How to use Twitter to market your freelance business

Posted on: November 22nd, 2011

When I started up my copywriting business, I had no marketing budget to play with. Over a year later, I still don’t: not because I can’t afford one, but because I don’t need one. Right back in the beginning, I was talked into using Twitter in a personal capacity by friends and family, who had got there way ahead of me.

But once I saw how other people were successfully using Twitter as a free tool to market their businesses, I started to apply their approach to my own company. Since then, my biggest contracts have come through Twitter and I use it every day to build my business and win more clients. Most of my business now comes from word-of-mouth recommendations – and that’s really what Twitter is all about.

Twitter training

I now teach other companies how to make Twitter to work for them through The Critical Edge. My training courses help other business owners to get past the misconception that Twitter is just another way to waste the working day and show them how to make the most of this free, interactive marketing medium.

If you’re going to market your business with social media, it pays to be selective. After all, Twitter isn’t right for everyone; nor is it the right solution for everyone’s business. Let’s start by nailing down the tangible benefits that Twitter can deliver for you. It can help you reach thousands of potential customers online and strengthen relationships with your existing customers.

The benefits of Twitter

If you do it well, it can reinforce your brand and help you build credibility with your target market. As you gain followers, you can use it to demonstrate and share your expertise in your specialist area. It’s a quick and easy way to keep up with industry news and trends, get vital feedback on products and services and keep an eye on what your competitors are up to. Above all, using Twitter to market your business can boost your bottom line.

Twittertip number 1

Learning the mechanics of Twitter is a pretty intuitive process, but before you get to grips with the basics, there is one key principle that’s worth taking on board. As in ‘normal’ life, people dislike the feeling that they’re being ‘sold’ to. Twitter is not a forum for overt selling; it’s far more subtle than that. The most effective way to sell your business and yourself is by building relationships and networks in a natural way: by talking.

Twittertip number 2

Promoting your business through Twitter doesn’t mean that every single one of your tweets should be about your business. That’s because on Twitter, people follow people, not businesses, so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in your tweets. Around 30% of my tweets are directly related to copywriting or Twitter training, but the people I engage with on a day-to-day basis are well aware of what I do for a living, so I don’t need to bombard them with ‘propaganda’.

Twittertip number 3

And here’s a third tip if you’re new to tweeting. Don’t forget to follow your competitors. It might seem counterintuitive, but if you’re confident of your brand and your market position, then following your competitors sends out a highly positive signal to your customers. It also shows a generosity of spirit that can go a very long way on Twitter. What’s more, by following your peers, you might well discover that they’re not using Twitter quite as effectively as you are…and that’s always good to know.

Twittertip number 4

Once you’re up and tweeting, there are some super-simple steps you can take to extend your audience even further. When other people retweet your tweet, they’re effectively forwarding your message to their own network. And the chances are that one of their followers will do the same, spreading your tweet yet again. If you blog for your business, retweeting should work well. Let’s say you tweet a link to your latest blog. Every time someone retweets your tweet, more traffic – and more potential clients – are being channelled straight to your website. You might even pick up some new followers along the way.

If you’re good at talking to people, you can make Twitter work for you. Best of all, it’s absolutely free and very easy to use. But if you’re prepared to invest a bit of your time and thought in developing a proper strategy, you could get more out of it than you ever expected.

About the Author

Hannah Marcheselli runs The Critical Edge which designs and delivers bespoke Twitter training courses to help you build relationships, create leads and generate more sales.

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