5 Ways To Find & Acquire Customers On Twitter

by Brian Norgard on February 24, 2009 · 130 comments

This is a guest post written by Brian Norgard. He’s a super smart entrepreneur/surfer that sold his last company Newroo to FOX Interactive Media. If you’re looking to understand how to build a business then follow him on Twitter Brian also spoke at the Elite Retreat conference and killed it!

Introduction

Emerging platforms create new opportunities to find and acquire the lifeblood of your business—customers. Twitter is the breakthrough product of 2009 because of its unique ability to create lightweight and fluid conversation—in near real time—around just about any topic.

Let’s look at 5 ways you can leverage the platform to build your business:

1. Twitter Search (The Big One)

Twitter is fast becoming a lead generation nirvana marked by anxious customers looking for real time answers and active feedback about every product and service imaginable. How do you utilize this trend to grow your business? Two words: Twitter search.

Search is not yet fully integrated (http://search.twitter.com) into the Twitter experience (though it’s coming soon) however the potential as an acquisition engine is tremendous. Twitter search represents a near synchronous half loop of customer intent that not even Google captures today. How do you complete the loop to fully realize the value? Whatever product or service you market there is likely someone talking about it right now on Twitter.

Find these customers by searching the most relevant keywords associated within your market. Thereafter, join the conversation by sending a useful message that contains relevant information.

There is a fine line between being attentive to the needs of the customer and acting like a stalker. Be helpful. Be courteous. Don’t be too pushy. For example, when responding to a customer question, offer this, “I noticed you had a question about X. Check out this link, it might help.” Simple and direct.

The rate at which you receive a reply is proportional to how much value you create for the customer. Take time to craft a thoughtful response—it pays.

Client side tools like TweetDeck also can help you stay on top of the massive streams of information on Twitter. The standardized tools Twitter offers are not going take you and your business to the next level. Upgrade.

2. Find the Influencers in Your Vertical

One of the better ways to find and acquire customers on Twitter is to route through influencers. They are the gatekeepers that own the attention pool you covet. Co-opt their streams by inserting useful bits of information into the conversation (i.e. a link to an item, a fact about the topic, or a short anecdote).

It might seem futile to offer random suggestions against the wind. It’s not. Your opportunity cost is always time yet when a Guy Kawasaki or a Jeremy Schoemaker messages you back it’s more than just a message. It’s a signaling mechanism to an entire micro community that you are legit.

Standing on your soapbox and blindly tweeting ultimately won’t cover much surface area for your business. How does one identify the influencers? Generally, though not always, the number of followers an individual has on Twitter is proxy for their sphere of influence.

Another way to identify influencers is to search on Google Blog Search or Technorati for the highest trafficked blogs in your vertical. See if those folks have an account on Twitter. If they do, follow them and track what makes them tick.

3. Profile Bio

This one is easy: create a contextually relevant profile bio. Do you sell baby cribs? Then make it evident by stating what makes you the world’s expert in the baby crib trade.

It’s important to understand potential customers on Twitter will take the time to read your bio if you offer them something timely, interesting and helpful. It’s their way of pre-qualifying you.

4. Grab a Relevant Twitter Domain

A contextually relevant Twitter URL is an a powerful way to build
trust with potential customers. For example, if a user tweets, “I am looking for a new baby crib any ideas?” Who is she going to respond to? Twitter user Tcvtex99000 or BabyCribExpert? You decide.

5. Twitter URL On Business Card/Email Signature

Make sure you attach your Twitter URL to both your business card and email signature. It’s amazing how many customers you interact with on any given day via email. Take advantage of this immense pool of liquidity by making your Twitter URL as easy to find as your phone number.


full disclosure

About the author...

– who has written 1 posts on ShoeMoney.com.


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{ 95 comments }

1 AdvertiseSpace

It’s not a bad post, but one thing that really sticks out. This guy has 300 followers on twitter and it writing a twitter post?

