A Guide for Social Sellers

Your company has just started a social selling program, and you’re excited about it. If social selling can help you make your sales quota, why not do it?

But there’s one problem. Your boss is encouraging everyone to be active on Twitter and LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a done deal. You use it all the time. You’ve heard of Twitter. You know that your coworkers use it all the time. But you don’t know where to start with this network.

Not a problem. Let’s walk you through the basics of creating a Twitter presence for a salesperson.

Choose a Professional Twitter Username

Remember that you are creating this Twitter account to attract buyers. Names like “CoffeeLuvr79” aren’t going to cut it. It’s usually best to use some variation of your name. Granted, if your name is John Smith, you will have to be more creative.

Choose a Professional Profile Picture

You need a profile picture on social media. No exceptions.

If you don’t choose an image, people will see an egghead. And who wants to do business with that image?

When selecting a photo, choose one that is professional. If your company provides head shots, use your head shot. If you don’t have access to a head shot, choose a photo that looks like it belongs on your company’s website.

Pro Tip: Use a smiley photo. Individuals with smiling photos are thought to be more competent, likable, and influential.

Here are the required dimensions:

  • A square image – Optimal size: 400×400 pixels
  • Maximum file size: 100kb
  • Image format: JPG, PNG, or GIF.

To upload an image, navigate to your profile.

Click on “Edit Profile” on the right-hand side of the screen.

Then, click on your profile picture and upload it.

Write a Bio for Your Industry

Twitter gives us 160 characters for our biographies. In a small amount of space, we have to explain to the world who we are, and for social sellers, you have to exude confidence and trust. That’s not an easy task.

As you begin crafting your bio, think about your audience.

Let’s say that you work for a software company, and you plan to communicate with potential buyers on Twitter. Should you dedicate your entire Twitter profile to your love of the TV show Scandal? Probably not.

Instead, craft a bio that shows you can help your followers. Here’s a simple formula that you can use:

Remember that people buy from people. To be effective on Twitter, you need to be a human being – not some robot that spits out tweets. By listing things you love, you humanize yourself. Plus, your interests might be a great conversation starter.

In addition to sharing your love for coffee and golf with the world, you need to show some depth. As a salesperson on Twitter, you should aim to be a reliable source of information. The “I tweet about” phrase accomplishes that goal.

That phrase is your pact with your followers. When they follow you, they know that they can count on you for information on these topics. The “I tweet about” topics are your areas of expertise. They might be related to the product you’re selling, or they might be related to your sales vertical. Whatever the case may be, people know that they can count on you for information on those topics.

By the way, you do not have to rigidly follow the format above. Feel free to mix it up. Jill Rowley, for instance, has done just that in her Twitter profile:

Follow People

As Jill Rowley’s profile states, “Always Be Connecting.” The beauty of Twitter is that you do not need permission to connect. You can follow anyone who has a public profile.

To follow someone, you first need to locate the person on Twitter. Let’s say that we want to follow Twitter’s current CEO, Dick Costolo. First, I would type his name into the search bar in the upper right-hand corner:

Then, I select the Dick Costolo whom I want to follow by clicking on his name from the dropdown menu. (For me, it’s @dickc.) On his timeline, I select “Follow” in the upper right-hand corner.

Now, I will see Dick’s updates in my Twitter feed. When he says something, I will know.

Engage with People

Connecting with people is not just about reading what they say. You must also engage with them. You have to strike up conversations with them. You have to add value to their lives.

Replying to people’s tweets is the easiest way to do that. Just click on the “Reply” button and type a short message.

Quick Tip: Remember that content is the currency of social media. We build relationships and create our identities by sharing articles, blog posts, infographics, and videos. Use content to educate and entertain your fellow Twitter users.

For more tips on breaking the ice with prospects, download these templates.

Know How @ Tweets Work

When I hit the “Reply” icon in Twitter, my message automatically begins with @TwitterUsername. If I want to have a private-ish conversation with someone, you want to begin your tweet with @TwitterUsername. Here’s an example:

I said “private-ish” because it’s not entirely private.

Most people won’t see this tweet that I’m composing to Henry Nothhaft, Jr., one of the Co-Founders of Trapit. Only people who follow both me and Henry would find this tweet in their main timeline.

If you want everyone to see your tweets, don’t start your tweet with the @ symbol.

In other words, I can make my tweet visible to all my followers – while still engaging with Henry. I simply have to put Henry’s Twitter handle later in the post:

Henry and all my followers will see this post in their timeline.

