Making Twitter Part of Your Success - You Gotta Do It

Man staring at laptop computer with apparent confusion and frustration
Ever wonder how it seems like some of your contemporaries are really successful with social media platforms, and you can't seem to get any traction? Welcome to the club, my friend....and the clubhouse is full of people just like you. Social media is an area where many otherwise confident professionals stumble around aimlessly, often abandoning their effort out of frustration or confusion. I think this is especially true for the more veteran members of our profession. The fast pace at which technology has progressed has resulted in the technical sales profession having a population exhibiting a very wide range of marketing communication skill sets. There are still pros working today that set up their first contact management system (they didn't call it that back then) on paper 3 x 5 cards. They have had to assimilate and adapt through the advent of the personal computer, the cell phone, the hard disk drive, portable computers, digital watches, CRM, smart phones, the Internet, social media, and a whole pile of other gut wrenching agents of change. Younger sales pros assimilated much of the today's general technology before they entered the workforce, which will give them something of an advantage in pursuit of today's topic, Twitter.

For now, please just accept that...

Twitter needs to be a part of your professional social media effort, for yourself and your company. 

What is Twitter?

In Twitter's own words:
Twitter is an information network made up of 140-character messages called Tweets. It's an easy way to discover the latest news related to subjects you care about.

How does Twitter work?

Users share their own content (called a Tweet) for followers or other interested users to see in their feed or search results. Tweets can contain text, links, images, and other content. A Tweet has construction rules that limit its length to 140 characters, so brevity is important.

What can Twitter do to enhance my marketing effort?

Your activity on Twitter can get you known to individuals that can impact your business. It helps develop recognition of you as a knowledgeable, active, and trustworthy professional in your field.

What do I need to do to make this happen?

Sales professional
Do the important things that will lead to revenue

Create an account

This will be a personal account for your exclusive business use. Let your boss know what you are doing, since there may be some guidelines the company wants you to follow in your social media work. I suggest you create an account that is for business purposes only, you as your business persona. If you already have a personal Twitter account, keeping your non-business interests and posts segregated from those directly related to your business is recommended. Exposing your business contacts to your personal interests and thoughts can have unpredictable results. Avoid the risk.

Fill out your profile

The Twitter profile consists of very basic information.
Take the time and effort to produce and include a professional looking picture of yourself! 
Look professional, your profile picture should portray that image. You are not targeting your friends. Indicate where you work. Your birthday is not important. Create a tag, the @username, that identifies you to other users. It should be uncomplicated and business oriented. You can use a derivative of your real name, but your choice may not be available, already claimed by another. The @username is part of your own personal brand, so give some thought to it and be prepared to stick with it.

Find influential or useful people to follow

Twitter is about following and being followed. Use Twitter's search function to find people, organizations, and companies that are part of your business universe. Look for:
  • Coworkers
  • Customers you know
  • People that work at companies where you want to do business
  • Professional organizations pertaining to the markets in which you sell
  • Companies whose products you sell
  • Competitors (maybe)
  • Companies or organizations related to your profession (technical sales)
Don't overthink this, just do it. Follow a few new people each day and see what kind of content starts to show up in your feed. The party will be notified that you are following them, so follow people that will consider your interest in them to be a positive occurrence. A number of them will check out your profile, to see who you are. They may check out your profile on other social media sites, to see if you are someone they want to know, or know about. Some will reciprocate and follow you. All good things.

Gather followers

You get followed if you are interesting, useful, or entertaining. Be those things by posting relevant comments and other content that will draw the attention of those with whom you wish to connect. I suggest you avoid the use of sarcasm, ridicule, or content of questionable merit. Positive, supportive, thoughtful content and comments are in order here. Ever heard the saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"? It definitely applies here, and to all social media. Since this article is targeted at technical sales professionals, I going to recommend you keep non-business related posts on your business page to a minimum. Keep it focused.

Start at a comfortable pace on your Twitter activity. You will learn about the use of #hashtags, @usernames, and other techniques that will boost your effectiveness. There are more articles on the web about Twitter than you can read in a lifetime. When you have a question, Google it and browse a few of the articles. You will become expert level in a very short span of time. Twitter is not difficult, just different.
Twitter logo
This is the Twitter logo.
You will see it many places.

Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Tweet your own content, articles you found, your company's blog posts, etc.
  • Retweet relevant and interesting content that shows up in your feed, like your company blog.
  • Find and join a group that pertains to your industry.
  • Respond to people with whom you share similar interests by retweeting their content, marking their content as a favorite, or following them.
  • Check out people following the people you follow. They may be useful for you to engage by following them, eventually having them show interest in and following you.

What's next?

I know that's a lot of following and you will need to read some other articles to build your Twitter chops, but you will very quickly get the hang of it. The goal here is to engage, share, and be seen. Show that you are interested in your industry, your customers. Show that you are someone worth contacting and doing business with.

My intent with this article is to get you to see some potential value in investing time to set up and create a Twitter presence, then get you familiar with the basics of the startup. The key to getting results is consistency in your posting activity. You must engage regularly. The good news is that large blocks of contiguous time are not needed for Twitter activity. As skill and confidence build, you will be able to accomplish your goals for this social media platform by utilizing a spare minute here, five there, and so on. Get started. There is more we will do later, but get

Follow, comment, contact me with your questions. I can be contacted directly at CMS4i by putting @TomO in the message section. At CMS4i, we are here to help you make things work, so contact us anytime.