
Today, I’d like to talk to you about the real power of Twitter for your business. It has nothing to do with mass marketing. It’s not about sending out a bunch of tweets or celebrating likes and levels of engagement.
Bridging the Gap Between Your Twitter Feed and the Offline World
I’ve been active on Twitter for several years now, since 2011 to be more precise. I tried all kinds of marketing strategies and tactics. I listened to Twitter experts and applied their teachings. I read several articles, blog posts and books about ‘doing it the right way’. I watched videos and listened to podcasts.
While everybody is tooting the importance of sending out vast amount of daily tweets, getting likes and followers, starting all kinds of conversations to increase engagement – very few people actually talk about what I’m going to share with you here.
Let me break the ice for you:
Twitter is a phenomenal tool because it enables you to turn online connections into real-world business relationships and friendships.
Unlike LinkedIn where a professional obligation is implied or Facebook where you might receive messages from people who can hardly put together two sentences, Twitter is a place where you can easily cross between professional and personal experiences without suddenly being unfollowed or considered weird.
On Twitter the professional and personal worlds mold together harmoniously allowing users to connect more meaningful by building strategic alliances and retweeting each others stories, doing live streams together or catching up over a cup of coffee when visiting nearby locations.
How do you do it?
3 Tips to Driving Offline Relationships from Twitter
Here’s how you can deploy this amazing tool to take those valuable online connections and transform them into real-world relationships.
1. Use Direct Messages to Start a Conversation
One of the most valuable assets yet so underutilized or very poorly used/ utilized is Twitter’s inbox. Every time somebody sends you a direct message, the opportunity to build a deeper connection arises.
Obviously, I’m excluding all those DMs that include an invite to sign up to a random email list or a link to follow the sender on some other channel. I’m referring to those direct messages where people show a genuine interest to getting to know you better.
Use DMs wisely. Answer to those who ask you personalized questions and ignore bulk messages that are sent out by automation tools.
Always wanted to start a one-on-one conversation with a user that keeps coming up in your feed and promotes your tweets regularly? Reach out to them via a DM on Twitter.
This is exactly how world renowned brand-building expert, Denise Lee Yohn reached out to me. She sent a direct message on Twitter and we connected instantly. Since then, she’s been a guest speaker on my podcast and the StrengthInBusiness Academy, an exclusive membership, Europe’s Leading Social Advertising Community for Committed Small Business Owners.
2. Build Strategic Partnerships
Who said you can’t use Twitter to connect with small business owners from other industries? Ever considered using this tool to reaching out to those who serve the same audience you do?
Unfortunately, the majority of users stay in their lane. They remain stuck in their own industry, obsessing over their perceived competitors’ tactics and becoming totally blind to great business solutions that are happening left and right.
Look what other industries that are serving your ideal clientele are tweeting about. What’s triggering interest? What is perceived as relevant and what not?
Be open to learning and implementing best practices from other industries, countries and business (company) types. Cooperate with A, B and C Twitter players from other markets to leverage their strengths, competencies, systems, insights and experiences built over years of hard work.
The collective power is available to all who choose to combine, not separate.
3. Organize Offline Events and Workshops Together
This third tip builds on the previous two. Obviously, you can jump from tip one to three or skip the previous steps altogether if you’re a master relationship builder.
I’m a huge proponent of offline events as there’s nothing more powerful than having a genuine conversation with somebody in person – aside from the business and sales advantages that come from encounters with a large audience of like-minded people.
There are plentiful of options as to how to best accomplish organizing events with small business owners from other industries or being invited as a guest speaker to one of the local workshops or seminars. It all comes down to using Twitter with a clear goal and purpose in mind, one that goes beyond followers, likes and engagement.
Because if you do what everyone else does on Twitter, you’ll end up getting the very same results everyone else does – which isn’t a lot.
Social Media Fosters Real-World Relationships
I focused my message today on Twitter, trying to convey to you the amazing power of this free social media channel.
But the reality is that LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and every other channel, whether online or offline, can be used to build long-lasting relationships if you come from a good place, you’re not shortsighted and you’re willing to be vulnerable and reveal your true self.
Yes, you need to understand the platform you’re choosing to interact and do business on. You must understand the guidelines, the unspoken rules and policies, the behaviors that govern that particular ecosystem. You need to be aware of all these aspects. Ignoring and disrespecting them will get you into trouble, another aspect of the cyberspace that gets very little consideration unfortunately.
While putting our attention onto articles that write about social media destroying real-world relationships, we forget how much good these networking instruments and platforms have done for us. How they have changed and shaped the way we communicate in today’s world, the benefits we have gained worldwide as business owners and overall users. It’s only a matter of a few clicks and you can hang out with people from other parts of the world without paying a single penny.
Just because we don’t know how to best deploy Twitter & Co. or harness their amazing powers, doesn’t mean that they are bad or worthless marketing and communication channels. It’s our job to continuously educate ourselves and stop complaining about the current state of the Internet.
How do you leverage Twitter to gain more business and build real-world relationships?