Free Hot Water has been on Twitter for over a year now, and we’ve certainly benefited from connecting and developing relationships with other solar thermal installers and plumbers and green contractors. Not only have we found new solar installer 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 be in it for the long haul. Here are some brief tips for reaching solar hot water consumers and building your solar brand and customer relationships using Twitter:
1) Search. After you set up a Twitter account, use the search function to find people who are talking about solar and other 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 with them.
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 water fact 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 and Twitter really do go hand in hand.
3) Listen. The reason why you’re tweeting sparingly in the beginning is so that you have some time to listen to the people that you’re following. You’re seeing what their concerns are. If you can relate to those concerns, engage with them. “Wish I had more organic groceries near me.” You respond: “Is there a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods in your area?” While this isn’t solar related, you’re taking the time to care about people who are potentially interested in solar. Down the road, you can be more direct. For now, act like you’re at a friendly cocktail party and participate in the conversations around you. Eventually, your followers will also ask you about solar hot water. Why? Because they keep seeing your good solar Tweets. (See below.)
4) Tweet good information. Don’t try to “sell” through Twitter. Just provide useful information. As mentioned above, the best engagement strategy is to write a blog post that gives “how to” or other useful information. Then Tweet the blog post 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 useful information to THEIR followers. This is how good information can go viral 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 people who 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’t forget that those 1000 people might also RT it again, and so on, and so on.
It really is amazing how many solid “cyber relationships” 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.