4 Obvious Prospecting Tips for Your Twitter Profile

Yesterday I shared how sales professionals can optimize their LinkedIn profiles to become more “connectable” with prospects. Today I’ll share my tips for optimizing your Twitter profile so that it’s easy for people to get in touch with you. Remember: Buyers are impatient. The more barriers you put up, the more likely they are to move on to your competition.

Here are four changes you can make right now to your Twitter profile to capitalize on prospecting opportunities:

1) Add your phone number to your profile headline.

Some people might disagree with me on this one. The concern I’ve heard most often is that in doing so people leave themselves open to be stalked by salespeople with something to sell. Thinking as the salesperson that I am, I want you–my future customer–to call me if that’s your preference. Besides, you can use a service that lets you easily monitor incoming phone calls. I use Google Voice.

2) Arrange to have an email sent to you from Twitter whenever someone sends you a direct message (DM) on Twitter.

I don’t converse via DM often, so I find this particularly helpful in responding to people who choose to use DM to communicate. Heaven forbid that someone I’m connected to has an interest in purchasing my services and decides to use DM to reach me, but I don’t see the message for days or weeks.


3) Arrange to have an email sent to you from Twitter whenever you get a mention or an @reply in a Tweet.

It is likely that you’ll see the message more quickly via email and then you can quickly respond online or by reaching out to the individual directly.

4) Have an email notification sent to your inbox or your mobile device whenever you get a new Twitter follower.

Schedule time into your day to check out the profiles of people choosing to follow you. You never know when that might turn into a sales lead!

By the way, on November 15, I will present “Sales Meets Social: Identifying and Reaching High-Profile Prospects: at the Sales Strategies in a Social & Mobile World Conference. Perhaps I’ll see you there?

An Odd Way to Advertise Social Media Services

Photo Credit: R. Mark Moore

What do you think? 

Would you hand over money and trust the person who hung this sign to help you increase revenue using social media? Advertising on a highway road sign in the greater Atlanta area seems an odd way to get your social sales message out there.

In addition to the obvious disconnect between the type of service they are selling and the medium they are using to advertise said service, here are few other things that I noticed.

They advertise their social media services, but where’s the Twitter or Facebook handle? What about a website to learn more? I guess they figure you can’t surf the web while driving, but you can make a phone call, right?

Who is their client anyway? Anyone who can drive a car? As my readers know, I’m a strong advocate for narrowing your sales focus by targeting your ideal client, which is one of the benefits of using social media I might add. These folks are using the “spray and pray” method of advertising. Doubtful they’ll get much traction. Oh, and do you think they realize that they are breaking the law by posting a sign like this one? It would seem not.

What about you? What do you see? What do you think about this approach? Should we give the number a call and find out if their ad campaign is working?

An Author’s Plan for Social Media

If you’ve written a book (like I have with co-author, Joan Curtis), congratulations, because you’ve crossed a major hurdle. Now that I’ve gone through the process myself, I truly understand why writing a book can seem like such a daunting proposition. But, you’ve done it. Now what?

Writing the book is one thing, but how you will market and sell your masterpiece is another. The following is a guest post from top blogger and best selling author, Chris Brogan

Read on to learn how Chris suggests you prepare for your book launch utilizing the power of social media.

