Here’s an outline of how to can use Twitter to get 100 paid customers in the next 90 days. First I’ll explain how sales happen on Twitter, What the pieces are, and how they all fit together. Then I’ll outline what you need to do. I’ll give you a list of deliverables that you can hand over to whoever is going to be managing your Twitter account.
Is Twitter good for sales?
Yes and No.
On the one hand, Twitter traffic is pretty low intent. People don’t come to Twitter expecting to drop cold hard cash. It’s more of a digital cigarette break. Light entertainment when you’re waiting in line.
On the other hand, nobody shows up to any social platform with the intention to buy. Twitter’s low intent is matched by the specificity of people that use it. VCs, founders, journalists, academics, engineers, all love Twitter. Anyone who can’t take a picture of their work, whose work is their words, ends up on Twitter. If you want their attention, Twitter is the place to be.
How to sell on Twitter
There are 5 ways I know of.
- The hard no-sell
- Give away the good stuff
- Build a sales funnel
- The follow-up pitch
The hard no-sell is hands down the most popular approach around. You put a link to your sales page on your profile and then never mention your product again. You tweet about things you and your audience care about, and eventually, people find their way to your profile and self-serve. This approach can be incredibly effective because people hate being sold to.
The problem is you need a lot of footfall to your profile page. That means spending consistently creating quality content. At some point, you have to ask yourself if investing the same amount of time and energy into another marketing approach could deliver better returns. When it works, you never know how much you are leaving on the table. A little selling here and there might leave you better off.
Giving away the good stuff involves setting a healthy ratio between useful content and promotional tweets. You show up, put the work in, and bank goodwill at regular intervals.
The problem with this approach is you can’t control where people are in the buying cycles when you promote stuff. Promoting a smaller offering that is easier to say yes to is a way around this. Once people enter a sales funnel you can show them your core offering after you’ve demonstrated value. This does mean building and promoting a whole new product (that is not your core offering). And unfortunately, you will be asking people to sign up for yet another free email course or webinar.
A different approach entirely is to spend money on ads that drive followers. If your bio is clear then a follow becomes a qualified lead. You have permission to message them directly with some skill you can translate these conversations to sales calls. The beauty of this approach is that if it doesn’t work right away you can tailor your content to reinforce your sales story and the value of the transformation you are enabling for people. As long as you don’t blow it, you can continue to follow up with people for as long as they follow you.
The final approach is to spend money on ads that drive traffic to your sales page. Contrary to popular belief, Twitter can generate qualified leads at a lower cost than most of the other major ad platforms. You might run out of people to target or the cost of ads might get too high, but if it works why waste time doing anything else?
How to create your Twitter marketing strategy
There is plenty of overlap between these five approaches. You can do all five you want. It’s more of a slider for how aggressively you want to sell. There will be an optimal balance for the kind of business you are in and the audience you are targetting. Now it’s just a question of finding it.
Unless you are just running ads or not running ads at all, your approach will involve some mix of educational content and promotional content. For our purposes, an ad (or promotional content) is any tweet that links back to your sales page directly (whether you are paying to promote it or not).
Rather than thinking about your content as promotional vs educational, it’s more productive to think about the kind of transformation you’re helping people make.
Your Twitter marketing strategy is based on a clear understanding of the following questions:
- What transformation are you in the business of helping people make?
- Who are the people already looking to make that transformation?
- What do those people value?
- How can you provide that value in tweet format?
Whether you are contacting people directly in your DMs and offering to help them make the transformation 1-on-1 or if you’re planning out a 6-month content calendar, the elements of the underlying message you are communicating remain the same.
Instead of thinking of these elements as individual tweets, the key is to think of them as themes. In twitter’s official course on developing a content strategy, they call these themes ‘content pillars’. Themes, categories, content pillars, the point is that once you are clear about the kind of change you want to help people make and who wants to make that change then you pick 3-4 well-defined content Pillars to guide how you plan and create relevant content.
The best place to start is with similar businesses.
Let’s say you’re responsible for managing the Twitter account for the bar you work at. Find 10 other bars that have active social media accounts that are in a similar price range and appeal to the same kind of audience you’re going for. Go through their recent posts and start categorizing them. Standard pics of food and drink would be one category. Now you need options for other categories.
I did this for about 5 minutes and saw bars posting:
- pictures from last night’s event,
- cocktail recipes,
- press mentions or reviews,
- stories about the history of the bar,
- interviews with key staff members,
- recommendations for other things to do and places to go when you’re in town.
