Twitter is the hottest new social media trend and it seems like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon. Small business and marketing experts are on Twitter in droves. In spite of this, there is a small number of people who are taking the time to ask, “does it work?”
Yes you can reach a large number of people and have conversations, but do these Twitter conversations convert to actual sales? That question is haunting many small business Twitter users and is the main thing holding others back from giving Twitter a try.
When I evaluate what I’m doing online, I try to use numbers rather than general impressions. The numbers speak volumes for my Twitter use. Within three weeks of my signing up for Twitter, traffic to my blog had jumped by 30 percent. It remained high and continued to grow. Since web traffic is an important metric for my business, I considered my Twitter experiment to be a resounding success. But does this translate into sales?
I know from my business that the more traffic I get on my site, the more products and services I will sell, eventually. However, I can’t directly say “person X bought product Y because of Twitter”.
Does that mean you can’t make money from Twitter?
Well, as it happens just yesterday I heard a story about someone who can directly connect a sale back to Twitter.
Meet Ryan Wiseman. Ryan publishes FindItGreyBruce, a website devoted to promoting businesses in the two counties surrounding Owen Sound (where I happen to live).
Ryan is very systematic in everything he does online. Because his focus is on local business, he makes it his business to know what anyone local is doing online. One of the ways he tracks this activity is on Twitter. Using TweetDeck, Ryan has created searches for multiple geographic terms: Bruce County, Grey County, Owen Sound plus a variety of other local towns.
He monitors these search terms regularly and as a result, whenever anyone local does anything on Twitter, odds are Ryan’s the first to know about it.
This happened recently when a small business owner in a neighbouring town started Tweeting. Ryan saw the Tweet and started following him. This person followed Ryan back and obviously checked out Ryan’s profile. Ryan’s profile includes a link to the FindItGreyBruce website. The result: a day and a half after Ryan discovered this local Tweeter, he had a new $200 listing on his site.
“Twitter isn’t helpful unless you can track keywords relative to your business,” says Ryan. “I have a system to track and follow keywords and then I watch for opportunities. When someone says ‘I really need someone who…’ I can move in.”
The key to using Twitter effectively to make real sales is to know what your customers are doing online, track those keywords they are most likely to use and follow anyone using those terms. Then it’s just a matter of waiting for the right opportunity. If you do this consistently and systematically, you may even get a result like Ryan’s and have a customer come to you.
Andrea J. Stenberg
Have you made a sale directly as a result of Twitter? Please leave a comment and tell us how you did it.