  1. Set up a URL for the book, and/or maybe one for your name. Need help finding a URL? I use Ajaxwhois.com for simple effort in searching.
  2. Set up a blog. If you want it free and super fast, WordPress or Tumblr. I’d recommend getting hosting like Bloghost.me.
  3. On the blog, write about interesting things that pertain to the book, but don’t just promote the book over and over again. In fact, blow people away by promoting their blogs and their books, if they’re related a bit.
  4. Start an email newsletter. It’s amazing how much MORE responsive email lists are than any other online medium.
  5. Have a blog post that’s a list of all the places one might buy your book. I did this for both Trust Agents and Social Media 101.
  6. Make any really important links trackable with a URL shortener. I know exactly how many people click my links.
  7. Start listening for your name, your book’s name. ( Covered in this post about building blocks.)
  8. Consider recording a video trailer for your book. Here’s one from Scott Sigler (YouTube), for his horror thriller, Contagious. And here’s one from Dallas Clayton for his Awesome Book. (Thanks Naomi for pointing this out).
  9. Build a Facebook fan page for the book or for bonus points, build one around the topic the book covers, and only lightly promote the book via the page.
  10. Join Twitter under your name, not your book’s name, and use Twitter Search to find people who talk about the subjects your book covers.
  11. When people talk about your book, good or bad, thank them with a reply. Connect to people frequently. It’s amazing how many authors I rave about on Twitter and how few actually respond. Mind you, the BIGGEST authors always respond (paradox?)
  12. Use Google Blogsearch and Alltop to find the people who’d likely write about the subject matter your book covers. Get commenting on their blog posts but NOT mentioning your book. Get to know them. Leave USEFUL comments, with no blatant URL back to your book.
  13. Work with your publisher for a blogger outreach project. See if you can do a giveaway project with a few bloggers (here’s a book giveaway project I did for Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years book).
  14. Offer to write guest posts on blogs that make sense as places where potential buyers might be. Do everything you can to make the post match the content of the person’s site and not your goals. But do link to your book.
  15. Ask around for radio or TV contacts via the social web and LinkedIn. You never know.
  16. Come up with interesting reasons to get people to buy bulk orders. If you’re a speaker, waive your fee (or part of it) in exchange for sales of hundreds of books. (And spread those purchases around to more than one bookselling company.) In those giveaways, do something to promote links back to your site and/or your post. Giveaways are one time: Google Juice is much longer lasting.
  17. Whenever someone writes a review on their blog, thank them with a comment, and maybe 1 tweet, but don’t drown them in tweets pointing people to the review. It just never comes off as useful.
  18. Ask gently for Amazon and other distribution site reviews. They certainly do help the buying process. And don’t ask often.
  19. Do everything you can to be gracious and thankful to your readers. Your audience is so much more important than you in this equation, as there are more of them than there are of you.
  20. Start showing up at face to face events, where it makes sense, including tweetups. If there’s not a local tweetup, start one.
  21. And with all things, treat people like you’d want them to treat your parents (provided you had a great relationship with at least one of them).

This sounds like a lot of steps. It is. But this is how people are finding success. Should this be the publicist’s job? Not even a little bit. The publicist has his or her own methodology. The author will always be the best advocate for his or her own work. Never put your marketing success in the hands of someone else. Always bring your best efforts into the mix and you’ll find your best reward on your time and effort.

You might have found other ways to be successful with various online and social media tools. By all means, please share with us here. What’s your experience been with promoting your work using the social web?

Chris Brogan is the New York Times bestselling author of the NEW book, Social Media 101. He is president of New Marketing Labs, LLC, and blogs at [chrisbrogan.com].

Don’t DM Me Like You Know Me

Twitter as a twool (as cool tech dude, Guy Kawasaki called it) has so much potential. So much more than the average - I’m just getting started with social media types or social media naysayers - realize. More than just a never ending stream of “hey, I’m headed to Starbucks for my daily dose of caffeine” type messages, Twitter gives its community of users the ability to network, share information, recommend others and search out content that is relevant to them.

I had the opportunity to demonstrate Twitter’s power in an “off the cuff” sort of way during a business meeting yesterday…at Brio in Buckhead. Yes, I know it’s crazy, but I do eat lunch. So we were talking about Twitter and I simply asked…what executive level are you trying to reach in corporations to talk with about your services? Sales VP was the answer. Without any real thought or tweaking, I whipped open Twitteriffic on my iPhone and simply typed Sales VP Atlanta. And wouldn’t you know that a major corporation in Atlanta had just placed a hiring notice for that exact position within their company. You’re saying to yourself, Barb is that really so interesting? You bet. It just so happened that this particular company is EXACTLY who my lunch guest had been trying to penetrate to not only discuss services, but because she works for a major placement firm, she knew that several of her clients fit the bill for the position. She was stunned! It didn’t occur to her to use Twitter as an alternative mechanism to traditional job boards.

The story I just shared is why I love Twitter. It is more than dribble about where people are eating breakfast. There is power and potential beyond what many people realize.

Now for the story of why I don’t like Twitter! Or maybe I should say that it is the users without a clue who leave a bad taste in my mouth.dmtwittermsgs

I wasn’t with Twitter from the beginning, but I’m told by those in the know that it used to be totally about building relationships. There was a genuineness about wanting to get to know the people who wanted to follow you.

By the time I came on the scene, there was definitely a divide between the camp of people (like me) who think you use the tool to build visibility, credibility and relationships without spamming the network and those people who think there is nothing wrong with spitting out one tweet after another that is merely a sleazy sales pitch.

