With social media, every channel works in a slightly different way. To get the best results, you need to isolate exactly what each social media platform allows you to do best and tailor your approach to make the most positive contribution.

Twitter is a unique social media channel,in that it’s completely open. People can have public accounts and it’s like a big, open conversation. The best way we’ve been able to leverage the power of Twitter for ourselves and our clients isn’t through paid ads, but by having conversations with people.

Not just any conversations though, I’m talking about valuable, one-to-one conversations with people in your target audience.

Think of it like networking, but on a massive scale, and only with people who are incredibly likely to buy from you.

In this guide, I’ll show you how we use Twitter to generate 10-100 new leads each month, without spending a penny on paid ads.

But first…

Why should your business use Twitter in the first place?

Let’s be honest here. Twitter is one of the smaller social media channels out there, especially when you compare it to Facebook and Instagram.

The below graph shows the monthly active users on Twitter, vs LinkedIn and Instagram:

Twitter vs Instagram vs LinkedIn Chart

By the way, in case you’re wondering, Facebook has over 1 billion (yes billion) users, and is still the champion when it comes to monthly active usage.

So what makes Twitter unique?

Well, although it’s not the biggest social media channel, there are still a LOT of people using Twitter.

Over 300 million active monthly users to be exact.

Chances are that many of those people can be considered your potential customers.

What makes Twitter truly unique is that it is an open social media channel. So, unlike Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, where most people have private accounts; on Twitter, most people have public accounts.

Example of Personal Twitter Business Account

This makes it incredibly easy to find and engage with your potential customers, see what they are talking about in real-time and start engaging with them through one-to-one conversations.

Because of the way Twitter works, you can get some really positive results (by results I mean leads and sales) without spending a penny on paid advertising.

Your main investment with Twitter will be your time

The more time you put in, the more you will get out of it.

That makes it especially attractive to smaller businesses with limited budgets, or businesses who want to test their message, landing pages or offers before investing in paid ads.

So, here is our step-by-step strategy to generating more leads and sales by using Twitter organically.

The strategy

Before you jump into using Twitter to generate leads, you need to have a strategy.

Not just any strategy, but one that’s been proven to work.

Fortunately, we’ve been using Twitter for a number of years now, and have tested what works and what doesn’t.

So, in terms of creating a strategy with Twitter, we follow four simple steps.

These are:

Step 1: Create and optimise your Twitter channel
Step 2: Build a targeted audience
Step 3: Generate leads within your target audience
Step 4: Convert your leads into sales

In this guide, I will go through all of these steps in more detail.

Step 1: Create and optimize your Twitter channel

Optimise Twitter

When creating a Twitter account for your business, one of the first things you will want to do is make sure it LOOKS good.

Effective design and branding are going to form the foundation of your Twitter campaign.

First impressions on Twitter count.

If your Twitter account looks active, has a nice design, etc, it will go a long way to encouraging people to follow and engage with you.

Here are some things you should keep in mind when creating a Twitter profile for your business:

Create two Twitter accounts

Create one for yourself (as the leader of your business) and one for your company.

Why is this important?

Personal Business Twitter Account Example

Some people on Twitter will prefer to follow a company and others a person. Therefore, it’s always good to appeal to both sets of people in your target audience.

Top tip: Don’t just limit yourself to two twitter accounts. If you have a team, be sure to get them involved on social media too.

Another reason why it’s good to have two Twitter accounts is that you can use your personal account to build a personal brand, and then develop relationships with your target audience. By posting different social media updates on both channels, you can appeal to two different types of people in your target audience.

For example, on Skyline Social’s Twitter account, I post about the following topics:

  • Social media
  • Content marketing
  • Digital marketing

On my personal Twitter account, I focus on:

  • Business/entrepreneurship
  • Leadership
  • Working virtually
  • Enjoying life
  • Productivity

Optimize your Twitter bio

Descriptive Twitter Bio

As you can see in the Skyline Social Twitter bio, we use “Are you struggling to get new customers using social media?”. This is the problem we solve. We then have a call to action: “Follow us for tips and free advice….” so that people have a reason to follow.

