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By Matt Richardson

Is Twitter Your #1 Networking Tool?

Depositphotos_2642715_sAre you on Twitter? If you are, you're not alone - recent estimates put the number of active Twitter accounts at "about a billion" worldwide. The reality is that every business and businessperson worth their salt has some sort of presence on Twitter, and if you're not actively using it both to leverage yourself and your brand you're missing a trick. Well, miss that trick no more! Here are a few quick and easy ways you can make Twitter your #1 networking tool:

Meet, Greet and Tweet

We've all been to networking meetings in one form or another, and while making the initial connection and identifying a good business prospect is relatively straightforward, successfully following up on these prospects and turning them into good business is a different kettle of fish entirely. When I first went to networking meetings, I found it extremely tough to convert what looked like great prospects into actual business, and when prospects did convert it was generally only because they had taken the initiative and got in touch with me straight away. 

I'm sure this sounds familiar, and this is where Twitter comes into its own as a great networking tool. Business cards are now just as likely to have a Twitter handle on them as an email address and phone number, so I decided to put this to good use. As soon as the networking meet came to a close, I would set aside the great prospects, find them on Twitter, follow and send a quick courtesy tweet - something along the lines of "Great to meet you tonight" followed by something personal based on our interaction. This is an unobtrusive way of positioning yourself in front of a prospect - by following and tweeting them, you already have an established connection and when you do make that follow up call or send that follow up email, it can get rid of any lingering coldness or awkwardness. While this tactic won't automatically turn every decent prospect into guaranteed business, it won't do your chances any harm and you will soon see a positive trend. 

Connect With Influencers 

Every industry has its key influencers, and most of these influences will be active on Twitter with a vast and engaged following. Start by searching out these influencers, following them and then engage in a dialogue. If they post a great bit of content, for example, why not give it a retweet? If they ask an interesting question, why not give them an interesting answer? They probably won't respond to you directly (they might - in which case bonus!), but by being actively engaged with what they tweet, you will encourage like-minded people to follow you which, if you are regularly posting engaging tweets, can soon put you in the position of influencer. 

Ok, I don't profess to have anything near influencer status on Twitter, but that's because I haven't followed my own advice. However, when I did choose to spend a bit of time (and you don't need a lot) searching out, following and tweeting influencers, I immediately saw a spike in follows and my tweets went from having the odd sporadic retweet or favourite to being shared regularly. Not only did this boost my own personal profile, but as I was regularly posting content I had written for my employer, it automatically generated a buzz around them. Becoming a Twitter influencer doesn't happen overnight, but building up a solid, professional and successful online network is easier than you think. 

Don't Be An Autobot!

There is nothing more frustrating for me than seeing a company Twitter account that has a great following and posts regularly, yet never directly interacts with its followers. If you have great content and an unbeatable offer, by all means share the s**t out of it, but don't forget that customer engagement is more important than anything else. If somebody tweets you a question, answer it. If somebody retweets your article or offer, thank them. If somebody tweets you a complaint, address it rather than ignoring it and hoping it will go away. 

By directly interacting with your followers on Twitter, you not only give your company a friendly human face, but you increase the chances of them wanting to do business with you in the future. In recent years, big companies have realised this and now have dedicated teams of people manning their Twitter accounts, leading to PR triumphs like this from Virgin Trains. Smaller companies are unlikely to have the resources to make this possible, and often the responsibility for managing the company Twitter account gets passed around reluctantly until it is given up on altogether. If that situation sounds familiar, talk to your team and make one person responsible for handling Twitter. This is not only a great way to empower one of your employees, but customers and prospects alike will take notice when your Twitter account turns from tumbleweed to talking point.

You Don't Have To Take my Word For It…

Did you know that 42% of people use Twitter specifically to learn about products and services, and that a massive 86% of people feel more connected with a person or company after following them on Twitter? Building both your personal and professional network on Twitter will not only improve your chances of converting prospects, but will make you look even more attractive to people who may just stumble across you by accident. Twitter is a networking tool like no other. While you will never be able to beat meeting somebody face-to-face, by establishing a great Twitter dialogue you can ensure the meeting is more than just a one-time thing. 

How To Get On The Map

Want to make more of your Twitter presence? Why not call WOW Consulting today on 0208 257 3592 or email info@wowconsulting.co.ukto arrange a free consultation. If you want to completely overhaul the way your business is marketing itself online, click the button below to sign up for a Free Pro Consultation and get your very own digital marketing blueprint.

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Matt Richardson
 

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