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Smart Ways to Gain Twitter Followers and Turn Them into Leads

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Twitter is one online social media site that most businesses feel they must be a part of. With more than 310 million monthly active users, it only makes sense to have a presence on this social media giant. However, there is a big difference between having followers on Twitter and having the right followers.

For an HVAC business, you’ll obviously want followers who can potentially turn into leads. These are people who either live within your service area or might soon live there. You have to first gain the followers and then figure out how to turn them into leads.

Gaining Twitter Followers
There really are no viable shortcuts to gaining Twitter followers. Anyone who has been on Twitter for a bit has likely gotten a direct message promising 1000s of new followers for a small price. These types of tactics will gain you followers, but they will be almost as useless as if you had no followers at all. In fact, they aren’t really interested in what you have to offer and may not even be real people.

Create a Persona
Your first step should be to create a user persona for your ideal customer. Actually, you may want to create several personas. This is simply a fictional representation of the type of customer you are targeting. So, as an example, you might name your persona “Mary” and state that Mary is a 30-something mother of two living in a specific neighborhood or city that is within your service area. Mary is a homeowner and makes $35,000/year or more.

Jen Conner, who does interior design work and paints murals in Indianapolis, Indiana, shared some thoughts about creating a Twitter user persona for a service business.

“Think about your favorite customer. Now, make a person exactly like that to serve as your persona and then center all your efforts on that ‘person’.”

Start with Current Customers
The fastest way to gain new followers within your target audience is by asking your current customers to follow you. Once you have a good number of followers, tweet out and ask those followers to share your Twitter page with other people they think might be interested in your services.

Nielsen reports that 92% of people are more likely to listen to a recommendation made by a friend or family member. With that in mind, having your current, happy customers shout out a recommendation for your company is likely to not only gain new followers, but people who will likely seek your services.

Interact with Influencers in Your Area
Finally, reach out to other influencers (but not competitors) in your area. If you know a plumber who has a strong Twitter following, reach out to that person by following and retweeting some of their tweets. They are very likely to return the favor, which will then put you in front of their customers. Remember that the Twittersphere is about reciprocation. You share their stuff and they might share yours.

Turning Your Followers Into Leads
If you follow the steps above, you’ll start to gain more and more Twitter followers over time. On Twitter, it does take time to build this following, so be patient, keep working the program as outlined, and know that you will gain followers along the way and they will be highly valued leads. Once you have those followers, no matter how many or how few, it is time to reach out to them and give them offers they can’t refuse.

Communicate Often, But Not Too Often
Now that you have those followers, it is important to stay in touch with them but not post so often they think you have nothing else to do. It’s smart to share items such as a helpful tip about when to change a furnace filter, sharing a fun image of a local landmark, or posting a link to a new article on your blog.

Know Your Audience and Reach Out Personally
Nancy A. Shenker, Founder and CEO of the ONswitch, shared “The challenge many marketers face today is that once they identify their ‘personas’ they entrust marketing to them to people who have never had direct contact with that audience.”

Nancy feels this is a big no-no because there is a big difference in knowing how to speak to your target group and offering unique content that is fresh and new and speaks to them in local language that makes sense to the audience and the area. “The content needs to evolve as the prospect travels through the buying cycle and the prospect has identified him or herself as someone who cares about what you have to say. You have to be in the head of your reader to be a great content developer and marketer.”

Savvy Sales Models
Understand that there are two different main target markets in a service business: a) those who are in an emergency situation and must replace their HVAC system or need an immediate service call; b) those who are considering an upgrade but not yet certain they need one.

For group A, you want to put across that you are there for emergencies and that you won’t rip them off. You can do this in a number of ways on Twitter. Share testimonials from others who have been in a similar situation, share your business philosophy, and reiterate the hours you’re available for emergencies.

For group B, you want to offer them a deal that is too good to refuse. So, include maintenance packages or offer a small discount. The things that drive one person to go ahead and replace heating and cooling units may be different than the things that drive another person. It is a good idea to rotate different types of offers to reach different motivations for replacing equipment.

Twitter is an excellent place to reach out and find new local leads. Start with your current customers and grow from there. Before you know it, you’ll start to see a payoff from your online social media marketing efforts.

Lori Soard

Posted In: Sales & Marketing, Technology

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