3 Powerful Ways to Grow Your Freelance Business With Twitter – Right Now

At the Web Copywriting Intensive in Austin, I talked to a few of the speakers and attendees about Twitter. The conversation seemed to go one of two ways …

“Oh, yeah, Twitter is a great business tool.”

Or …

“I don’t understand the point.”

If you haven’t seen it on the news or heard about it from a friend, Twitter is the newest craze in social networking.

It already has over 6 million users and is nipping at the heels of other social-networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, and even powerhouse search engines like Google.

Here’s how it works. Once you set up your Twitter account, you can start following other Twitterers. As a follower, you can see their tweets – or content updates. If they, in turn, follow you, they can see your tweets.

When Twitter was first created, it was used to share with your friends what you were doing “right now.” Like most things online (including the Internet itself), users had their own ideas on how to use it in other ways.

And while you do still see the occasional tweet that reads, “Eating a burrito for lunch,” or “Just dropped my phone in the toilet,” most updates have a much more intentional focus.

And for you, as a freelancer, Twitter provides three powerful opportunities …

1. Research

Perhaps the most powerful use of Twitter for any business is insight into what people are talking about right now. In fact, Twitter’s slogan is “See what’s happening – right now.”

Where Google results are hours or days old, Twitter search results will have been posted just minutes before.

There’s an old copywriting phrase that talks about “entering the conversation in the reader’s head.” And what better way to find out what that conversation is about than to see it for yourself?

For example, let’s say you’re writing a sales letter for a brainstorming/mind-mapping software company called Mindjet, and you want some market research on the product and the brand. You’d simply go to Twitter and do a search for the company’s name to see what people think about the product, and what phrasing they’re using to describe it.

Some search results right now for “Mindjet” are:

“For planning, Mindjet is handy for diagramming as you brainstorm. Not cheap though. Maybe an open source equivalent exists.”
“I agree that MM Mac’s future is unclear. Mindjet is definitely focusing on the PC version, and (sadly, in this case) the cloud.”
“If you like MindNode, you’ll love Mindjet MindManager. But neither is a full replacement for PersonalBrain IMO.”

If you were writing the sales letter for a new Mindjet product, how valuable would just these few results be? You know what people are saying about the product, how they’re using it, and which competitors’ products they’re considering.

And if you wanted to talk directly to any of these people about their experience, you could!

2. Get Real Answers

Let’s say you have a question that you need to answer quickly. Your first instinct is to open up a search engine like Google or Yahoo and type in a few keywords.

That approach usually works pretty well. But you’re not asking a person. You’re asking a computer to run your keywords through a complex algorithm and deliver results that are, mathematically speaking, the most relevant.

Math, no matter how sophisticated, doesn’t beat a human mind. And Twitter is a collection of people.

You type in a question and post it on Twitter, wait 10 seconds, and more often than not, at least one of your followers will give you an answer. And more times than not, you’ll get more than one answer.

Unlike Google search results that get less and less relevant the further you get from number one, every Twitter response will be a human answer to your question. No offense to the geniuses at Google, but real people answer questions better.

3. Expand Your Influence

Unlike starting an email list from scratch, it’s never been so easy to gain followers or to build trust with them. On Twitter, users are constantly looking for new people to follow. And when you’re being fed into people’s Twitter streams, you have a unique opportunity to prove your credentials.

If you’re genuinely helpful on Twitter, or if you can show you really know what you’re talking about, people will respect you and look forward to your tweets.

When your followers like something you said, they’ll “retweet” you, or quote you in their own tweets. This exposes you to their network of followers who, if they also like what you said, will begin following you and spreading your message to their followers. See how it works?

Bonus Opportunities on Twitter …

In just about 3 months on Twitter, I’ve gained 540 followers. That number is still growing. When I started, I was growing by 1 or 2 followers a day … but because of the way Twitter works, I’m now gaining an average of 7 followers a day.

A good portion of the people who I follow, and of those who are following me, are other freelance copywriters. I’ve even connected with one Twitterer/copywriter who suggested we work on a joint project.

Twitter is also an easy way to drive targeted traffic to your blog or a website. A month after I joined Twitter, I began posting links to one of my websites every time a new article went up.

In just over 30 days I increased my daily traffic by 300%.

As a freelance writer, you can’t jump on every new platform that comes along. One of your most valuable skills is managing your time wisely. Twitter can offer an amazing ROI for your time. But remember, like everything else in business, it’s absolutely critical to go in with a plan.

Write down two or three goals before you sign up for your Twitter account. Those goals might be …

  1. “Increase my website traffic.”

  2. “Find potential joint venture partners.”

  3. “Learn what people are talking about – right now.”

And remember … one of the easiest ways to become successful at something is to imitate successful people who are already doing it.

Once you sign up for your Twitter account, here are two people you’ll want to follow:

You can even follow AWAI at www.twitter.com/awai_online.

And if you’re interested, you’ll find me at www.twitter.com/henrybing.

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Published: April 8, 2009

5 Responses to “3 Powerful Ways to Grow Your Freelance Business With Twitter – Right Now”

  1. Excellent description of Twitter, what it is and is not, and how it can be used in our businesses. NOW I'll become a Twitterer! Thanks.

    LifepainterApril 8, 2009 at 1:13 pm

  2. What does this mean: "Twitter is also an easy way to drive targeted traffic to your blog or a website. A month after I joined Twitter, I began posting links to one of my websites every time a new article went up."?

    Does it mean that the "tweet" is an "article"? Or that you put an article on your website and then "tweeted" about it and included your website URL in the "tweet"?

    Tom WApril 8, 2009 at 2:19 pm

  3. I'm on Twitter but like you pointed out, don't really get it all that much. Not yet, but I'm hanging in there to get the idea and use of it.

    Penny - North Dallas area

    pmwriterMay 23, 2009 at 9:33 am

  4. I just signed up on Twitter and I'm not clear on how to get people to follow me...do I send them a tweet asking them to follow me? How is it done?

    Thanks for any and all help!

    KristinAugust 14, 2012 at 1:17 pm

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