5 Unconventional Ways to Grow Your Business Using Twitter These tips can help improve your social media game.

By Carlos Gil

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Twitter may pale in size to other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and it may not be as business-focused as networks like LinkedIn, but don't overlook the power of growing your business through Twitter. This network is one of the best places online to gain leads through important relationships, market research and more, and you don't even have to gain followers to make an impact.

The key to Twitter success is to test tactics that can help you cut to the heart of what you're trying to accomplish, such as gaining access to decision-makers you're trying to sell to, rather than aimlessly posting and hoping the right people in the giant digital ocean of social media see your content.

I've had a lot of success in my own career using Twitter to grow, and I want to share five unconventional tips that you can use to grow your business through Twitter without spending a dollar on advertising:

1. Use Twitter as a search engine to find leads/contacts

As counterintuitive as it sounds, you never have to send a single tweet in order to get value out of Twitter. That's not to say that you shouldn't tweet, but if nothing else, think of Twitter as a search engine. You can use the search functionality to find leads and other valuable contacts by searching for terms related to your business and the interests of your targets.

For example, I work with a lot of real estate agents through my marketing business, and one of the tips I give them is to search Twitter every day for terms such as "moving to [your city]", "relocating to [your city]", "looking for a home in [your city]." You can also save searches through Twitter or through third-party tools such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck to make it easier to track these phrases.

These searches will likely yield results showing real people that you should be targeting. Once you identify them, you can reach out to them by direct messaging (DM'ing) them, tweeting them or perhaps trying to connect on another network like LinkedIn once you know their name.

2. Find out what's being said about your competition and industry

The search functionality of Twitter also allows you to monitor what's being said about your competition and your industry. Simply type a competitor's name in the search box and see who's talking about them on Twitter in real time.

These searches can provide a prime opportunity for you to gain market share if you swoop into conversations at the right time, such as if a customer is tweeting about a bad experience they had with your competitor. Unlike networks such as Facebook, you don't have to be connected on Twitter to reply to a post, so you can jump in immediately and respond in a way that entices that customer to move over to your business, such as by acknowledging their experience and offering a discount for them to try your business.

In addition, you can monitor conversations about your industry to get a better sense of what customers think. Think of this tactic as free market research.

3. Combine LinkedIn with Twitter

I consider LinkedIn and Twitter to be partners in a perfect marriage. As mentioned previously, you can find contacts on Twitter and then reach out to them on LinkedIn if you prefer to communicate through that network, but you can also take the opposite approach. LinkedIn is a valuable database where you can find decision makers that you want to reach, but instead of always connecting on LinkedIn where people might have their guard up from expecting a sales pitch, you can connect on a more personal level on Twitter.

Simply search for the companies you want to reach on LinkedIn, find the executives and other decision-makers who work there, and then search for their names on Twitter, or search "[their names] + Twitter" on Google to find their profiles and ultimately connect. This is a simple tactic that's often overlooked.

4. Track and engage with conference hashtags

Look up hashtags on Twitter that are used for industry conferences. You can't attend every conference in person, but you can essentially attend many virtually by following along as people react in real time using conference hashtags.

By following along, you can hop into conversations about what's going on at the conference and form new relationships with the people there. You can even contact speakers from the conference if you see people tagging or commenting about a presenter that you'd like to speak with more. If you get a sense of what they discussed at the conference, you could then tweet at that speaker to let them know you like what they had to say or offer your two cents, and then ask to connect on LinkedIn (which goes back to the third tip).

Create a spreadsheet with relevant conferences and their hashtags, and then set up saved searches so you can monitor those conversations as they occur.

5. Dive into lists

This last tip is sometimes viewed as controversial, but it's fair game in my opinion. Simply go to the profiles of prominent publications like Entrepreneur or high-profile people within your industry and view the lists that they've subscribed to or are a member of. These lists are often chock-full of people that you'll want to target or at least follow to learn from what they have to say. Think of this as a shortcut to finding relevant people on Twitter.

By following these tips, you can find more leads, form important contacts and ultimately grow your business using Twitter. Anyone can try these tactics for free, and if you do, you'll likely be amazed at how much they boost your success.

Watch more videos from Carlos Gil on his YouTube channel here. Follow Carlos Gil on Instagram @CarlosGil

Carlos Gil

Author of The End of Marketing

Carlos Gil is the author of The End of Marketing: Humanizing Your Brand in the Age of Social Media and AI, an international keynote speaker, and award-winning digital storyteller with over a decade of experience leading social media strategy for global brands including LinkedIn.

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