How to use your twitter followers to your commercial advantage


Ok so you've built your follower base on twitter and you now need to do something with them but the biggest question is still, how do you monetise these contacts and drive revenue from them?  


A lot of businesses are on twitter because they feel that they should be, because their competitors are or they feel that they will miss out if they are not on twitter but quite a few appear not to know where to start to drive sales.


I think we need to recognise that Twitter isn't just about sales and that there are many other uses for it, for example customer service, market research or managing suppliers but it should always be providing you with some level of return on your investment. There are also many indirect benefits to being on twitter such as improving your search engine rankings or driving fresh traffic to your website but yet the question on everybody's lips is still 'How do I make money from it?'.


First things first.  I always advise my clients that there are two distinct phases to their twitter journey. The first phase is always the building phase and this could take up to 6 months to build a relevant and active database of followers. There is no point in offering a super duper promotion if no one hears about it or tells their friends about it.  This initial phase is an investment of time or indeed money, in the case of outsourcing this particular activity, with limited return.


The second phase is the selling phase and this is the point when you can start using those followers, a call to action if you like.  You also need a good base of followers when you consider that the likelyhood is that your tweet will only ever be seen by a maximum of 10% of your followers at any one time.    


Before the selling phase, I encourage all my clients to analyse their twitter followers. Bearing in mind that only limited information can be extracted based on people's twitter profiles, there is still a large amount of information we can learn from this and there are applications that can assist here too.  Around 70% of twitter users have entered a location in their twitter profile and once you discount those that have entered 'the universe' or 'cheryl cole's bedroom', you will certainly get a sense of where your followers are based.  In my experience, a significant number of followers for the hotels and restaurants I work with are very local.  A lot more information can be gathered from the bio of your followers that you can use to your advantage.  


The reason for this particular exercise is so that you can then tailor your promotions and offers around the demographic of your followers.  A local follower is obviously much more likely to come in for a meal or a drink than spend a weekend with you.  There is no point wasting time trying to get them to buy something they have no interest in. 

'But I want to sell bedrooms, not burgers!' I hear you cry.  Well, one idea that appears to be becoming popular is to do a follower swap.  This can work well if you have already identified that your followers are all local and you want customers from further afield for a particular promotion. This idea came from a discussion I had with a particularly enlightened hotel client in Birmingham.  'why don't we find another hotel of a similar standard and a similar local following and let's promote the other's residential offers to our own followers'. Makes absolute sense, doesn't it?   

Twitter is brilliant in that it allows this free flow of information to happen in a very democratic and fair way.  It's a place where you can reach followers, not just your own, if you are clever and strategic.  A rubbish offer will not gain traction and sell regardless of where it's promoted but a good value offer can reach those clients who will buy it without the need pay an intermediary such as groupon a huge part of the cost price as commission.  All Groupon offers is access to a database and that is what twitter is, the world's largest free database. Collectively we can do this on our own now thanks to Twitter, we just need to be a little more clever and strategic in the way we make this happen.


Your twitter value is the number of your active followers. They may not always be of value to you all the time but they could be of value to somebody else. These contra deals are starting to be brokered on twitter more than ever before. 


If you want to know more about how this strategy could work for your business and you want to be put in touch with other businesses that could help you, call me on 07791 886258, tweet me on twitter @grantappleton or email me on


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