5 Advanced Twitter Lead Generation Tips

If you tweet regularly, use image and videos often, and socialize more than you sell, you can generate a lot of leads on Twitter. You should also use plenty of keywords and hashtags you want to be found for in your Twitter bio. You need to generate an engaging cover photo that includes a call to action, and you should be tweeting, retweeting and interacting with your followers and prospects daily.Those tried-and-true but simple tactics work well to build an email list or prospect pool. When you want to harness the full lead-capture ability of Twitter, you need to use some proven advanced tactics. The following Twitter lead-generation tips and strategies are the ones the pros use every day to maximize their efforts on the world’s second-largest social media site.1 – Approach Lead-Generation Tweets DifferentlyIf you are just tweeting for engagement, you can create some catchy text, a hashtag or two, an image, and you are ready to go. When you attempt to use tweets to create leads, you have to take a little different approach if you want your efforts to succeed.Lead-gen tweets deliver the best results when they are simple and straightforward. Make them as short as possible, and don’t worry about using all your allotted characters. The attention span of web surfers is short and is getting shorter all the time. When your message is to the point, and you have a clear call to action (CTA), like a link to your email opt-in page, you will get better performance than a long update that is ambiguous and unclear.Use the link-shortening website bit.ly to make your actionable link as short as possible. If your clickable link is awkward and ugly, this can actually lower your click through rate. Don’t include multiple mentions or links. Just 1 CTA, clear direction about what to do, a catchy image and a short message combine to make a high-performance lead-gen tweet.2 – Try Twitter CardsTwitter has a feature that is custom-made for generating leads. Twitter Lead Generation Cards work so well because they allow you to add people to your email list or prospect pool without them having to leave Twitter. People on social media sites are there to hang out and socialize. They don’t always like the idea of being removed from their favorite social media hangout.

Twitter Cards, among other excellent features, have the ability to generate leads without your prospects feeling as if they are being routed through some sales funnel. As Twitter states:- “With Twitter Cards, you can attach rich photos, videos, and media experience to Tweets that drive traffic to your website. Simply add a few lines of HTML to your web page, and users who Tweet links to your content will have a ‘Card’ added to the Tweet that’s visible to all their followers.”This means a Twitter user, whether they are a follower of yours or not, can join your email newsletter, buy a product or service, download an application or perform some other actions without moving off their Twitter feed. This makes them feel comfortable, not like they are being sold to or manipulated.The fewer steps a prospect must take for you to get them to take the required action, the higher your odds of making the conversion you seek. There are 8 different Twitter Cards, and each of them offers different lead-gen properties. Buffer has created a Twitter Card primer to help get you started.3 – Twitter’s Search Box Can Be Used To Generate Content IdeasTwitter moves a mile a minute, especially when you have a large group of followers. The average tweet stays on-screen approximately 30 seconds, and if your followers are active, it may not even last that long. This means it is crucial to link your tweets to topics and subjects that are driving engagement right now.You can use Twitter’s search feature to discover what topics are currently red-hot. Then you simply come up with a clever way to attach your call to action, tweet topic or lead-generating link to subjects that are getting a lot of action. Take the following steps to come up with fresh ideas about what to tweet about, while also using trending topics to improve your click through rate and lead-gen success.

Go to Twitter Search

Across the bottom of the way, you will see several hashtags, words, and phrases listed under a section titled “Trends for You.”

These are the trending topics which are lighting up the Twitterverse. Find one that relates to your industry or niche, or one of the red-hot topics that you can somehow relate to your message.

You can also search for an industry keyword, hashtag or phrase you are trying to be found for, and see what people are saying about it right now. You need to heed a word of warning here. Blindly attaching your tweet to an irrelevant topic, even though it is popular right now, can do more than good.

4 – Use Twitter Advanced SearchYou just learned an advanced tactic for using Twitter’s basic search feature to generate leads. Now you are going to step up your game, using a veteran tactic that harnesses even more power from Twitter search.This an excellent targeting feature which allows you to see anyone that is currently on Twitter who matches a set of selection data you enter. A London-based company could immediately target other Twitter users in London, and you can also look for people who made specific statements or asked particular questions.Head over to https://goo.gl/rblFK.Enter your search term. For example, you can look for people who have searched for “I need a London, SEO specialist.” You can then add date ranges to keep your data relevant and updated, and filter according to specific Twitter accounts. You can also limit your results to negative or positive input, retweets, questions and other information. Use this feature to find any and every tweet mentioning your username or the username of industry leaders in your field.5 – Schedule and Automate Your TweetsAs a business owner, you have a lot to do. If you are a one man or one woman operation, like so many Internet entrepreneurs and coffee-table business owners, you may find it harder than most to create the free time needed for your Twitter lead-gen tasks. Unlike some other social media networks, Twitter requires that you continually post content, if your marketing efforts are going to pay off. You will find that 5 to 10 tweets each day, spread out over an 8 to 12-hour time-frame, will provide the biggest bang for your lead-gen buck.Beginners to Twitter often find this daunting.One way to ensure you are regularly and consistently posting content is to do so on your smart phone. It only takes a few seconds to retweet the content of others, mention a particular user, or create and publish a brand-new tweet. However, even if you are pretty quick at tweeting and interacting with others on Twitter, your time investment can still add up.

That’s why you should consider using the following Twitter automation tools to schedule your tweeting and lead-generation efforts for you. They allow you to schedule new updates and republish your most popular content for dates and times in the future. This means a once a week you could spend an hour or so creating and scheduling your Twitter content delivery, and then the following software suites and applications take care of the process for you on autopilot.

CoSchedule – This marketing calendar does more than just allow you to schedule your updates on Twitter and other social media sites. Their editorial calendar gives you the ability to plan your social updates for immediate delivery or schedule them for later. Also, you can publish at those times which have proven to provide maximum interaction, and you can upload large amounts of updates and previous tweets to be republished on a regular schedule.

Buffer – This is one of the most popular social media management applications. You can handle your Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts from one dashboard. With this app, it is easy to plan the delivery of your updates for a later time, including videos and images.

Social Oomph – Put simply, this is an effective social media scheduling tool. It works with Twitter and other popular social media networks, allowing you to monitor and track mentions, retweets, keywords, hashtags and other data. It has a built-in linkshortener, so you have more room in your tweet for your message, rather than a link.

PostPlanner – You can tell from the name exactly what this application does. Instead of just planning and scheduling your content for you, which is evident from the name, you can additionally use this app to find out what keywords and hashtags are generating the most interest. One of many nice features is that PostPlanner knows the best time to post, and it will automatically share and retweet great content.

Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring - Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing - A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) - This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

  • It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
  • Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
  • Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
  • It may provide the business with access to more capital.
  • It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.

It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?