Twitter is a micro-blogging and communications tool that allows you to “follow” and be “followed” by others. It asks the simple question “What are you doing?” In 140 characters you can answer this simple question. Twitter is used for keeping up to date on your personal network, research, and even organizing impromptu events called #tweetup’s. Recently twitter passed it’s 1 billionth tweet or 140 character message. CNN, Barack Obama, Inc magazine, the Vancouver Board of Trade, and thought leaders like Guy Kawasaki all use twitter to connect, share, and profit.
I have been on Twitter for a year but actually didn’t start experimenting with it’s reach and impact until September 2008. Twitter is populated with every kind of thought leader imaginable, it’s also full of a lot of chatter, but most just learn to glaze over that and pick out the good stuff.
I follow on Twitter everyone from Richard Branson to a Buddhist monk and everyone in between. For the sake of my readers and in the interest of brevity I’m focusing today’s blog entry on my PERSONAL Top 10 Sales and Business Gurus to follow on Twitter and 10 Tips fro Sales Professionals on Using Twitter.
Lets start with who to follow (in no particular order):
Jerimiah Owyang – Forrester Research
Why? – He’s an incredible source of advice on great and not so great social networking behavior, tools, and strategies.
Why? – One of the few http://sales.alltop.com guys on twitter they really contribute and carry a good conversation about sales.
Why? – Great updates and information on B to C selling. Skip gets it!
Why? – Easy to use strategies on attracting clients using social media
Why? – He does a lot of good blogging and Twittering about how to use social media and networking to enhance client relationships and networks
Why? – She updates a lot on what is happening and what is being written about sales and personal development in general. She’s always uncovering gems on the web.
Why? – If you’re looking for sales jobs or a recruiter for medical sales Peggy seems to have a steady stream of opportunities she Tweets about. Also she’s a good source of information and events in the sales vertical.
Why? – Steve is a sales professional and successful entrepreneur that got me on twitter and he’s a wealth of knowledge in both sales and social media
Why? – Danny is great at what he does, using social media to drive grass roots PR for his clients. Watch and learn.
Why? – Ian doesn’t give a lot of advice regarding sales and marketing on Twitter but he’s a great example of a sales person that uses it effectively to drive business.
10 Tips for Sales Professionals on Twitter:
#1) Start by customizing and completing your profile. It is your digital business card. People are less likely to follow or communicate with people who use alias’ or who don’t answer the basic questions “What do you do?” and “What do you believe in?”
#2) Just like in offline networking, we need to have the same positive networking ethos and ask the question “How can I help?” when we make a new connection online
#3) Twitter is not a tool for mass marketing, spam, or generic corporate jargon and ad slogans. You must write like you’re talking to a bunch of friends. Add value by sharing great ideas, linking to valuable blog posts, and positively encouraging those that you are following or that are following you.
#4) Mix it up. Your comments should be both person and professional letting people see what you have to offer professionally but also giving them and opportunity to get to really know you personally. If it’s all business you will likely begin to lose followers or connections quickly.
#5) Bring it offline. Once you have made the online connection plan a #tweetup or invite them to a Meetup or VIP function. We get permission to begin the relationship online and the in person meeting helps us take it to the next level. ( You can do this via long distance using Webinars or Ustream as well )
#6) Always say thank-you and give credit where credit is due.
#7) Realize that anything you post can literally be shared in seconds with thousands of people. Think before you tweet!
#8) Think long term about building a network, and becoming a trusted source of information on your industry, resist tweets about today’s “blue light special” this appeals to very few people.
#9) Encourage people to connect with you via Linkedin and FaceBook, this enables you to expand the context of your relationship and learn more about who is a qualified business prospect.
#10) Social media and networking is about positive conversations, your Twitter Stream should be reflect that through replies to comments and getting involved in dialogue outside of your industry or what you sell.
Remember “Sales is about creating an environment where an act of faith can take place.” This tool isn’t transactional, it’s a trust and brand building tool to help you create that positive environment.
Follow Shane Gibson in Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/shanegibson