2 Jeremy Schoemaker

not everyone tries to be prolific. I know Brian has close ties to the Twitter founders and I am sure understands a lot more then people who have 150k followers *cough* obama *cough*

3 Rahul Jadhav

lol…its nice to get your customers on Twitter. using Twitter Serach is a great option

4 Meji - 365HUSTLE.com

This post isn’t about getting a ton of followers…It’s about aquiring customers via Twitter.

5 Iain Collins

To be fair, not everyone is so insecure they feel the need to act like a MySpace user on crack and treat all social networks like yet another popularity contest because they have nothing of any discernible value to add.

I know … *Ouch!* … it’s true though – a lot of would be Twitter marketeers (and most MySpace users) behave that way – I don’t expect they will sell much of anything to anyone, despite all their noise and fury and the number of identical clones following them back.

If people following you are also following thousands of others, chances are they will never see what you tweet – they are just another MySpace addict on crack and it’s delusional to equate them in value to other followers.

Frankly I have trouble keeping up with the 50 or so people I following (and will probably cut back).

When it comes to marketing via Twitter (& this also applies to celebrities effectively marketing /themselves/) it’s surely better to stand out by being be sufficiently unique or of sufficiently high quality/value that people are likely to read what you write.

6 jim

The people who know what’s going on don’t get into pissing contests.

7 Need Cash?- Get a Free Government Grant Up To $100,000

Yeah..I have heard of new and respective ways of utilizing twitter. This a good post and has allowed me to find new ways to make money online with twitter.

8 Missy

The quality of your followers is more important than the QUANTITY. I have over 500 but Brian might have more engagement from his base than i do. And that is WAY more powerful.

P.S. I second the name/URL tip. As even my own ID (which is m38967) doesn’t do me any justice. What the heck can you glean from that name? Nothing.

9 Meji - 365HUSTLE.com

Thanks for this post. I’m currently writing an E-Book and this can be a great way to market it to the public.

10 Brian

Thanks Shoe! Yeah, I don’t have a ton of followers–that’s a fact. I’ve never tried to optimize for that. My research comes from helping companies use these exact methods and listening to folks on the product level at Twitter. Hope this is helpful to you and your community.

11 Twitter Banking

good post

@advertisespace – hes prob not trying to gain, more hes keeping his transparency at his own level and do not mind having followers that actually want to follow him

12 Tim Cohn

Excellent post and insights.

All Twitter users are sculpting their personal brand online whether they are aware of it or not.

13 thehillers everywhere

The Truth and to the point. Thank You

14 Bill

Great info. I will put it to use today. Thanks Shoe

15 Mike

Good post Brian, with many well made points, but please try to lose the marketing speak “Twitter search represents a near synchronous half loop of customer intent” it just takes so long to read when you have to translate it!

16 Tim Cohn

Also, thought this post might add color to the conversation going on here:
Top Twitter Hotspots
http://searchmarketingcommunications.com/2009/02/20/toptwitter-hotspots-in-google-trends/

17 Brian

Mike — No problem. Writing how I think can cause some issues. Thanks for the comment!

18 loans

To respond to comments above: Most people who use Twitter knows that its the quality of the follower, not the quantity.

19 browie

Excellent post. You can see the professionalism in his words. Very easy to see he knows what he’s talking about.

20 adrian

Thanks for the post. This will help as I prepare a seminar on using social media to find customers and build your personal brand.

21 ZK@Internet Marketing Blog

So in nutshell … impressing someone always work everywhere. If this one is twitter platform or any one. Just impress and get the business.

And if you will be able to keep providing your quality service than that client will keep coming with the fresh orders.

22 Chris

Great post. Thanks.

23 Harrison Watson

Yeah this is a solid article. And all of these are great ways to acquire targeted followers on Twitter. Turning them into customers is another thing. See what Shoemoney has to say about twitter and how to use it. Great post thought.

24 Amie

From experience….I can say that these tips are right on.

