In the old days when things got quiet, I simply picked up the phone and made a few calls to stir up new business. I also had a list of companies I wanted to work with and would cold call them. Today it’s just endless voicemails with no returned calls – people are just too busy.

Until a few years ago, I sent cold emails to prospects but with the spam filters now they either aren’t received or received but ignored because of the barrage of emails that people get. So what’s the solution?

Connect by sending a direct Tweet

A few years ago, I decided to figure out a way to use Twitter to connect with people I didn’t know. I was looking for strategic partners for my business – people who would be referral sources. I started by doing my research on LinkedIn. I don’t generally send LinkedIn messages to people I don’t know because they often get ignored or missed. When I knew who I want to connect with, I found him on Twitter and start to follow him. I watched his content for a little while so I knew we’re aligned and then I sent him a direct Tweet: 

Hi Ken, I’d love talk to you about an opportunity that might interest you.

Ken sent me a direct Tweet back:

“What’s it about?”

Then I wrote:

Hard to say in a Tweet. What’s your email address?

He gave me his email address and I emailed him a few sentences about the opportunity. He was interested and we set up a call. Ken and I have been doing work together for 3 years now! I’ve done this a number of times. Not everyone answers and sometimes people write back that they’re too busy right now but I have made some great connections this way.  

I could have picked up the phone first and “cold called” Ken. Left him a message and probably never heard back but I started a casual conversation on Twitter instead. I’m sure that Ken went to my website and checked me out before he agreed to get on the phone so make sure you have a clear message and a good website that delivers your message in a compelling way before you start these initiatives. You can use this strategy to contact prospects, strategic partners or referral sources. The key to making this strategy work is to say something that will peak the person’s interest. Use a problem that you know your prospect has to get their attention. Here are some examples:

If you’d like your boutique hotel to stay fully booked, we should connect. (Problem: Boutique hotels have difficulty staying booked)

If your legacy brand has lost its edge, we should connect. (Problem many legacy brands today have lost traction)

In summary, Twitter is a great tool for making connections to people you don’t know. Make sure you’re clear with yourself about your intentions and that you have something compelling to say.