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Cold Tweeting: Are You Doing It Wrong?

It’s inevitable that with the rise of social media, businesses will have to think of new ways to reach out to potential customers and market themselves. Cold calling is a common sales technique in the offline world, but what’s its equivalent in the Digital Age?
Cold emails and cold tweeting are often considered to be the online counterparts, but in this post, I want to focus on the latter and why you might be doing it wrong.
Cold tweets can deliver great results. With my own eyes I’ve seen them lead to direct sales, referrals and positive reviews. But they can also bring you trouble if you don’t put some effort into them and if you make these dreadful mistakes:

1. Tweeting people out of the blue.

This may sound strange especially since cold tweeting is defined as spontaneously tweeting someone whom you don’t know. But you don’t necessarily have first to build a whole relationship with the intended recipient of your tweet. You should, however, at least engage with a few of their tweets first (and not just retweets/hearts, but replies that contribute or add value to the original tweet).
Also, try to do some quick research on what kind of a person they are. For example, if you come across a quirky or non-conventional Twitter bio, tweet to them in a manner that their brand will click with.

2. Automating your cold tweets. 

I used to manage the social media accounts of a small company, and the owners insisted on sending out horribly robotic tweets to influencers in the business.
One impersonal, spammy-sounding tweet went out to a high-profile individual who had millions of followers. His (public) reply was indignant to say the least, and was retweeted by many of his followers. Obviously we, as the tweeters, did not come out of this looking good. And that was just one response to this marketing tactic. Many others called us out on the automated—and sometimes irrelevant—tweets. Automated cold tweets are almost never good. Several things can go wrong:

  • The Twitter handle/user may change or no longer exist, rendering your tweet useless and yet still public for the online world to see.
  • Some automation tools customize tweets by using the user’s first name on their profile, e.g. “Hi [insert name here]…” The problem with this is that many people don’t always list their first or preferred names correctly.
  • Similarly, automation tools can also customize tweets according to the user’s location. Since people don’t always list specific or legitimate locations, you could end up sending a cold tweet like this: “Hi there! How’s the weather in Mars?”

3. Jumping into a sales pitch.

Yes, you only have 140 characters to make your first point, but don’t use these to blatantly advertise your products or services. Use your first cold tweet to either introduce yourself, ask an insightful question, or offer something of value to that particular person or business—like a helpful tip.
And at all costs, avoid those cringeworthy “Hi there!! Check out my useless new ebook and download it for free here: http://bogustweets.com.”
Remember that people can spot a salesy tweet (even when you attempt to disguise it) a mile away. Similarly, don’t blast out the same tweet to multiple users at once. You will get found out and be branded a spammer.

Which cold tweeting mistakes have we left out? Let us know in the comments…

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