25 Domain Superstar

Twitter is just a platform. One still has to provide value and hopefully in a unique way to gain customers/clients. It seems that many get hung up on the usage of Twitter being the be all and end all when really Twitter is just a platform.

26 purposeinc

I’ll second shoe’s comment. Brian is the real deal. Not only is he brilliant on social media, but he is very generous in his willingness to help others. I fact he is really pumped on it.

Not a guy going for the quick buck, but someone really interested in building long term value in companies.

He’s actually really happy and funny, I think the pic needs to be updated ;)

dk

27 matt

I’m sorry, but you guys that say it not the number of followers that matter… you’re wrong. Twitter is a fast elevator conversation, you want your messages to be delivered to as many people as possible. You never who is online looking at your stream.

Follow as many people as you can, Use tweetdeck to organize the people you “really want to follow”, and try to get as many people to follow you as you can.

28 webmogul

Ever heard of quality over quantity?

29 Iain Collins

Bulk, untargeted mass marketing is not really much of a long term business plan.

30 Brian

DK, thank you for the kind words. New pic coming soon. What I really want is a good headshot in a 10 foot barrel. Now that would be cool. Thanks again DK and yes, I am all about long term value and showing love to customers. -Brian

31 David Turnbull

Hmmm, I’m always wary about using social sites for acquiring customers etc. So much more fun to use them for their real purpose.

In fact, I reckon trying too hard kind of ruins the allure of following people on Twitter. If I go to a page like twitter.com/InternetBusinessGuru I know I’m just going to get sold too, but if they just used their name I’d be like “Okay, this is a real person that might have some cool stuff to say”.

Then again, maybe I only think like this because I understand how Twitter can be used as a marketing tool – the average person wouldn’t even think this deeply into it I guess.

32 webmogul

This was just what I needed. As soon as I read #1 I gave it a shot and found many potential customers right off the bat.

33 Jim Banks

Obama has over 320,000 followers now and hasn’t posted a single tweet since he became president……been there done that. He also seems to automatically follow, or else he can follow 300,000 people’s posts, wonder what sort of super computer TweetDeck would need for that.

Followers you don’t want are like people who tag along to dinner even when it is obvious they are not invited. Lean and mean is best. Useful tips in there for sho.

34 Blog Income Report

He won, he got what he wanted out of Twitter :)

35 Yves Marie Danie

hahahaa, great answer! Yes, President Obama won, nuff said. :-)

36 Yves Marie Danie

President Obama understands the power of relationships (a.k.a list building) as I still receive updates from *him* via email – lonnng after the election has ended. I welcome those more than the guru’s online trying to sell me their new ‘shiny’ object (new ‘make money’ product) of the week. *yawn*

37 José

Hi,

Not being into social websites, I wasn’t that interest on giving Twitter a try.
However some of my artist coleagues have been telling that they’ve made some good contacts.
I guess that it all has to do with whom you chose to follow, just as in any social website.

Take care,

José

38 Investing Smart

I have used twitter for a while now and have only experienced good things. Keep up the good work!

39 jason

great post here – twitter is so new there are a tramendous amount of oppurtunities

40 China Travel Blog

It seems twitter is became a “must have” for online success, I am still new on it, regardless of the number followers this author has I think this is a helpful post.

41 Make Money Online Tips

Nice tips there. Having more followers does not mean anything good, but Obama has alot not because of any reason as such but the craze of being followed by Obama. He follows all those who follow him.

42 Ryan Conlon

I liked the post. thanks for the tips

43 Best Wordpress Themes

This is some great advice for twitter users. I personally use twitter search and type in relevant keywords to my target makret to find potential customers. It works well.

Brandon Walker

44 colin

matt – did you get banned from twitter? you have a cached twitter page – but now the page doesn’t exist.

45 Mike

Great and useful post. Twitter really becomes a must have nowadays, doesn’t it?

