Do people buy products from links posted on Twitter? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Twitter is rarely going to sell your products or services. But it is an unprecedented tool for selling.
To understand why, you need to look at how selling works today.
To succeed, you need to be visible, valuable, and connected. And that starts with conversations - you reaching out to key individuals to engage with them.
Twitter is the ideal place to start conversations. I think of it as an ongoing conference, 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, where people talk about what's important to them. They're allowing you, in 140 characters or less, to start a conversation with them.
And unlike with any other platform, you can reach just about anyone. Let's say you're in B2B (Business-to-Business) sales. With Twitter, you can reach out directly to a CEO whom you'd never be able to get on the phone. When you tweet them or respond to one of their tweets with your thoughts about what they shared, you get a chance to connect.
On LinkedIn, you probably hear from a lot of people who want things. But you're much less likely to respond. It's similar with Facebook. But on Twitter, when someone openly tweets you a note commenting in some positive way on your work or what you've shared, you're much more likely to write them back. In this respect, CEOs are often in the same boat. Tweets are much better at rising above the noise.
When you do hear back, try to strike up a one-on-one conversation. Invite the person to DM (Direct Message) with you so you can discuss the topic further. Connect on LinkedIn. Say, "I'd love to talk about this. Do you have time for a Skype call in the next couple of weeks?"
This also applies to potential customers. You can target people who follow your competitors on Twitter, and do paid tweets so that they see yours. That gets you in front of these consumers, and helps you drown out your competitors.
So that's the visibility. Next comes value.
Once you've built an initial line of communication, you have to demonstrate value. Show them why what you have is of value to them - not only your products or services, but also your content. Show them why reading and following you on your social channels is worth their time. Invite them to sign up for your e-newsletter.
Twitter is the perfect sign of how anyone can now brand. In previous times, only big companies could get themselves in front of audiences because only they could afford the TV ads, big newspaper ads, catalogs, etc. But now, with social media, you can build your own celebrity status.
By using Twitter to keep building connections, you can get your content in front of bigger audiences exponentially. You get it to 40 people, then some of them share it with their connections, and so on. Keep it up and eventually someone with a huge number of followers will share your content.
All of this leads to more and more connections. It works in a circle. And this process of social selling is displacing previous industry giants.
"New digital business models are the principal reason why just over half of the names of companies on the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000," Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme in a column for the World Economic Forum. The headline read, "Digital disruption has only just begun."
Thanks to smart use of social selling techniques, startups can appear; scale; get visible, valuable and connected, and become a $400 million brand. It takes drive and wisdom, but emerging companies keep showing that it can happen.
So the answer to your question is that people do not generally buy via Twitter links. (Back in 2011, a study Twitter's conversion rate was just 0.5%. It has likely gone up since then, but remains much lower than email marketing.) This just means that Twitter won't do the selling for you. No channel will do it for you.
But you can use Twitter and other tools to do what it takes to sell.
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