And now we have the abusive use of the direct message feature aka DM. It is used to SPAM people who have decided to follow what you have to say. It works like this…I decide to follow Johnny, because he seems sort of cool and his tweets are interesting. Minutes after I click the “follow” button, I receive in my Twitter inbox a direct message that is “automated” and says something like…”hey, thanks for the follow…check out or buy or sign up for my whatever…” It is all about what they have to sell without any thought as to whether I’m their buyer or not. Slinging hash on the wall basically.

Look at the picture I’ve included with my post…these are some of the messages sitting in my inbox right now. First it is…”now follow me on Facebook”. Then it’s “cool affiliate program”. Next comes “wanna make some moola?” And my personal favorite, “I just added you to my Mafia family, you should join.” Sure, I’ll get right on that.

Do you really think any of these people care about getting to know Barb? No way. I cannot stand this practice so much that the 35 people who’ve done it to me recently are now being booted from my network.

Sales people (and anyone who sells a product or service) take note. This is NOT what buyers want. In fact, they are tired of being inundated with this sort of garbage. It is what gives social media sites like Twitter a bad name. Some of us truly do want to create value and develop relationships that ultimately lead to sales. In my opinion, these DM tactics are used by people either ignorant about the impression they are creating about themselves, or they are so desperate to make a sale that they don’t care.

I’m curious, what do you think?

You Digg It, I’m Delicious, We All StumbleUpon

Social bookmarking is a popular part of the social media movement. For the tech dweebs that is:) I say that lovingly of course, because I’m part dweeb myself. Though social bookmarking hasn’t quite caught on with the mainstream user, I’m confident that it will be soon. Most of the folks I meet are still grappling with what Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and LinkedIn are all about…but, hey, one thing at a time.

Even though I love technology, it took me a while to connect how I could use social bookmarking in a meaningful way. Once I got it though…it was like the parting of the Red Sea. The possibilities of how you can use social bookmarking as a customer retention tool are endless.

Whenever I speak on the topic of social media and social networking, I notice that people seem to be the most confused about how social bookmarking fits in. Even more confused than they are about Twitter, so that’s saying something. In Made to Stick, the Heath brothers talk about how to help people understand a concept that confuses them by tying it back to something that they can relate too. An analogy. In pretty simple terms, I tell people that social bookmarking is like having one gigantic, personal file cabinet on the Internet. You “tag” the web address of articles, video’s, blogs or websites that you like for easy reference later. Instead of file folders, you use an informal tagging system that lets you create categories that you’ll remember later on and can access quickly. AND…what I think is the coolest part of social bookmarking is that you can “share” your tags with others.

From a sales perspective, you could create categories that represent a particular clients’ interest. If for example, I’m your customer and you know that I love social media technologies (as everyone who knows me, knows that I do!), you would watch for interesting information that you would tag for Barb and share with me. I don’t have to rip an article out of Fortune Magazine and then send it to you manually with a personal note, although I still do a lot of that. Instead, I can tag articles that I think my clients and prospective buyers will find interesting and share them with everyone at once, or I can choose just to share with people in my private network. Either way…it’s a great connection point. Now, if you get your contacts to sign up and engaged in your bookmarking community, they can tag information that they then share with everyone in the community too. Very cool stuff indeed!

So, Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon are 3 of the biggies…each having a slightly unique twist to their approach, which I’ll cover in more detail in subsequent posts.

Stick around…you really do want to know about how to integrate the use of social bookmarking into your customer relationship management approach, because THIS IS a key way to not only provide value but to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Can you dig it?

Don’t Dismiss It Just Because You Don’t Get It

Funny the commentary I’ve seen recently in various places ridiculing Twitter, because there is no obvious revenue model, or people think it’s silly that anyone would care what “we’re doing right now”. Whatever.

Twitter isn’t necessarily a “flash in the pan” that will fade into obscurity. Will it be here next year used in the same way it is used today? I don’t know, but I also know that’s true of any technology. Technology will continue to evolve and change. What existed 5 years ago is not what we use today. I think people like to use the rationale that Twitter doesn’t make money; hence the “they won’t be around much longer” comments, because the truth is that they do not understand the true potential of Twitter yet.

As with any business tool - that includes social media - you must have a clearly defined purpose and plan for achieving your objectives. Though I first scratched my head and said “why would I care where someone is grabbing their next cup of coffee”, I now realize just how powerful the appropriate use of Twitter can be.