I’m not suggesting you just copy other people’s tweets. It’s more about understanding what categories are working for other businesses in the same space. You then use their posts as inspirations and start thinking about how you can do your version of that category.
A bar is an interesting example here because it’s not always clear what kind of transformation they are helping people make. Maybe the bar is positioned at young people, specifically tourists, who just want to meet new people while they are in town. Pictures to show how much fun your events are and recommendations for other things to do in town would likely perform better in this context. Perhaps your bar is in the middle of the financial district. Much older crowd, more of a place to have a drink after work. Stories about the bar’s history and press coverage that anchors the establishment’s prestige might work better. The point is that you can test different themes of content out and see which ones resonate with the people you are trying to reach.
Similar businesses are a good starting point but you don’t have to limit yourself to themes that work for them. You can return to first principles and ask yourself what kind of transformation you are in the business of enabling, who wants to make that kind of change, what kinds of things they value, and then how you can give it to them in tweet format.
Fortunately for us, the way online ad management platforms are structured is by campaigns, ad groups, and ads. This is the exact structure we are using with content pillars. We can measure the performance of a pillar by setting up a campaign for a specific outcome (more followers, more engagement, purchases, etc) and then organize our tweets into different ad groups based on the content pillar they are in.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on Ads. The point is to use the advertising interface to groups tweets in a way that lets us look at the performance of each group. A small amount of ad spend also means that each tweet gets put in front of a minimum number of people so don’t discard it just because it wasn’t posted at the right time or didn’t get a fair shot.
If you put a month or two of effort into this, you’ll have enough quality content to recycle every 12 weeks (posting the same thing four times a year is fair game). Once this foundation is built, and you understand what people respond to, it’s mostly minor tweaks and upkeep from there.
I think there is this pervasive idea that producing social media content has to feel like you are on the endless hamster wheel of doom. In reality, it’s more about finding the right messaging that leads to people showing up and buying from you. Once you’ve found it, you want to stick with what works. Ads are optional, but they help you calibrate to the stuff that resonates faster.
Using Twitter as an Effective Selling Tool
I realize that bridging the gap between reading about this stuff and actually doing it can be difficult so to help you actually use Twitter to drive measurable results for your business I’m going to outline exactly what you need to do to bring in 100 new paid customers from Twitter in the next 90 days.
I run a social media marketing manager for teams on Twitter called Chirr App. If you sign up to an annual team plan on Chirr App and submit proof of progress for each of the steps below and you don’t bring in 100 new paid customers in the next 90 days then I will give you a full refund ($497) and you’ll still be able to use the app for the rest of the year.
You will also need to spend $500 on ads to complete this challenge and I can’t refund the ad money. That would be too good to be true. But what I’m offering you is the ability to spend less than $1000 to test if Twitter can be a meaningful source of user acquisition of your business in 90 days. If it’s not, and you gave the program a solid shot (~2 hours a day) then I will split the cost with you by refunding the money you spent on our team plan.
Here are the 10 things you will need to send me (firstname.lastname@example.org or DM our Twitter account @chirrapp) as proof of progress to qualify for the money-back guarantee.
- A link to your sales page in your bio – In order for a sale to happen, you have something to sell. Your bio must clearly describe your product and link to a functional sales with a compelling offer. I’m assuming you wouldn’t take on the challenge unless you had this in place. Please make the necessary updates and then send me your Twitter profile as soon as it is connected to your sales page. I will respond with feedback on how clear and compelling your offering is.
- Spend $10 a day on new followers – Go to Twitter ads manager and set up a follower campaign. Follower ads show your profile to people on Twitter so it’s important to rewrite your bio description if needed to make sure the people who follow you know exactly what you offer and how it can help them. Run at least 3 different ad groups that target people in different ways. Send me a screenshot of the targeting options for each of your campaigns before you hit publish the button.
- Refine your sales story – The whole point of paying to drive qualified leads to your Twitter account is so that you can reach out to them directly. Even if you don’t plan on running 1-on-1 sales calls forever, this is an important step in refining your messaging. You can learn more about who you are selling to and what they value from 2-3 live-action sales calls that you will from weeks of developing and promoting content. Being able to speak to your target market and run ideas past them to see how they respond will help you align your broader Twitter marketing strategy in record time. You will need to plan for what you are going to say to people to get them on the call and then a plan for how to close them once you are on the call. Send me a document with your outreach message and subsequent follow-up messages as well as bullet points for your sales call. If you would prefer to record yourself running through your sales process I’m happy to review that instead. I will respond with feedback on how clear your sales story was.