Understand Twitter Lingo

Since Twitter users have only 140 characters to leverage, they frequently resort to acronyms. Here are a few common acronyms that you will see:

RT: Retweet – Used when you repost someone else’s tweet.

MT: Modified Tweet – Used if you are retweeting something, but you want to modify the text in a small way. In the following example, you can see that Niki wanted to add some commentary, so she modified Bill’s original tweet to shorten it:

Here’s the original tweet, which Niki changed slightly:

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It – Used if you want to repost content again. Due to the rapid pace of the Twitter timeline, it’s likely that many people won’t see your tweet the first time. Use “ICYMI” to tweet the content again.

TBT: Throwback Thursday – Used for showing old photos and posts on Thursdays.

HT: Heard Through or Hat Tip – Used to give credit to person who tipped you off to something.

Compose Tweets between 120 and 130 Characters

Data scientist Dan Zarella has found the sweet spot on Twitter. If you want people to engage with your tweets, make sure that your posts are between 120 and 130 characters.

Besides being optimal from a statistical perspective, this general guidelines is practical, as well. If you want people to retweet your content, you need to give them some space to do so.

Let’s say that your followers want to reshare the last article that you posted. Your original post was 140 characters, the maximum number of characters allotted for Tweets. The article was so good that people want to reshare it.

To add “RT @username:” at the beginning of the tweet, the user has to shorten or modify your tweet in some way. This makes their life more difficult, and people like things to be simple, especially if they are trying to type on their mobile phones.

Use Private Twitter Lists to Monitor Your Prospects

Once you begin to follow people on Twitter, you can quickly become overwhelmed. How do you decide what to read? How do you keep track of everything people are saying?

Consider creating lists. Lists are a way of grouping users together so that you can see the group’s posts at one time.

You might create a list for the influential people in your industry. You might create a list for prospects. You might create another list for your customers. Then, you can read all the influencers’ tweets at one time, all your prospects’ tweets at another time, and all your customers’ tweets at another time.

Be careful as you create your lists. Twitter users will receive a notification when you add them to a public list. If you don’t want Twitter users to know that you’re prospecting them, don’t add them to a public list called “My Prospects.” Create a private one.

To create a private list, click on your profile icon in the top right, and pull down to “Lists.”

Then select “Create New List.”

And make sure you select “Private.”

To add people to your list, find the person on Twitter. Click on the gear icon next to the person’s name. Pull down to “Add or Remove from Lists…”

A pop-up will appear, and you can check the lists to which you would like to add your prospect.

To access and monitor your lists, navigate to your lists page from the profile icon in the top right. Pull down to “Lists.”

Then click on your list of potential customers, and you’ll see all their updates. Feel free to respond to a Tweet or two.

But don’t respond to all of them! That will make you look like a creepy stalker! For more directions on interacting with prospects, check out Social Selling 101.

Schedule Your Tweets

Believe it or not, the weekends are a great time to share content on social media. Busy employees finally have a break from meetings, and they can catch up on their Twitter feed.

But perhaps you don’t want to spend your weekends updating Twitter. So, take time on Friday to schedule a few posts over the weekend.

Then again, maybe you don’t want to be active on weekends. Maybe you firmly believe in the five-day work week. No problem. You still should schedule posts.

When it comes to social media, consistency is key. And stopping every hour to write a post is a nuisance. Be active all day by scheduling posts to share. A good social selling tool like Trapit can help you with that.

Whatever you do, don’t…

…spam your followers with hard pitches.

Twitter is not another avenue for pushing your elevator pitch on people. Twitter is about building relationships.

Brands on social media have the 4-1-1 rule. At Trapit, we always aim to post four pieces of content written by others for every one soft promotion (e.g. a link to an e-book download) and for every one hard promotion (e.g. a demo request).

This rule prevents us from exhausting our prospects with pitches and promotions. Instead, it allows us to build trust and educate our audience – without seeming too pushy.

Think of sharing content on social media like going to a dinner party. You don’t want to be the loathsome guest who can speak only about one topic: himself. Yawn.

So, make sure you balance both your company’s branded content, your hard promotions, and other people’s content. A good social selling platform like Trapit will help you do this.

Over to you…

We’ve looked at some general best practices, as well as a few pointers. I hope that they help you as you begin using Twitter to connect with your buyers. Best of luck!

Leave a question in the comments section below if I can help you with your social selling on Twitter.


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