If you're like most businesses, you're trying to engage, and make Twitter sell. But it feels like grabbing at customers' fleeting attention. Meanwhile, competitors are capturing market share. While you engage with customers they're finding ways to generate leads and sales.
Case in point: Avaya views Twitter as a better way to generate customer inquiries. Not a better way to advertise. Companies like Avaya are using Twitter to discover demand and "plug it into" existing lead nurturing processes. To sell.
Translate evolving need
The key to selling with social media tools like Twitter is seeing the opportunity itself in a new way. Twitter isn't an opportunity to grab at prospects' attention.
It's a new tool that helps businesses translate evolving customer needs, and capture demand. Let's look at how this is true and how you can immediately apply the idea.
Paul Dunay of enterprise communications company Avaya recently shared a remarkable Twitter experience.
I'm writing a book on making social media sell and always looking for good case studies and examples. In a nutshell, Dunay's social media team uses advanced Twitter search functionality to monitor for explicit or latent demand across the vast, babbling Twittersphere.
In June 2009, Paul's team discovered a 57-character tweet. This started the relationship with his potential customer:
“[...] or avaya? Time for a new phone system very soon,” the tweet read.
Moments after the tweet was posted, an Avaya team member spotted it and notified Dunay, who responded by tweet:
“@[customer] – let me know if we can help you – we have some Strategic Consultants that can help you assess your needs.”
The potential customer did, and 13 days later, Avaya closed a $250,000 sale.
For Avaya, Twitter is a tool to discover demand in various stages. In this case the customer's need was immediate. In other cases it needs to be nurtured along.
Bottom line: Twitter is being used by Avaya to translate evolving need. It's more than listening. And they're not just using Twitter as another channel to hand out discount promo codes or grab at customers' attention.
Sure, Avaya uses Twitter in an outbound manner, but when doing so it is focused, again, on prompting behaviors that capture customer demand (leads).
Put it to work: make Twitter sell
Here's a practical success formula you can use, starting tomorrow.
What makes you buy more? Personally. Awareness or qualitative experiences with service providers? Think about it in your own life. Eschew the notion that attention, buzz, conversation, listening, word-of-mouth are desirable outcomes. Update your expectation of social media. Expect more of it.
Discover and capture demand
Successful social marketers are translators businesses that find ways to discover customer need and create processes around it. They create ways to capture demand that involve creating behavior. They're not broadcasters of messages; rather, process-driven customer shepherds that "plug into" the sales function.
For instance, "warm" leads can be placed into a lead nurturing process,like a content marketing program.
That is, an interactive system of prompts or "value exchanges" conducted with leads that helps push prospects down the sales funnel. Typically this involves publishing needs-focused (relevant) video tips, helpful blogs, podcasts, guide books, etc.
In the end making Twitter produce sales is more about prompting behavior, less about broadcasting discounts. Start selling using Twitter today. Discover need, capture it and prompt actions that gently but diligently move potential buyers toward the sale.
Or maybe you're already ahead of the game? I hope others who are progressing similarly to Avaya may offer comments below.