Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Relationship and Referral Marketing with Twitter? Here's how...

A client and I have been discussing the use of Twitter in online marketing over the last week. Today, this client came up with a brilliant new way to put it to use. Here's a quick run-down on the background...
  1. One of their target markets is brides (they provide wedding entertainment for receptions and/or parties)
  2. We ran an experiment to see whether or not it's possible to find brides using Twitter
  3. While we attracted many companies seeking the same market, Twitter didn't send us many brides (i.e. they're not using Twitter to look for information about weddings)
I was discussing the outcome of this experiment with Claire Park of Incognito Artists, and we both agreed that Twitter wasn't likely to be a useful source of leads. Despite this, there are 2 things Twitter did well...
  1. It was a quick and low cost way to test the potential of the market
  2. It built a list of potential future alliances (i.e. complimentary suppliers)
1. Market Testing with Twitter

Twitter isn't a replacement for full-blown market research. What it offers is an approximation of likely behaviour over a very short period of time (48 hours in this case), at no additional cost.

What is obvious from the followers we picked up, is that many complementary businesses are using Twitter. And that it probably is a useful tool for building alliances. It was Claire that spotted the opportunity to use Twitter as a way of developing mutually beneficial relationships as follows...
  • The company's Twitter page attracts followers over time
  • Most of these followers will be companies looking to supply complimentary services to the same market segment
  • We make contact with these companies, offer to post a free tweet on their page, and ask if there's anything special they'd like us to post
  • We retweet when they post something useful or interesting
This use of Twitter can be further refined to ensure we pick up the right companies...
  • Schedule tweets to go out only during UK business hours
  • Tweets are crafted to include the targeted company's name and the primary keyword relating to that topic
The objective then, is to use Twitter as a means of forging a relationship with those company's likely to be in a position to refer their clients on to Incognito Artists. As a supplier of wedding entertainment, this company is often one of the last to be booked. Everybody else in the supply chain is generally called up first. And that makes almost everybody a potential source of referrals.

To put it another way, Twitter can be used as a B2B relationship marketing and referral tool.


Matthew Lourie said...

I like this post. As you point out, Twitter is a great environment for experiments. Have you thought about looking at the second level connections, that is, the followers/friends of your followers. Can you find direct leads that way?

Wayne Davies said...

Hi Matthew

I hadn't thought to check out the followers of my followers, or even realised this was possible.

I just hopped over to my Twitter page to investigate, and discovered how to do this. Here's how (for anyone reading this who doesn't know)...

1. Go to your Twitter page

2. Click the 'Followers' link

3. Click on one of your followers. This takes you to his/her page

4. Click on his/her 'Followers' link

You will now see a list of his/her followers. Use the supplied tools to find out who they are and what they do.

Thanks for the tip Matthew. I've just tweeted a link to your site by way of a thank you.