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I’ve often heard consultants say “I don’t use Twitter for marketing”. That’s like saying you don’t use networking events to meet people (Well, perhaps you enjoy the free food, but really?).
Like it or not, if you’re on Twitter, you use it for marketing. Twitter is a public platform, and potential clients will look at your Twitter account when they’re deciding whether to hire you. More importantly, Twitter is about building relationships and networking, which is a form of marketing.
In this article, I show you how to pro-actively use Twitter as a marketing tool, both to search out consulting projects and to reach out to contacts who could become clients.
Before you start using Twitter to reach out to clients, you should check you’re doing the basics right. At minimum, you must:
Twitter’s search bar is a powerful tool for finding consulting projects, fast. If you’re currently on the lookout for new clients, it’s a quick and simple way to find people looking for your services.
You can use Twitter’s advanced search tool to filter the best opportunities for you.
The disadvantage of Twitter’s search tool is that anyone can use it. Competition is fierce, so to stand a chance of winning a consulting gig you must react fast and pitch at a competitive price.
The easiest way to find projects fast is to search for your job title, such as management consultant, marketing specialist or supply chain professional. You’ll find a slew of opportunities to wade through. Some of these will be full or part-time in-house jobs, rather than consulting positions. Even then, it’s worth getting in touch to share your credentials. Ask if they’ve considered working with a consultant, and highlight the benefits of doing so.
You can use Twitter’s advanced search tool to filter the best opportunities for you. For example, you can tell Twitter to ignore tweets containing the words “free” or “pro bono” in search results, to exclude opportunities where the client has no budget. If you prefer working locally, you can include a location in your search to find potential clients nearby.
Although this technique is powerful, it only helps you discover the most obvious opportunities, so you’ll face tough competition.
To find hidden opportunities, you must think creatively about how you use the search tool.
When you uncover an opportunity, keep your approach simple. A short tweet saying what you do, asking “Can I help?” and including a link to your portfolio is enough.
One way of doing this is searching out requests for help. For example “need help with my business plan” or “having trouble budgetting for company expenses”. When you uncover an opportunity, keep your approach simple. A short tweet saying what you do, asking “Can I help?” and including a link to your portfolio is enough. You could comment on their blog, if that seems appropriate. If the prospect has a website with a contact form or email address, you can reach out that way to establish more formal contact.
It’s that simple. Keep at it, pitch well when you’re given the opportunity, and you will find work.
If you don’t need work right now, then Twitter is ideal for building connections with prospects. The more prospects you connect with now, the more work you’ll have available when you need it in the future.
Building connections on Twitter is smart for a number of reasons.
Bestselling author and leadership consultant Michael Hyatt calls this building strategic connections. Using the Twitter search tool, or a directory such as Twellow you search out exactly the kind of people who need your services. In Hyatt’s own words:
Practice strategic following… By this I mean, follow people in your industry, people who use certain keywords in their bio, or even people who follow the people you follow. Some of these will follow you back. If they retweet you, it will introduce you to their followers. For example, I could use Twitter’s Advanced Search Feature to find everyone within a 50-mile radius of Nashville who has used the word “leadership” in their bio or a post.
Once you’ve found potential clients, follow them, reach out to them and say hello, and engage in conversation with them. Make a point of being helpful and answering any questions they post. And be sure that the majority of updates you post to your Twitter feed are relevant and helpful to your prospects. After you’ve gotten to know them on Twitter, start commenting on their blog, if they have one. Connect via email, and share a link you think they’ll like, or ask a question to start a conversation.
Not all of these connections will become clients. But you can be sure that when they need your services, you’ll be on their shortlist if not their first choice.
I’m curious to know: What projects or clients have you found on Twitter? What are your top tips for using Twitter to find clients?
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