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Tweeting in the cash

For all the doubters and naysayers, social media can bring in the Benjamins. In fact, for my consulting practice, Brain Tattoo Branding, Twitter scored an exciting, new, six-figure assignment.

So how did it happen?
First, you’ve got to be signed up. It’s easy and painless. If you are clueless to the new world of Twitter, watch the video on the Twitter web site and also check out these excellent books on the subject.

All A Twitter by Tee Morris

Twitter for Dummies by Laura Fitton, Michael Gruen and Leslie Poston

Secondly, you need to understand what Twitter is and is not. In a bird shell, Twitter is a micro blog that enables you to post and read “tweets.” A tweet is a text message in a concise, less than 140-character format. A tweet post has no content boundaries other than length. You can tweet or twitter anything, from a question, a quote, an opinion; a status on what you are doing, feeling or about to do; share resources, or dish an experience.

Twitter is a real-time communication channel for personal and business purposes. It is intended to adhere to the new social media etiquette and be more about dialogue and helping rather than hard selling. But, like many things in life, there are always a few bird brains that don’t seem to get that part.

Back to how I did it.
I set up my profile, selected a handle — @brandingdiva.com, uploaded a photo, and added keywords that are relevant to my world. Now, as a twitterer, I get to follow others, which means their posts are in a timeline on my Twitter page. It’s not about quantity, but quality. You must follow people who can add to your success.

A few years ago I joined a mentor group lead by The Million Dollar Consultant, Alan Weiss. Alan has authored over 32 books and is one of the smartest cats I know. He helped me improve my business proposals, leverage my intellectual property, and just become a better consultant. I delete reams of newsletters and mail in my inbox daily, but, I’m very religious about reading Alan’s stuff.

In a recent email, he suggested I follow him on Twitter @BentleyGTCSpeed. And because I like Alan’s thinking and humor, I thought this would be a great way to get bite-sized samples of his brilliance, fast. So I started following him.

That Saturday night, I was drinking my BV cab and perusing my tweets, and I saw one from Alan. It read something like: Global industrial company looking for branding and naming specialist, interested parties contact XYZ.

So I did, right that moment. I shot an email to the contact listed. My branded email was formal and included my contact info, background on me, services summary, web site links, and an article from a prominent business publication in India that highlighted me and my views on brand naming.

Within minutes, I heard back from the contact; we exchanged a few more emails and then chatted on the phone. It turned out that he had also been in Alan’s mentor program. He was not the client, but was making recommendations to the client. After all of our dialogue, I was on the short list.

A few weeks later, I got a call from the client outlining the actual assignment, background on the company, and other details. I listened more than I talked. From there, he requested a proposal. I explained to him, that before I could produce the proposal, I needed some additional information from him and agreement on key issues around the project. My list was extensive, but he promptly answered all my questions and I submitted my proposal.

My proposal was brief; not a lot of selling, but it did include our agreed-upon goals, measure of success and value expected, pricing options, and a strong overview of my company’s credentials and B2B experience.

Three weeks later, I get another call. They want me to come to their home office to meet the team. They also requested I summarize my proposal into 3-4 pages. I obliged, on my nickel. For those you who squirm at shelling out travel expenses in advance of getting a deal, I say get real, if you are worth your proposal, you will earn this back quickly.

As it turned out, they were interviewing several firms and I was still in the hunt. To reinforce my position as a branding authority who works in diverse sectors, I prepared and did as much homework as I could. I flew in the night before, leaving nothing to chance, flight delays, bad weather, etc.

In my pitch I stressed my creative problem-solving ability above my knowledge of their industry. I rehearsed my key points and continued to listen and ask questions. In fact, I walked in with a list of both, so I wouldn’t forget anything. While I had plenty of B2B experience, I did not have hands-on experience in their specific industry category. However, I presented my lack of specific experience as a strength, not a weakness.

A few weeks later, I got the bright green light and today I’m working with a great company on a challenging project. Once we take it public, I will share with you more on the branding and project processes and outcome.

I am thrilled that a new social media like Twitter made this opportunity possible. I hope it soon does the same for you. Following are the key lessons I took away from this experience.

Lessons learned:

1) Twitter is tool, just like your business card.
2) Twitter is not an autopilot sales associate.
3) Twitter is a marketing tactic that you must use strategically.
4) Social media is not a magic potion that cures all; it is one piece of your marketing arsenal.
5) Jump on opportunities when you see them. Even on the weekends.
6) First impressions only come once.
7) Be efficient and “on your brand” with all of your touch points.
8) Not having experience in someone’s business is not a deal killer.
9) Listen more. Talk less.
10) Do your homework on the prospect’s competition, their leadership, and the challenges they face.
11) Proposals are to confirm goals, methods, measures, and expectations; not to convince.

About the author: Karen Post, a.k.a. The Branding Diva® is an international authority on branding, marketing, and entrepreneurial matters. She has been featured as a business expert in print publications; on TV, radio, and on Web channels. Karen authored the best-selling book Brain Tattoos, Creating Unique Brands That Stick in your Customers’ Minds and she is co-founder and CEO of Oddpodz.com.