46 WillBlogForFood

Twitter is a powerful tool for connecting with with customers. I think one of the best ways to get noticed it by talking with people who are authorities in your niche. I know when Darren Rowse ,John chow and un marketing @willblogforfood i got a huge influs of followers and rts.

47 Scott Skinger

Brian-

Thanks for the post and thanks for taking the time out at Elite Retreat. You were solid. Actually, I have some questions for you but I will send you an email at some point.

I think that Gary V. and @domainsuperstar (above) said it best, Twitter is just a platform (a technology). Twitter is hot today but might be dead a year from now.

This platform is so powerful though, because it allows you to inform, educate and start conversations with people that you wouldn’t normally be talking too. Don’t take this for granted, it is a huge opportunity.

Twitter is not about spamming people to come to your site or buy your product. It is about helping people with information and becoming recognized as an authority on a particular subject. It is an excellent opportunity to build your brand and become the “expert” in your niche.

Scott@TrainSignal

48 Kenney Works From Home

About the starting conversations thing…my wife foodie blogger just got an article entry from the editor of the LA Times for a food “blog carnival” she is a part of that she is friends with on Twitter. She was pretty stoked about that ;)

49 Michael Eisenberg

I’m still learning about twitter, thanks for your input

50 Kenney Works From Home

My wife has been gong crazy lately with this whole Twitter thing. She is doing quite well with it too. thanks for the post I will have to forward it on to her.

51 Brian

Kenney, Thanks for the comment. Yeah, I’ve reached out to a few prominent bloggers via Twitter and it’s amazing how good the response rate has been. It’s all about a change in context I guess. Email has become a slum, unfortunately. -B

52 Anurag

Great post…. Twitter’s a terrific tool and Brian’s a prolific entrepreneur.

53 Marco

Tip 0: Don’t use bullshit terms like ‘visionary’, ‘enterpreneur’, ‘seo specialist’ or ‘marketing genius’ in your bio.

here is why.

54 Bad Azz Network Marketer

yea, actually you make a great point. and I just saw your link Marco…it’s brilliant. I don’t want to give anything away, so if anybody’s looking for a bit of a wake up call (literally), check out that link.

55 contentpig

I need to redesign my business card, now I have another justification for the process. I will be adding a few of my social networking profiles. Thanks for the tip

56 game-girl

Twitter is really actual for the time of being.Now it shows its great opportunities.But it is difficult to say what happens to it in a year.

57 Jeff Klemin

Thanks for the great ideas. I’m tired of surfing Craigslist for new clients.

58 Best Deals Online

I have never made full use of twitter (or much use at all) and still can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that money can be made with social sites.
I guess that the best thing for me to do is to start experimenting with things like this

59 midowo

Yes new times new ways to get traffic> I’ll never expected that twitter will be a traffic generator

60 Gerald Weber

Excellent tips on how to acquire customers from Twitter. Also when your content goes viral on Twitter that can be a great way to get noticed. The best way to do this is of course the retweet.

61 jacky sltan

but, why twitter always in jammed and hung condition ?need help !

62 Internet Marketing Mentor

Great post, yes twitter is really exploding right now and is agreat way to attract potential leads, as someone said it’s not about how many followers you have, i would rather have 300 loyal followers than a few thousand who are not really connected with you.

63 Tuesday

Who ever thought 140 characters (?) could pack so much punch! I love how Twitter can close the six-degrees-of-separation gap. I can even have my choice of mentors.

64 Chris C

Great tips! I’m new on Twitter and have been looking for more information from people like Brian. Thanks!

65 Marco
66 Chris Monty

Awesome post. I am using Twitter more and more these days.

67 Nick Stamoulis

That Twitter search feature is a really great way to find a specific conversation you are looking for.

68 Diana

that function of twitter is wonderful! I advocate the use of industrial hemp and I have had heaps of contacts using the search function

69 Mr. School Fundraising Ideas

I guess I just haven’t taken a hard look at twitter but I am not all that convinced that it will be the next big wave.

