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Shane Gibson Keynote Speaker | Social Selling | Sales Trainer | Social Media Strategy

Twitter and Social Networking for Sales People

Internet Marketing and SEO, Marketing and PR, Sales Blog

Twitter and Social Networking for Sales People

…a.k.a. How I got a Martha Stewart Ironing Board Using Twitter

It’s officially 30 days since my “twitter” experiment began.  I believe in Social Networking, Social Media and tools like blogging immensely.  Last month I had Stephen Jagger on my podcast show and interviewed him about blogging and twitter (twitter is often referred to as a “microblogging tool as you can only post 140 characters at a time).  I’m on facebook, linkedin, have a friendfeed, video blog, and even an old fashioned well optimized web 1.0 sales website that still sends me a lot of business. So the question was “How valuable could this “twitter” tool be for sales people and marketers?”

Firstly I have spent most of the month observing other marketers, sales people, and entrepreneurs on twitter to see how they are using the tool to enhance sales, marketing, and branding.  The real power of this is the brevity of the message.  You have to get really good at writing headlines if you want to attract attention, and generate dialogue.

There’s a catch though, as with all other social networking tools pitch artists, spammers, and people who like to talk about themselves are shunned, and within the 25-45 year old early adopter professional demographic they don’t want to hear about mundane things either.  The conversation needs to add value, entertain, inform and be about more than just you, people tend to “follow” you.

Another attribute of great “tweeters” that I have also observed is that they spend less time trying to be interesting and more time being interested.  Jeramiah Owyang is a good example of someone who is highly interested by having consistent dialogue and positive input in other people’s twitter conversations that he follows, along with being highly interesting in regards to his posts about the entire social networking, marketing and branding space (not to mention the odd comment about the US election).

Although the number of people who “follow” me only numbers 70 at this point I have seen the impact of the “retwteeting” (someone posting your microblog to their network).  I launched my sales video podcast on August 22nd and had 80 visitors in the first hour from twitter.  Not a monumental number in the grand scheme of things but how long does it take a new website to attract 80 new visitors in it’s first hour live from Google? (Doesn’t happen).

How I got a Martha Stewart Ironing Board Using Twitter

A quirky and fun experience with twitter (not really connected to sales, but positive socially anyway) was noticing that Tod Maffin (podcasting maverick, CBC radio personality, and self professed Uber Geek) made it known to the twitter community that he was giving away “Sound foam” that a person could use to dampen noise and improve the quality of their podcast.  I sent him a quick tweet which was followed by an e-mail and the next day I got to meet Mr. Tod Maffin in person, and he even gave me a Martha Stewart ironing board (BONUS! almost new).

What was even more fun is carrying a big piece of black foam and an oversize ironing board through downtown Vancouver to my office (wearing a blue suit and my Prada sunglasses).  A client saw me and looked very confused.

Below: A pic of me in Tod’s place with my new found bounty (Thanks Tod!)

All quirkiness aside twitter has the capacity to spread news with it’s 140 character sized posts like a wild fire spreads through a parched forest.  Some of the results so far in using twitter for me have included but have not been limited to:

  • Connecting with a Speaker’s Bureau in Asia
  • Getting an RFP for Speaking at Conference Series
  • Being able to better monitor the activities and happenings within the hight tech community in Vancouver and beyond
  • Keeping tabs on new and evolving popular conversations (real time marketing intelligence)
  • Finding out what people are saying about my existing and potential clients online (opportunity identification)
  • Increased readership and listener / view base for my audio, video, and written blogs
  • Getting minute by minute updates from Barack Obama (I’m positive he was doing it personally)
  • Hearing about current events before it’s posted on mainstream media sites

One question / statement someone e-mailed to me after I invited them to connect on twitter was “How the hell do you have time for this?” I thought it was an entertaining question.  I post about 5-10 mircoblogs or tweets per day.  It takes less than a minute to write 140 characters.  To me that’s a high impact low input marketing tool.

This is not my final post or commentary on this tool. Hopefully it can open up some dialogue and I hope that as you read this you will post your comments and experiences with twitter and other social networking sites.

