Let me share a bit of brilliant marketing with you. The Binghamton, NY area has been without a bigbox electronics store since Circuit City went bankrupt and closed their local store earlier this year. So when it was announced that a new Best Buy was coming to town, more than a few hallelujahs could be heard around these parts. Fast forward a few months, and the new Best Buy building located on the Vestal Parkway is now almost done. I don’t know when the official opening is scheduled, but every time I pass by the store, it looks more and more like it will open very soon.
Imagine my surprise a few days ago when I got a “follow” on my Twitter account by @VestalBestBuy, the official Twitter account for our soon-to-open store. Let me tell you why this is brilliant and savvy marketing. Someone at the Vestal Best Buy (either headquarters or perhaps the local manager) searches for people who use Twitter in our area, and “follows” them. When you “follow” someone on Twitter, the followee receives a notice via email that you have followed. Most people will check the profile of the person following to see if they are legitimate, and if so, will follow them back as a courtesy. By doing this, @VestalBestBuy has, in essence, tapped people like me on the shoulder (in a non-offensive way) to say, “Hey, notice me.” If people follow back, Best Buy then has a way, with permission, to present their messages to the people following them. One of the most important messages for @VestalBestBuy will be the grand opening!
If I were the savvy marketers at the Vestal Best Buy, I would feed my Twitter stream with special offers–maybe even a Twitter-only reception prior to the grand opening. It would be a fascinating experiment to see how much word of mouth Twitter could drive in a local market. My guess is that such a reception would be mobbed.
Using Twitter to Generate Sales
Here’s an easy action plan for businesses, large or small, or even for individual salespeople, to leverage Twitter in generatating sales:
1. Create a Twitter account if you haven’t already. It’s easy to do: Twitter.com
2. Start “tweeting” (posting short messages, no longer than 140 characters). What should you post? Link to articles and web resources that your prospects and customers will find useful. Not necessarily items from your own industry. Think about your prospects’ pain points, needs, problems and passtimes. Do not post things like “Heading to the shower.” TMI folks, TMI.
3. After (and only after) you have at least a dozen good tweets, start following people. Where do you find them? To locate people in your geography, use http://search.twitter.com. Click on Advanced Search, input a ZIP code and adjust how far from that ZIP you want to search for users. Viola! You’ll see a list of tweets and twitterers (the people who authored the tweets). You can now click and subscribe to peoples’ Twitter streams, which is called “following.” Many of them will follow you back, and when they do, you will have established a community or “tribe” as Seth Godin calls it.
A few more ideas on finding people to follow: If you’re in retail, have a signup form at the checkout counter, ask people to leave their Twitter name and perhaps their email address. If you’re a salesperson, ask your prospects and customers for their Twitter name when you talk with them. And any time you receive an email, check the signature block of the person sending it–sometimes they will insert their Twitter name.
Once you have a Twitter tribe receiving your brief messages, in time those messages will inspire confidence and familiarity, and eventually, trust. People buy from people they like and trust. Become a person other people trust by using Twitter, and you’ll generate revenue for your efforts. The Vestal Best Buy understands it–which is why their use of Twitter is brilliant.