Author | Marketer | Speaker

I help companies turn data, ideas and relationships into reach and influence. 

Three Excuses Keeping You From Selling to Your Twitter Friends

Fill in the blank: I don’t sell to my Twitter friends because _______.

Excuse 1: It’s not effective!

Why this is an excuse:

Certain platforms are more conducive to sales than others, but this is only part of the larger truth. Spamming the hell out of Twitter followers with an orgy of links is not the way to convert your “friends” to clients, even if it were effective (which it’s not).

There are other, far better ways to reach out to people you’ve met through Twitter who will benefit from your product or service. One of them is called the telephone. Our various online networks are the starting points of the relationships we create, but these platforms should never hinder the development of these relationships. And 140 characters is cute and all, but it’s a serious barrier to dialogue.

If you’re not finding success with your Twitter sales efforts, do blame the messenger (yourself). But don’t sweat it! Find another way of approaching your contacts with something of value and you’ll be rewarded with elevated relationships and serious revenue.

Excuse 2: It’s not appropriate!

Why this is an excuse:

If anything’s inappropriate, it’s your attitude, approach and/or expectations. Nobody’s telling you to act like the annoying wedding guest that tries to get everyone signed up for Amway. Well, maybe that guy would tell you to do that. But I’m not that guy. I hate that guy.

What you’re selling is face-meltingly awesome, right? If no, you shouldn’t be selling it. If yes, ditch your hang-ups about approaching Twitter friends. You’re putting something in front of them that will help them. Don’t expect them to always embrace you for this, but know that rejection is nothing personal and it feels a lot better when you truly believe it’s their loss. Don’t approach people that have no use for what you’re slinging. That should go without saying.

Think of the Twitterverse like a traditional networking event. Another guy no one likes is the guy that loves to hear himself talk about his business and pitches everyone within seconds of meeting them. But most of the time, it’s well received if you follow up with the contacts you made at the event. In fact, it’s often expected. The truth is, we’re not there yet with Twitter. People don’t expect the same level of follow up. So freakin’ what? If we limit our actions to stay within perceived boundaries and norms that have little or no justification, we can say bye-bye to innovation, entrepreneurship and societal progress in general.

Start your relationships without thinking ahead to any sales-oriented agenda, and they’ll evolve much more organically. You’ll know when the time is right to reach out, but it’s never going to be 100% comfortable, or always the best course to take with every contact. Such is the nature of sales, but you know that by now, right?

Excuse 3: It’s against the rules!

Why this is an excuse:

Because it’s not true!  Twitter’s TOS and even Rules documentation make no mention of contacting Twitter users by other means.

The Spam & Abuse section describes only the following as being verboten:

-Using serial accounts

-Name squatting / selling of names

-Invitation spam via Twitter’s address book import feature


-Spam (too much to include here, but see for yourself that extra-Twitter contact is not considered spam by viewing their definition in the Rules).

Twitter’s official rules are the only ones germane to this discussion, and anyone arguing that there are any other rules should be immediately unfollowed for their boring, seemingly-authoritarian view of new media. Or pitied, if you’re feeling charitable.

Stay classy, stay genuine, stay focused.

Twitter doesn’t give you an excuse to be a sleaze. Good salespeople are as professional and amiable while using Twitter and the phone as they are “in real life”.

Twitter does give us the opportunity to provide our contacts, including those we’d like to sell things to, a more complete representation of ourselves. Be yourself (“Be 3D”), and everything else is easier.

Focus and being active on Twitter might seem mutually exclusive, but that’s amateur-hour thinking. Tweet with intent, gusto and big goals in mind. The platform can be whatever you’d like it to be. Make it a jet pack, not a pogo stick.

© 2016 Ian Greenleigh