- Set up conversation tracking – Next we will be running ads on tweets with links in them. To do this you will need to let Twitter know when an ad leads to a sale. This means adding a small snippet of code to your website so that Twitter can see how many people took an action that you desired after viewing or clicking on one of your ads. Without conversion tracking, you won’t know if anything is working. You want to be able to track how many people sign up for your offer or book a sales call from Twitter. Setting this stuff up is always a pain. You will need someone with technical expertise to add a snippet to your source code and make sure everything is working. The faster you get conversion tracking set up the sooner you can start running ads to drive leads to your website. Send me a screenshot of your event manager to show events are active once you have set up conversion tracking.
- Optimizing your ads – Before you set up ads to drive clicks to your sales page you want to review the performance of your follower ads, shut down the ones that didn’t perform the best, and reduce the spend on your best-performing ad to $5 a day. If you have ideas on new targetting criteria or changes you want to make to your bio-based on any sales conversations so far feel free to run these as separate ad groups to see how well they compare to your best-performing ad group.
- Set up link ads – Spend $10 a day target at least 3 differently worded permutations of your core offering targetted to the same target as your best performing follow ad group so far. After a week, send me a screenshot of the campaign in your ad manager to show how all three compared. Please also explain which groups you intend to discard and how you intend to further optimize the best-performing ad group.
- 5 competitor content pillars – Find at least 5 other similar businesses in the same market category that have active social media accounts and go through their recent posts and start categorizing them. This free tool will pull the last 3200 tweets from an account and pop them onto a Google sheet for you https://www.vicinitas.io/free-tools/download-user-tweets Send me a list of the 10 most popular themes of content for businesses similar to your as well as any other ideas for categories of content that you think will work for your business.
- Create your content pillars – Shortlist 4 content pillars and create a folder for each one in Chirr App. Then write out at least 10 tweets in each folder and schedule all of the posts over the next month. Send me a link to each of the 4 Chirr App folders you have created.
- Spend $5 a day on impressions – Review your link-ads, shut down the ones that didn’t perform, and reduce the spend on your best-performing ad to $5 a day. Then create a new campaign for impressions and create a new ad group for each of your content pillars. Each day ad published tweets to the appropriate category and spend $5 on impressions (and make sure you are also targeting your existing followers). When an ad gets more than 1000 impressions pause the ad so that you can promote all of your tweets over the course of the month. At the end of the month, send me a screenshot of the impression campaign in your ad manager to show how each content pillar compared.
- Refine your content pillars – The last step is to work on developing content for a new content pillar. At the end of the first month of running your impression campaign, you want to remove your worst-performing pillar and replace it with your new one. Then within each of the remaining pillars, you want to clear out your least performing tweets and build on the best ones. You will need to repeat this process till you have 12 weeks of high-performing content (at least one tweet a day) that you can re-use every quarter. You will need to send me a screenshot of your evergreen content library to show you have an entire quarter of re-usable quality content in place.
On day 90 you will need to share the final stats of how many sales you made from twitter over the course of the 90 days.
If you get stuck at any point I am offering personally help you out and troubleshoot the problem with you. I will reply to the initial email with a link to book time on my calendar so that you can reach out to me and work through problems you have at any stage over the 90 days.
If you’re interested in the challenge then go to Chirr App and sign up for a team plan with the account you intend to post everything from. Once you’re logged in, go to your subscription page and get your user ID. Send your user ID to email@example.com and let me know you’ve started the challenge. I’ll reply with a calendar link that you can use to book a time to go over things at any point if you get stuck.
Links to useful resources
- When not to market on Twitter and how to make sure your audience is on Twitter
- How to Get Followers On Twitter
- How the hell do I run social media accounts for my work?
- Using Ads to measure your Tweets
- Using Twitter to grow a business
- If you have no prior analytics set up then you can just follow Flight Scool’s tutorial on how to create a Website Click Campaign
- If you already have analytics set up (with Google tag manager for example) or if you want to customize your event tracking then I will point you to Twitter’s business resources on conversion tracking for websites.
- I should also point out that as an advertiser you are now officially a paying customer of Twitter. They have customer support and specialist to help you just like any other business so if you get stuck implementing conversion tracking for your specific technical stack you can use this page to contact an ads specialist for help.