I use Twitter for 3 reasons:

1) Build my business knowledge.

I follow some very top notch people who I learn from, because they are willing to share relevant, interesting and valuable business information. Using TweetDeck, I can organize the information into groups, which lets me easily track the information that is most important to me. It’s less overwhelming, and I can find things more quickly.

2) Watch for trends in my particular field.

Let’s say that I want to check out a new product idea that I’m thinking about creating. I’ve learned through the years that just because I think it’s a great idea doesn’t necessarily mean that others will think so too. How do I know if people think it’s a great idea? They buy. Using search.twitter.com I can easily search out conversations and information based on keywords applicable to the product or service I’m thinking about creating. The results give me a snapshot of what topics are trending and who’s saying and doing what. That includes the competition.

3) Demonstrate my business capabilities.

To build my brand and credibility with potential buyers, I freely share information that I believe will be valuable to others. Not selling though. It is about using Twitter as a way to extend my business brand, create relationships with others and build a reputation for helping people solve their business problems.

The inevitable question is - am I securing clients and making money?

There is no doubt that we need to be thinking about the time ROI using social tools like Twitter. Tweeting aimlessly with no plan gets you nowhere. At the same time, it is still difficult to accurately asses exactly where the sales revenue comes from as a result of my social media usage. I’m reminded of Albert Einstein, who said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”

For me, using tools like Twitter are as much a part of my sales and marketing plan, as attending local networking events. Do you really know exactly what networking activity will lead to that next sale? Of course not. You never know if the people you meet in person will actually buy from you, or if they will pass along your name to others. That’s not to say I don’t measure my efforts as much as I can. I absolutely do!

People buy from people that they know, like and trust. Using social media is a way to build relationships with people, engage in conversations with them that over time lead to sales. I know that invitations to speak at events, calls from journalists for interviews about social media, having others recommend me to their clients, all comes from my ability to use social media to support my business goals. How do I know? I constantly ask people how they found me, and I capture the answers to those questions.

Continued success with your sales efforts is always about having a repeatable process that when used consistently, gets you consistent results. I blend the use of technology with tried and true sales success strategies to achieve my sales goals.Twitter definitely has value, so I say that you don’t dismiss it just because you might not understand it yet:)

The Why of Social Media

The explosion of social media into mainstream consciousness has seemingly come from nowhere. Though it may be new to you, the social media groundswell has been building for some time, and it’s fair to say that the buzz right now is deafening.

While there is a growing familiarity with tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and YouTube, here are 5 questions being asked in companies large and small about the business reasons for using social media:

1. Why should we care?
2. Where do we start?
3. What technology should we be using?
4. How do we manage the information?
5. How will we measure effectiveness?

As with any new business undertaking, questions like these (and more) definitely need to be answered. Here are the reasons that I believe it is important to pay attention.

Why You Should Care

These days your prospects are surfing the net, reading blogs, participating in forums and group discussions, asking for product and services referrals from their social networks and joining on-line communities.

Even if you wanted to “opt out”, choosing instead to use outdated approaches to sales and marketing, your potential customers - and your savvy competitors - are most definitely going to be online.

Your prospects are tuned in to what they want, what’s available, where to purchase and how much to spend. The bigger the sale, the more educated they will be.

With 66% of the 38 million LinkedIn users deemed “key decision maker”,175+ million people on Facebook (31% over the age of 35), and millions more conversing over Twitter, you can’t ignore the opportunity. The name of the game then is visibility. If you aren’t participating online, you are missing huge opportunities to reach an audience you would otherwise not be able to connect with in an easy and cost effective way.

How to Get Started

If you are just getting your feet wet with regard to social media, you are most likely approaching it backwards, as most do. Companies are typically approaching the social computing world by looking first at the nifty, whiz bang technologies available. Could be a tweet here, a blog there, a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook fan page or a few YouTube video’s thrown up on the website- to achieve their sales and marketing goal. That is a mistake! People, purpose and plan first - technology last -should be the mantra of every business interested in succeeding with social media.


As with any hot trend, people are clamoring to get on board the social media gravy train. Yet as many have already discovered, having an online profile doesn’t mean you are using social media effectively to market your business or increase your sales. People are floundering in the online space for many of the same reasons they probably flounder around with their current sales and networking approach. They don’t have a plan!

Your plan starts with “narrowing” and “clearly defining” your target audience. Here’s a hint…your audience is NOT everyone with a pulse. Though it seems counterintuitive to some, the more you narrow your market, the faster you gain traction, which then leads to more sales of your products and services.