Here’s a short-list of some of the people I follow on twitter that are really harnessing the tool:

Jerimiah Owyang
twitter address: http://twitter.com/jowyang
blog: http://web-strategist.com/blog

Stephen Jagger
twitter address: http://www.twitter.com/sjagger
blog: http://blog.ubertor.com

Viddler
twitter address: http://twitter.com/viddler
Video Site: http://www.viddler.com

Rebecca Bollwitt
twitter address: http://twitter.com/Miss604
blog: http://www.miss604.com

Raul
twitter address: http://twitter.com/hummingbird604
blog: http://www.hummingbird604.com

Ian Watt
twitter address: http://twitter.com/ianwatt
entertaining real estate video blog: http://www.ianwatt.ca/RealEstateVideos

John Chow
twitter address: http://twitter.com/JohnChowDotCom
blog: http://www.johnchow.com

Tod Maffin
twitter address: http://twitter.com/todmaffin
blog: http://todmaffin.com/category/blog

(Follow Shane Gibson on Twitter)

  • Hi Shane,

    Thanks for the shout out and the link love. Much appreciated!

    I think you’ve also harnessed Twitter in becoming involved in charity in ways that you may not have had a chance before. Of course, I understand that you may not want to publicize that you’ve been doing charitable work, but you’ve been doing that and supporting others’ charitable causes and that’s to be commended.

    What’s the link between charity and sales? Well, I think that your clients should know that you’re not only helping them with their sales, but that you’re also building goodwill and positive karma around. That’s my 2 cents 🙂

  • Hi Shane,

    Thanks for the shout out and the link love. Much appreciated!

    I think you’ve also harnessed Twitter in becoming involved in charity in ways that you may not have had a chance before. Of course, I understand that you may not want to publicize that you’ve been doing charitable work, but you’ve been doing that and supporting others’ charitable causes and that’s to be commended.

    What’s the link between charity and sales? Well, I think that your clients should know that you’re not only helping them with their sales, but that you’re also building goodwill and positive karma around. That’s my 2 cents 🙂

  • As you know Shane, I found twitter to be an awesome tool in my first few days of using it. I met Shane on a Monday night and began using twitter and following him the next day. The next day he tweeted about having tickets for a Board of Trade function for anyone interested, which I was and quickly replied. Shane provided a pair of tickets to a great event at which my partner met someone who she hopes will be her future employer. They were mutually excited to have met, while she was conversing with the this person, Steve Jagger, Shane and I were chatting. Steve asked Shane how we knew each other. Shane chuckled and said “Through your meetup and twitter”. Steve’s reponse…”And they social media doesn’t work.”

    One tweet led to multiple opportunities, including Corinne finding what may turn out to be her dream employer, and expanded relationships.

    I am converted and hope others will join the movement.

  • As you know Shane, I found twitter to be an awesome tool in my first few days of using it. I met Shane on a Monday night and began using twitter and following him the next day. The next day he tweeted about having tickets for a Board of Trade function for anyone interested, which I was and quickly replied. Shane provided a pair of tickets to a great event at which my partner met someone who she hopes will be her future employer. They were mutually excited to have met, while she was conversing with the this person, Steve Jagger, Shane and I were chatting. Steve asked Shane how we knew each other. Shane chuckled and said “Through your meetup and twitter”. Steve’s reponse…”And they social media doesn’t work.”

    One tweet led to multiple opportunities, including Corinne finding what may turn out to be her dream employer, and expanded relationships.

    I am converted and hope others will join the movement.

  • Shane Gibson

    @Raul thank’s for mentioning the charity contributions and support. This is such an important part of being part of any community (on-line or in-person). I believe that you get out what you put in.

    People join twitter or an off-line network like the Board of Trade or a Chamber and are disappointed that their “Me” focused networking and posting hasn’t gotten them any business. As Darcy Rezac says of networking: “Think how can I help you?” This pays big dividends over time.

  • Shane Gibson

    @Raul thank’s for mentioning the charity contributions and support. This is such an important part of being part of any community (on-line or in-person). I believe that you get out what you put in.

    People join twitter or an off-line network like the Board of Trade or a Chamber and are disappointed that their “Me” focused networking and posting hasn’t gotten them any business. As Darcy Rezac says of networking: “Think how can I help you?” This pays big dividends over time.

  • Shane Gibson

    @Kye Grace I forgot that we connected offline! We established our further connections through twitter and meetup (another social networking tool). Tools like twitter help us begin relationships that can bridge into hybrid offline / online relationships.

    I’m having a lot of fun with this. See you at the next meetup!

  • Shane Gibson

    @Kye Grace I forgot that we connected offline! We established our further connections through twitter and meetup (another social networking tool). Tools like twitter help us begin relationships that can bridge into hybrid offline / online relationships.

    I’m having a lot of fun with this. See you at the next meetup!

  • I’ve linked to my blog post : the delightful Sage Tyrtle reading from Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody. This answers the fundamental question : Where do you find the time?

    It’s a question of priorities, and I find my priorities more interesting than network tv.