70 Scott Skinger

It is not about being the next “big wave”. Twitter may be gone a year from now or so main stream that it is not as effective. However, right now (like today…go take advantage of it) you have an easy way to find and connect to your audience.

You have the power to influence people and turn them into traffic/customers. You have the power to learn what the “smart people” in the industry are doing and reading…they share this with you. Take advantage of it!

Scott@TrainSignal

71 lisa wood

this is a great short straight to the point information story. I love it. I am into finding out what works on line and what doesnt but I prefer to read blogs that are short, tells me up front, and gives valuable information. So thanks for your hot tips.

72 Diana

few things stuck out for me: quality vs quantity (numbers or effective engagement: build slowly or quickly?)
being endorsed by others in their sphere of influence
All good and helpful points, with, i must say, a wonderful comments response!

73 Erica

That’s really interesting, Twitter seems to pop into my life every day, and every day I am learning more and more about the application. It is amazing how much Twitter can help your career!

74 clickktdotcom

Now I only having 100 follwers on Twitter.

75 MyInternetBusiness

Twitter is something I am not currently useing put am sure to check out as i hear some people are having great success with it.

76 Tyrone

Excellent post, after reading this I want to join twitter. I think it will help me a lot.

77 Keg of Wisdom

Great post! We just got started on twitter and I agree with everything you have said!

78 Make Money Online Tips

Thats seems to be great tips, I will implement on my twitter account right now, I may get some customers.

79 Liz Buenrostro

Great insight. I am actually making a tweetness (business) plan for myself following your 5 steps.. thank you

80 Lucille's Moneymaking Programs

I like the personal relationships that you can build with Twitter. I think that if people trust you, they will be interested in what you have to offer. I am learning something new everyday about using Twitter to build business relationships. Nice article!

81 Sarah Lam

Twitter Search is a great tool for searching almost anything you want. I like to find out the latest freelancing jobs.

82 Dental Pro.

Quality is MUCH better the quantity……true

83 jacky sltan

totally agree but if without quantity, how do people find your quality ?

84 jacky sltan

that’s really great tips to share to..find me if you can !

85 VlogHog

Use fill-in-the-blank and get thousands of visitors to your blog. Twitter, MySpace, MyBlogLog, RSS etc.

Good luck.

86 Nate at Plasticprinters

Great post! I just started with Twitter last week and while overwhelming it is a powerful tool. Thank you for the tips!

Nate

87 RozyD

Really I love to stay in twitter all the time coze its becoming a main generation nirvana which marked by worried customers looking for real time answers.

88 Smart Boy Designs

Really great thoughts. I must agree that Twitter search is an extremely powerful tool. It’s amazing to see what you can find through the feature – and meet new people related to your niche.

89 Portland window cleaning

Thanks for the post. Twitter is fast becoming one of the most powerful tools in any marketer’s arsenal.

90 Nitesh

Great tutorial.Thanks for putting this together and spending your time on helping others.

91 Sokrati

Great Article. But, my point is…do you think that Twitter is able to generate leads for large clients. Twitter is a perfect platform for small & Medium size players who are looking for prospects….but what about the large players..Do you think Twitter is playing a role for them?

92 Alex - we hire marketers that can acquire customers on Pay Per Deal model

Twitter is a rather lead nurturing platform than lead generating. Nevertheless our affiliates indeed generate some leads from Twitter, even though it can never be the main lead source.

93 Guy

It’s a subtle business getting customers through Twitter – i don’t know of a platform where it’s easier to lose someone through a clumsy approach.

94 Freebie Trading

Man, GREAT post I will start using some of these tips right away! Most of the tips I have been using so far from other sources has gotten my Twitter account banned! Your tips seem pretty sound.

95 Loma Craigmiles

Damn, I’mjust writing a similar article! You got there first…You did it better than I would have anyway :D

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