As a Realtor from the 90’s I remember cold calling, I hated it, but I did it because I knew it produced business. Today I push those I coach to “Cold Call” using Twitter, ok it’s not really cold calling but it is a form of prospecting. First thing you need to do as a business is identify your target audience. If you are a doctor, you might target other doctors, or even attorneys who refer accident victims to doctors. Consider who your customers are as well as who might refer you to customers, now you have your targets.
Step 1 A great first step in prospecting is Twellow. This site lets you search by area and “business” (provided the person filled in a profile) not everyone has done a profile there, but their searching functions seem to work great even for those not registered with them.
I usually recommend geographic area around where you would like people, and some descriptive of who you are looking for. i.e. Doctors in the Tampa area. Now read through the results following those who you think match the criteria you came up with for your target market. I would consider listing them under prospects (as a private list).
Another great way to prospect is take a look at who one of your contemporaries is following. With both of you sharing simular goals, you should find that they have some of your targets on the list of people they follow. Also consider who else might be looking to follow the same target market as you, in the case of a doctor, you might look to see who the local hospital or medical associations are following, and follow those same people.
My recommendation is to try and add 5 a day, 25 a week, this number might vary depending on your target audience, but set a goal for each week, and hit it.
Step 2 Basic Twitter psychology seems to dictate that when someone follows you, you stop and look to see who it is, and often you follow them back. By following your target market, you are making your first call for them to follow you back. Not everyone will follow you back, especially if they feel there is no benefit to following you. If they do not follow you back , un-follow them on your next Thin down Thursday, but do add them to a private prospect list.
Step 3 Set your Twitter reader to show you a column of prospects; now look for authentic opportunities to engage them. Notice I said engage and not sell, if you sell them they will run. Again think of prospecting; if following them is like a cold call, engaging them is like “farming” it takes more than one post card, you need to hit someone 5-7 times before they really notice you, this could take a few days or a few weeks depending on their volume of tweets. You do not want to come off as that creepy stalker who comments on everything they say, pace yourself. Eventually you will find that if they have noticed you and you have not turned them off, they will eventually follow you, now you can follow them back.
Step 4 Now that we have a Follow and Follow back relationship, keep looking to engage like you did in step 3, but also start tweeting information that your target audience will find useful. Share links of articles you find useful, post links to your own blog articles, RT (Re-tweet) useful information that your Tweeps are sharing with their followers (you), as not all your followers follow the same people you do. Keep in mind all these contacts should be public @Tweets and not DM Conversations, as this will show others that you are active and engaging on twitter.
All these “light” touches help you keep top of mind awareness with your followers, and as a result, when they have need of your product or service, you should be first person on their list of people to talk to.