The key with choosing the right technology is making sure you know EXACTLY what results you want to achieve. You certainly need to understand what tools are available, but that’s the last thing you really need to focus your attention on. Once you know who your audience is, where they live online and what you want to happen once you get in front of them, you are then well positioned to use an online tool best suited for your purpose.

Managing the Flow

I’m known for saying that it is up to “you” to manage technology, not the other way around. Dashboard tools like Digsby help you watch your email, Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile and more without having to web surf the individual sites. TweetDeck gives you the ability to keep on top of all that is happening in your Twitter world. And tools like Ping and HelloText let you create a post once that updates multiple sites of your choosing all at the same time. The point is that you shouldn’t let the “fear” of too much information stop you from getting on board. There are lots of great tools to help with the information management flow.

Measuring the ROI

Like anything else in business, you need to be sure that you are measuring effectiveness and results to ensure that you get the greatest return on your effort. In the March 23rd edition of Information Week, TransUnion reported as estimated $2.5 million in savings in less than five months. Did I mention that you first need a plan? In TransUnion’s case, their cost savings showed up in a reduction of software services purchases. Using an internal social networking platform, employees were able to brainstorm ways to more effectively utilize what they already had, thus reducing the need to buy more.

Companies of all sizes will benefit from having clearly defined objectives that you can then track your progress against. If one of your goals is to increase product sales on your website, you will want to track HOW people find you. Was it the blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, a Facebook ad, or that amazing sales article your sales manager just wrote? You can use tools like Google Analytics to help you track how many visitors visit your website, as well as give you clues as to what they focused on they got there.


Remember that social media and the world of social networking are here to stay. See it as a threat or an opportunity. It’s your choice!

Who Says You Can’t Make Money On Twitter?

I’m still a newbie tweeter really. Though in the minds of some, I’m light years ahead of the pack. Is a few months in Twitterland the same as dog years? Might be.

Truth is, I only joined the Twitter fray a few months ago, and I’m the first to admit that I wasn’t hooked right away. In the beginning, like many I suppose, I wondered what all the hub bub was about. Quite frankly, I sort of scratched my head and said huh? I don’t get it. Why do I want to know what people are doing today. I suspect I’m like a lot of people who are being exposed to Twitter for the first time.

Technology - while cool - is really an enabler in that it helps you achieve some specific result. I think that’s exactly why some people scratch their head and wonder how in the world can Twitter be used as a business tool. Technology is only beneficial if it can help you accomplish a business purpose and plan. Don’t have either of those? Don’t bother with the technology then, because well…you’ll just waste a lot of precious time.

I want to build my network, share information, make connections for colleagues who have expertise that I don’t, and who are people that I admire a lot. Ultimately, I believe that value added approach will lead to growth in my own business. Soooo… in the beginning, I just didn’t see the business value of tweetin’ away aimlessly with short little messages about what I was doing right now. After taking some time to observe those people who clearly got it - like Gary Vaynerchuk - the benefits and the implications of using Twitter technology began to dawn on me.

I definitely get it!

But if you are still one of those people who thinks that Twitter doesn’t mean business then you need to read the story of Gary Vaynerchuck aka @garyvee on Twitter who just signed a seven-figure, 10-book deal with Harper Studio.

It’s a great story of someone who built a huge following (more than 145,000 people, including me!) tweeting information of value to others. Publishers have finally begun to “get it” - to understand - that having an internet platform and an army of built-in followers is a critical element to the publishing success of any new book endeavor.

While you might think that Gary’s win is the result of pure luck, perfect timing or some “get rich quick” scheme…the truth is that he’s worked darn hard to get where he’s at. He deserves this achievement, and I say, good for you, Gary!

Evan Williams Talks Twitter

Mention Twitter and you’ll hear a number of different reactions. Out in the mainstream business world a lot of people have heard about Twitter. Most of them don’t know what it is or understand the business implications. Often, I hear people say “why do I care what someone had for breakfast”, because they believe that’s all that Twitter is about. And while that may be how things got started…telling friends and family what you were up to at that moment…it has evolved considerably.

Twitter has exploded in size (up 10x during 2008 alone). Co-founder Evan Williams talks about how Twitter came to be and some of the unexpected surprises that have led to where Twitter is today.

Even if you don’t get it now - you need to pay attention!