A lot of salespeople don’t really understand how to use Twitter effectively for generating business. It can be overwhelming and hard to sort through the noise. However, it’s a very powerful platform for connecting with folks that can make you stand apart from other salespeople who are just using email and the phone to reach out. One of the most powerful ways to make Twitter work for you is to use it at conferences. Here’s how to you do it:
Before the conference:
- If you don’t have a twitter account set up already, do this. Make sure to use a nice photo of your face and to write a bio that is not just business but also gives a little flavor for who you are.
- Research the agenda and look for sessions where your clients and prospects might be speaking. Try to block out time to attend some or all of those sessions. While you’re at it make sure to follow those speakers.
- If you know that any of your clients and prospects will be attending the conference, make sure to follow them. Consider making a twitter list of these people.
- Look up the hashtag for the conference (look for the “#” symbol and the letters that follow it). Most events will publish this somewhere on their website. If you are inexperienced with hashtags, do a search on twitter using that hashtag so that you can understand what it does. You’ll probably see some tweets that are promoting the event and possibly some tweets from speakers talking about how they are looking forward to speaking at the event.
- If there are a few people you really want to connect with at the event, tweet them something like “@[so-and-so] Are you heading to #sxsw? If so, I’d love to connect with you there. Can we grab a few minutes to say hi in person?” You can also do this via email but this kind of outreach can stand out more if the person you are reaching out to is active on twitter. I don’t recommend doing this more than once per person and I wouldn’t blast a bunch of these out at once. People will look at your profile and see your most recent tweets. A bunch of obvious sales outreach is not a compelling set of tweets.
At the conference:
- Do a “check in” tweet letting people know you’re there. Example: “Just got to #adtech. Excited to check out the scene.” Remember to use the event hashtag so that your tweet shows up in the feed!
- When you see something interesting or unusual, like a cool booth or installation, take a picture and tweet the picture. Images can stand out in a feed. A picture of you + a friend/client/teammate or a photo of your company’s booth can also be fun.
- Search the event’s hashtag regularly. Retweet interesting stuff that you see, especially anything compelling from one of your clients or prospects. Don’t hesitate to retweet stuff from a client’s company account. Even that can get picked up as you never know exactly who is managing those accounts and even if it’s not exactly whom you want to reach, if you look interesting or say something clever, your tweet might get forwarded to the folks who are on site.
- If you are attending a session where a client or prospect is speaking, tweet some of the things that are said. Make sure to tag the speaker using their twitter handle and to include the event hashtag. People appreciate having their “voice” extended beyond just the walls of the conference. Be strategic about what you tweet.
- After a meeting, thank your client publically by tweeting something like “@[so-and-so] It was so great to finally meet you in person here at #sxsw.” Of course, don’t do this if there is some reason that you or the client wouldn’t want the public at large to know that you met. On the other hand, sometimes it’s good for business for the client’s competition to know that you’re talking to both of them. You get an opportunity to be strategic here.
- Thanking sponsors (especially if they are clients or prospects) for hosting great parties can be a fun and easy tweet that can get you some brownie points.
After the event:
- Tweet your exit. Example: “Just left #sxsw and had an amazing time! Lots of great meetings and lots of follow up to do!”
- Thank folks publically for meetings that you had on site. Don’t repeat this if you already did it onsite.
- Tweet people that you didn’t get to meet and express your regret that you didn’t get to see them there.
- Continue to follow the event hashtag as there is usually some winding down type of content. People often write blog posts about what they learned and if you see anything from a partner or client, read that post. It’s an opportunity to comment or help them spread the word about the post.
Twitter is a great tool when used strategically that can help you stand apart from other salespeople that aren’t using the platform in a smart way. You don’t need to do exactly what I suggest above but use these ideas to craft your own techniques for making Twitter work for you. If you already use Twitter and have some other tips for using it at events, please share them below.
About the author
Alice Myerhoff is author of the new e-book “Social Media for Salespeople: A Step-by-Step Guide to Increasing your Leads and Sales” and a business development/sales/marketing/management executive with over 18 years of experience in industries ranging from online games, educational technology and Social business to online news media, real estate & mortgage. She has worked at EdSurge, Electronic Arts, Inman News, Pivot Conference, Philips Professional Publishing, Countrywide, Princeton Capital, and the Tomorrow Project. Her party trick is being able to count to 10 in 6 languages and she is fluent in German and French. Connecto her at @motodot, www.alicemyerhoff.com and www.linkedin.com/in/alicemyerhoff.