Having a call-to-action can go a long way in gaining new followers.

Have an attractive cover image and profile image

Good Twitter Cover Image Example

Having an attractive profile picture (such as your company logo) with a cover image that matches your design & branding will also increase the chances that people will follow you on Twitter.

In the example above, you can see that we have our company logo as the profile picture and the cover image of the London skyline because of our name “Skyline Social”.

Post regular and relevant social media updates

When people go to your profile and decide whether they want to follow you or not, they will look at the kind of social media updates you are sharing.

If you hardly ever post, and your social media updates do not look interesting, then chances are people who go to your page will not follow you.

Be sure to post regular social media updates (aim for at least a few times a week – preferably every day) and then make sure that whatever you do share is interesting and engages with your target audience.

Tip tip: if you’re targeting business owners, then articles about entrepreneurship, business advice and productivity could be interesting to them. Or, if you are targeting event companies, then you could post content about “how to run a successful event”, “how to get more people to attend your event”, or “how event planners can win more customers”.

At Skyline Social, we are targeting entrepreneurs and business owners who want to grow their business using the social media, so we post articles around those subjects, as seen in the examples below:

Step 2: Build a targeted audience

As mentioned earlier, the great thing about Twitter is that it’s an “open” social media channel. So, unlike Facebook and Instagram where most people have private accounts, on Twitter people use public accounts. It’s therefore quite a common practice to connect with and follow people you have never met.

Because Twitter is an open social media channel, we can easily find people based on who they follow, what they tweet about and the keywords (such as job titles, industries, etc) they have in their Twitter bio.

There are a number of tools you can use to help you with this.

Here are some of my favourites, if you’re just starting to use Twitter to generate leads:

1. Followerwonk by Moz

With Followerwonk, you can search for people based on keywords, such as job titles and location.

Followerwonk to grow a Twitter Audience

I search for people based on their job titles, such as:

  • Managing director
  • CEO
  • Founder
  • President
  • Director
  • Business owner
Example of Managing Directors in London on Twitter

Play around with different keywords and see who you find!

2. CrowdfireApp

On Crowdfire, you can follow people based on the keywords in their profile, simply by clicking on “Keyword Follow”

CrowdfireApp Twitter Keyword Follow

You can also “copy followers” from accounts that your target audience is likely to follow, such as other organisations or your competitors.

CrowdireApp Copy Followers

Finally, you can use Twitter’s own advanced search feature to find people based on what they are talking about in real-time.

Go to Twitter.com/Search

Twitter Advanced Search Example

Then click on “advanced search”.

You can then search for people based on the hashtags they might be using, as well as keywords and Twitter accounts they talk about.

What do you do once you find your potential customers on Twitter?

That’s easy. You follow them.

Here’s the process we take at Skyline Social for ourselves and our clients:

1. Manually follow targeted Twitter accounts
2. Unfollow those who don’t follow back after two days or more

Top tip: You can see who has and hasn’t followed you back by using CrowdfireApp and clicking on “Non-followers”.

Once you follow people, they will usually get a notification and sometimes even an email that you’ve followed them. They will then check out your profile and decide whether to follow you back or not.

If they like what they see (which is also why it’s important to post relevant and useful social media updates) they will follow you back.

As a bonus, you can also “Engage” with your potential customers by replying to their comments or, even better, reply and engage with your followers on Twitter through a short video message:

Step 3: Generate Leads

Now we move onto one of the most exciting parts of social media: lead generation.

The best way we’ve found to generate leads on Twitter is by having one-to-one conversations with people in your target audience, and by sending them a Twitter direct message.

What should you say in these messages?

There is a right way and a wrong way to send messages to people on Twitter.

