Don’t assume this is like similar advice you’ve seen until you’ve seen my secret to making this work! But here’s the one step:
1. Search for people who need help and help them.
Easy, right? However, there is a real secret to making this work that I’ve shared at the end of this post.
How can this make me money?
Search for people who are looking for recommendations of things to buy and give them a recommendation via an affiliate link (where you earn a commission if they buy). Or if you have a business, search for people who are looking for the goods or services you provide and help them.
I originally wrote this advice to a client just for how to find people to help, but I learned later they were using it almost exclusively to find people to sell things to, so I decided to modify this post so I could include this warning: If you send lots of tweets to people trying to sell stuff, you can be suspended as a spammer.
Don”t overdo it. Don’t just throw links out there with a sales pitch. Be conversational, ask questions and be helpful. Don’t repeat the same tweet over and over to different people. Most important, realize that people DON’T want to hear a sales pitch as a result of something they tweeted. (You might also like “7 Insanely Useful Ways to Search Twitter for Marketing“.)
How can this make me popular?
Answer questions that people are asking. Particularly, find people asking about things that you are most knowledgeable about. But on Twitter, it’s always good to find people with Twitter questions that you can answer and answer them! Everyone with some Twitter experience knows something worth sharing. I even have a page on this blog specifically devoted to people tweeting us questions about Twitter.
The better the search you do, the better the result, and I’ve discovered that even among internet geeks, very few people know how to do a really good search, so I’m going to share a few advanced searches. And, get this: by using Google, you can do searches that actually cost money if you try to do them elsewhere. Google pays to see all tweets, then lets you use their awesome search capability to dig through them.
I can sometimes find a new question as often every two minutes by doing searches such as what I’ll demonstrate for you. That’s hundreds a day! Yes, not every tweet is going to be a question worth answering, but this is still an awesome tool.
Start by experimenting with this Twitter search.
Building your own search
- Notice in the middle of the left-hand column there are two choices under “Anywhere:” Nearby, and Custom location. These are particularly great for local businesses, of course, but sometimes there are events happening in particular areas that you may want to connect with people about. Experiment, as not every kind of location entry will produce a result.
- Change the word “Twitter” to whatever you want to search about. Here’s an example search for “t-shirts” instead.
- Remove terms you don’t want to see. For example, here is the t-shirt search with the terms “printing” and “printer” removed.
- Search only for people using variations of “anyone recommend.” This will tend to show many fewer questions, but they will tend to be more what you are looking for. Here’s an example.
NOTE: Type your own search terms into Google (copy from the query above) when ready to use these searches. Starting from the links I provide can sometimes make Google search act wonky as you move forward or backward in time. Best to type (or copy/paste) the terms into Google yourself.
The most typical kind of search simply includes a question mark “?” and a keyword, such as this Twitter search for restaurant questions. Experimenting with question mark searches can bring up many more questions, but also many more irrelevant ones. But if you don’t mind doing the work of sorting through them, this will bring you even more results.
When I was new to Twitter, I spent a lot of time doing search like this to find people with Twitter questions I could help. Now I get so many inbound questions I don’t have much time to search for people with questions anymore. But I still do from time to time. Everyone should! It’s very easy, and takes only a small amount of time.
For businesses, I tested this one day by responding to everyone who was looking for a product recommendation over a 12 hour period. My wife and I researched each question and found a product on Amazon.com we could link to. It was a lot of work, but I do several question-answering tests of various kinds throughout the year anyway.
The result? We made two sales. Since I’m not on Twitter myself to make money, this is not something I want to do with my time, but as a proof of concept, it worked. We made money. But, a warning: work very, very hard at being friendly and conversational instead of using a sales approach. Remember the warning about not being a spammer! I said things such as
- “Have you ever tried [link]?”
- “Something I saw that might interest you might be be [link]”
- “Did you find anything yet? Did you look at [link]?”
- “Something I use is [link]” (only when this was true)