While few observers seriously question the potential value Twitter holds as a channel for social selling, there are many questions surrounding exactly how organizations can unlock that value. A new e-book from the Social Selling University (a program of sales intelligence vendor InsideView) attempts to answer those questions and help companies turn Twitter into a bona fide application for driving and executing sales.

Twitter from the Ground Up

The short 52-page book, “The Ultimate Guide -- How to Use Twitter for Social Selling,” takes a very comprehensive approach to Twitter, starting with a basic primer defining terms such as “tweet” for those who have never used Twitter before. Things start to get interesting with Section III: “Building Your Community.” Readers are advised that buyers on Twitter do not want a sales rep but a “trusted advisor.”

To assume this role, companies must build a relevant following rather than engage “everyone under the sun,” which means building a community. Social Selling University advises there are three key steps to building a community of relevant followers: Become an expert on one particular topic of interest to your industry and use your Twitter account to take a firm stance on it, tweet content that will interest your target audience and genuinely engage your audience rather than simply send out automated tweets. “Ten engaged followers are better than 100 uninterested followers,” the book reminds readers. 

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Digital marketers and salespeople are also advised to participate in activities such as setting up trigger alerts to be notified of online news stories on specific companies, topics or events relevant to their social selling efforts, engaging with relevant Twitter content of other industry “tweeters” (without making a direct sales pitch) and subscribing to the Twitter lists of other relevant users.

Please Don’t Feed the Trolls

“How to Use Twitter for Social Selling” also offers some don’ts for prospective Twitter salespeople. Chief among them is not feeding “trolls,” or “controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”