Free Hot Water has been on Twitter for over a year now, and we’ve certainly benefited from connecting anddeveloping relationships with other solar thermal installers andplumbers and green contractors. Not only have we found new solarinstaller customers, but we’ve also been given referrals by green-minded Tweeters who like the things we Tweet.
So, Twitter is a great way to reach a solar thermal consumers, but results aren’t instantaneous, so you have to bein it for the long haul. Here are some brief tips for reaching solar hot water consumers and building your solar brand and customerrelationships using Twitter:
1) Search. After you set up a Twitter account, use the search function to find people who are talking about solar andother green related topics. Press the “follow” button and follow them.80% of the people will follow you back. Do this over and over again, and you’ll soon have a sizable Twitter following without Tweeting much, but having an audience isn’t valuable unless you spend time engaging withthem.
2) Tweet sparingly at first. As you build your following, don’t Tweet what you had for breakfast.Instead, Tweet solar-related news items or send out a solar hot waterfact of the day or some try to dispel solar hot water myths. You’ll have to write a blog post first, and then Tweet it, however. Blogging andTwitter really do go hand in hand.
3) Listen. The reason why you’re tweeting sparingly in the beginning is so that youhave some time to listen to the people that you’re following. You’reseeing what their concerns are. If you can relate to thoseconcerns, engage with them. “Wish I had more organic groceries nearme.” You respond: “Is there a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods in yourarea?” While this isn’t solar related, you’re taking the time to careabout people who are potentially interested in solar. Down the road, you can be more direct. For now, act like you’re at a friendly cocktailparty and participate in the conversations around you. Eventually, yourfollowers will also ask you about solar hot water. Why? Because theykeep seeing your good solar Tweets. (See below.)
4) Tweet good information. Don’t try to “sell” through Twitter. Just provide useful information. Asmentioned above, the best engagement strategy is to write a blog postthat gives “how to” or other useful information. Then Tweet the blogpost headline and Tweet it with a shortened URL link, such as bitly. Remember, you only have 140 characters per Tweet, so you need to shorten your URL.
5) RT other people’s info often. Once again, you’re trying to engage and build relationshops, so “Re-Tweet”or “RT” useful information that you’re reading from your followers. They will notice, and many will return the favor by RTing your usefulinformation to THEIR followers. This is how good information can goviral with Twitter.
6) Be polite. If someone RTs your Tweet, thank that person. “Thanks for the RT!” Again,they will notice and your relationship will keep building.
7) Follow people with a lot of followers. Perhaps it’s obvious, but much of the above should be applied to green peoplewho already have a large following, especially if they follow you back.Think about it: If people with a thousand followers RT your useful solar Tweet, that means that 1000 people will see that Tweet. Then, don’tforget that those 1000 people might also RT it again, and so on, and so on.
It really is amazing how many solid “cyberrelationships” I’ve built on Twitter. They’ve been very valuable,generating both leads and sales. It hasn’t been instantaneous, but solar marketing with Twitter has been well worth it in the end. You just have to be patient and consistent.
In the meantime, follow @FreeHotWater, send a Tweet our way, and start building your own Twitter relationships.