See also: what you should and shouldn’t do when sending messages to people on Twitter

For a message to be effective on Twitter, it must:

1. Be targeted (not random messages to random people)
2. Provide value (not just trying to sell your product or services)

Your first conversation with a prospect should always be to help and provide value to them.

What kind of things can you do to help your target audience and provide value to them?

The best way is to offer them free content.

Content such as videos, guides, blog posts, articles, webinars, etc.

See also: What is content marketing, anyway?

(And no, a “free consultation” doesn’t count as “free content” – that’s still too salesy at this stage in your marketing and sales process)

One of our most popular lead generation strategies on Twitter is to invite potential customers to free webinars. We normally generate about 100 leads each month from Twitter by inviting potential clients to an automated webinar on social media.

Whether you use webinars, a free guide, an article, a video or something else – simply remember to give away your free content in return for a name and email address (that’s what we count as a “lead”).

What if you don’t have any content to give away?

Believe it or not – that’s still not a problem. The great thing about Twitter is you can have conversations with your potential customers before you’ve created the content.

We’ve done this lots of times in the past (for ourselves and with clients) to test and see if a piece of content will be interesting to those in our target audience or not.

For example, we’ve sent out a message to people on Twitter along the lines of:

Hi [Their Name], I’m thinking of running a webinar on “How your business can generate leads using LinkedIn” next month and I wanted to see if that’s something you’d be interested in for you and your business? If so, just enter your name and email here [link to landing page] and I’ll keep you in the loop once it’s ready.

This message does two great things.

1. I can test a piece of content with people in my target audience to see if the content is worth creating in the first place

2. I can easily generate leads without any content.

Of course, you still need to create the content at some point in the future, but if you have a list of people who say “Yes, I’m interested in that!” and those leads are your potential customers, then why wouldn’t you create that piece of content?

In the LinkedIn webinar example above, we actually generated over 100 leads; people who said “Yes!” to attending a future webinar I will create on LinkedIn.

The amazing thing is we didn’t even use fancy landing pages. We just set up a basic Google Form page:

Google Forms for Lead Generation

Top tip: Remember, the goal of lead generation is always to capture your potential customers name and email by providing something of value – usually in the form of a free piece of content.

Step 4: Convert your leads into sales

The final step to winning new customers through social media, is to nurture your leads into sales through email and content marketing.

This is crucial.

If you don’t do this, then chances are you will not make any sales through lead generation alone.


Because people still don’t trust you!

You need to build up trust.

How do you build up trust?

Here are three of the most effective ways to build trust.

1. Post regular and relevant social media updates

As mentioned earlier, if you are active on Twitter and post relevant and useful social media updates, then when your prospects go to your social media channels there’s a much higher chance they will follow and engage with you.

2. Create your own unique content on a regular basis

According to Google, 70% of the buying decision is made before someone contacts you to ask for more information about your product or services. This is called the Zero Moment of Truth. You need to make sure that your potential customers can learn about what you do, how you do it and why what you do can change their lives. This comes before they contact you for a sales call.

By creating your own content, you can educate your potential customers as to why they should buy from you and deliver it in a way that is helpful and valuable to them.

3. Nurture your leads with email marketing

Finally, just because you post new content on your website or blog on a regular basis, doesn’t mean people will see it. You need to get that content in front of people.

Although email has been around for many years now, it’s still one of the most effective ways of getting your content in front of potential customers.

You can very easily create an email database for your leads using email software such as Mailchimp, Kartra (personally, I use Kartra for Skyline Social), or many others.

Be consistent

Don’t forget that with all marketing, especially social media, this is going to be an on-going process and not something you do “just once”.

You need to be consistent.

There’s no point in building a few followers, generating a few leads or posting 1 or 2 articles then giving up.

You need to continually be growing your social media presence, your leads and your content each month.

That’s how you can get a constant stream of new leads and sales through Twitter.

Want to learn more?

If you want to learn a bit more about our lead generation process, be sure to sign up to our free training by clicking here.