For me, calculating the value of my Twitter followers is easy: I keep a record of every client who has found me on Twitter and add up their lifetime values.
Oh, right – I get clients directly from Twitter. That’s important.
It’s actually one of my main forms of marketing for my business as a SaaS consultant, along with frequent guest posts and regular activity in industry forums like GrowthHackers.com, ProductHunt, and Inbound.org.
Twitter, guest posts, and forum interactions are all part of the ecosystem of my marketing plan – like a tank full of sea monkeys.
Together, and with the help of some amazing mentors I met on Twitter, they’ve helped me forge a reputation in my fields.
But let’s look at the other part of the puzzle of gaining paying clients through Twitter — your ideal clients have to be on Twitter.
In SaaS, Growth Hacking, and Inbound Marketing communities, Twitter is a central hub of industry communication. We’re all there, chatting away, every day. That is not true for all industries and types of businesses.
How to calculate the value of your Twitter followers
For most businesses and entrepreneurs, the relation between Twitter followers and ROI is less clear-cut. But that doesn’t mean you can’t calculate the ROI of Twitter. If you’re investing time into social media for business purposes, you have to measure the results – time is money.
One mistake I see even the smartest, savviest people make is to try to link every Twitter action with a specific desired outcome. For example, this Hubspot post recommends “tracking the path of a user who clicks on a link in a tweet, visits a page on your website, completes a form on a landing page to become a lead, and, ultimately, converts into a customer,” which allows you to directly attribute customers to your Twitter efforts.
Some of my Twitter followers never (or rarely) come to my website. The vast majority of our interactions happen on Twitter, and maybe eventually, when they’re ready to hire me as their consultant, they click on my website. If I were to measure the ROI of my time on Twitter by the number of people who clicks a link, lands on my page, and completes a form… the results might not look good!
I also think that the “path tracking” method of ROI calculation leads to a philosophy of posting that is too self-serving to work. After all, if success is measured by the number of people clicking a link that leads directly to your site, you aren’t incentivized to share other people’s content, or even have conversations outside of the services you offer.
That’s like showing up to a party and setting up a PowerPoint presentation. Nobody wants to see that!
The right way to calculate ROI of your Twitter followers will vary, since every business and every population of “ideal clients” is a little different.
But here are a few metrics to track that I believe have value for just about everyone — even if they’re considered to be vanity metrics, because of what I mentioned above.
Number of *qualified* Twitter followers
What matters more than having a high number of followers?
Having a high number of followers who are within your target demographic (or are interesting to your target demographic). TribeBoost makes it easy to build a high-quality following – they essentially do it for you. It’s a shortcut I recommend to everyone.
Number of retweets, comments, and interactions
Essentially, by measuring each interaction, you’re measuring engagement with your content. The more engaged people are, the more likely they are to eventually buy from you (if they haven’t already) and recommend you (if they are current or past clients).
Number of retweets
Treat this like a litmus test of how much people value your content, and tweak your content curation accordingly. What types of content are people most likely to share?
The more people share, the wider your reach, and the larger the pool of potential clients. However, this does not mean you should share only viral memes.
Sure, they’ll catch like wildfire and are fun in moderation, but they’re not very useful for impressing future clients with your knowledge and wisdom. (Also, see my criticism of Influencer Marketing.)
Basically, you have to find the right people, engage with them regularly, and understand how to build a genuine connection with them. That is my foundation, and this is how I’ve cultivated those followers into paying clients.
How I’ve cultivated a growing crop of clients using Twitter – in 5 Easy Steps
1.) TribeBoost helps me find and follow people who are likely to be interested in my content, saving me hours upon hours of time finding and following people to grow my follower base. Money well spent. I read a quote by Michael Hyatt that captures the chemistry of how “strategic following” works:
“Practice strategic following… By this I mean, follow people in your industry, people who use certain keywords in their bio, or even people who follow the people you follow. Some of these will follow you back. If they retweet you, it will introduce you to their followers.”
2.) There are different types of Twitter feeds. On mine, I choose to curate the best content I find around the internet – only the most interesting and innovative posts and articles make the cut. Other people treat Twitter like a cocktail party, and they’re there to entertain, chat, and make jokes. And some people combine the two. One of my favorite Tweeters to follow is science fiction writer Saladin Ahmed who combines his signature chat style with curation. Ultimately, do what feels natural to you – but always respond to your Tweets!
3.) I curate between 30 to 50 pieces of genuinely useful and interesting content a day on my Twitter account (using Buffer, so I don’t have to worry about scheduling) and I always make sure to tag the content creators. This often leads to great conversations (not to mention the occasional friendships, mentoring and joint business ventures). And I’m not counting retweets in that tally. I do a lot of retweets.
4.) Don’t be afraid to let your personality, and even politics, come through on your feed (in moderation). I don’t share everything on Twitter, but I do share what is important to me, like topics on diversity in tech. When you post what you’re passionate about, people notice.
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) February 23, 2016
5.) It’s okay to ask for what you want – directly. I’ll often post something along the lines of “Hey, are you looking for a SaaS consultant?” and pin it to the top of my feed. The vast majority of my posts aren’t about me at all.
Any questions? You can ask me on Twitter @NikkiElizDemere – I’ll be happy to answer them.