    Hope you enjoy Tod’s foam. It should have good karma

  • I’ve linked to my blog post : the delightful Sage Tyrtle reading from Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody. This answers the fundamental question : Where do you find the time?

    It’s a question of priorities, and I find my priorities more interesting than network tv.

    Hope you enjoy Tod’s foam. It should have good karma

  • Great post! thanks for mentioning the links.

  • Great post! thanks for mentioning the links.

  • Thanks for mentioning me Shane. I think you’re also doing great things with so many different forms of social media – it’s awesome!

  • Thanks for mentioning me Shane. I think you’re also doing great things with so many different forms of social media – it’s awesome!

  • BEST line ever!
    May I quote you in the http://TWitterHandbook.com blog/book?

    “One question / statement someone e-mailed to me after I invited them to connect on twitter was “How the hell do you have time for this?” I thought it was an entertaining question. I post about 5-10 mircoblogs or tweets per day. It takes less than a minute to write 140 characters. To me that’s a high impact low input marketing tool.”

  • BEST line ever!
    May I quote you in the http://TWitterHandbook.com blog/book?

    “One question / statement someone e-mailed to me after I invited them to connect on twitter was “How the hell do you have time for this?” I thought it was an entertaining question. I post about 5-10 mircoblogs or tweets per day. It takes less than a minute to write 140 characters. To me that’s a high impact low input marketing tool.”

  • Shane Gibson

    @coachdeb a quote would be great thanks!

    Shane

  • Shane Gibson

    @coachdeb a quote would be great thanks!

    Shane

  • Shane — thanks for your comment on my review of Twitter on my blog (http://sellinggeek.com/selling-geek-podcast-4-twitter-what-is-it-good-for/), and for your post here. I agree with you that Twitter is a potentially valuable social networking tool. But as a sales resource, I find it to be nearly worthless. Can Twitter help salespeople to find new prospects? Maybe, if you have a lot of followers, they might be able to refer you – but that sounds like a bit of stretch – and frankly, there are other services far better suited to build referrals than Twitter (e.g., InsideView, Jigsaw, LinkedIn). Can Twitter help salespeople to research accounts? No – and there are many other much better resources designed for account research, too. Can Twitter help to qualify opportunities, provide proof of concept, justify our offering’s value, negotiate or close new business? No. Can Twitter help us to manage and improve account relationships? Well, maybe, if your customer follows your Twitter feed – but remember that most of the interaction on Twitter is public. Do you really want customer inquiries to you to be broadcast to anyone who cares to read them? That doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. Can Twitter reduce administration or help salespeople to be more efficient? No – in fact, it will consume precious selling time. In short, I think Twitter is useful as a branding tool – I use it to post notices about updates to my blog using an RSS-to-Twitter application called Twitterfeed – but as a sales tool, I just don’t see it.

  • Shane — thanks for your comment on my review of Twitter on my blog (http://sellinggeek.com/selling-geek-podcast-4-twitter-what-is-it-good-for/), and for your post here. I agree with you that Twitter is a potentially valuable social networking tool. But as a sales resource, I find it to be nearly worthless. Can Twitter help salespeople to find new prospects? Maybe, if you have a lot of followers, they might be able to refer you – but that sounds like a bit of stretch – and frankly, there are other services far better suited to build referrals than Twitter (e.g., InsideView, Jigsaw, LinkedIn). Can Twitter help salespeople to research accounts? No – and there are many other much better resources designed for account research, too. Can Twitter help to qualify opportunities, provide proof of concept, justify our offering’s value, negotiate or close new business? No. Can Twitter help us to manage and improve account relationships? Well, maybe, if your customer follows your Twitter feed – but remember that most of the interaction on Twitter is public. Do you really want customer inquiries to you to be broadcast to anyone who cares to read them? That doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. Can Twitter reduce administration or help salespeople to be more efficient? No – in fact, it will consume precious selling time. In short, I think Twitter is useful as a branding tool – I use it to post notices about updates to my blog using an RSS-to-Twitter application called Twitterfeed – but as a sales tool, I just don’t see it.

  • Twitter is a very good tool for networking. We’ve started using to promote our virtual assistant social network over at http://www.findvirtual.com/

    We’ve seen traffic increase since twittering 🙂

  • Twitter is a very good tool for networking. We’ve started using to promote our virtual assistant social network over at http://www.findvirtual.com/

    We’ve seen traffic increase since twittering 🙂

  • Thanks Shane. Great info.
    I’ll ask my team to give Twitter a try.
    Nick

  • Thanks Shane. Great info.
    I’ll ask my team to give Twitter a try.
    Nick

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