You’ve set up a Twitter account and you know how to tweet. You’ve added a short bio and link to your primary website and created a custom background that uses your company colors or logo. 

So what do you need to do to grow and protect your brand? How can you specifically convert Twitter followers into prospects and then clients?

With my own personal experience in mind, I humbly offer the following suggestions and advice on how to make the most out of Twitter.

Start With the Basics: 6 Twitter Basics for Advisors From the Marketing Maven

1. MASTER THE 'HUMBLE BRAG’

The best way to convert Twitter followers into prospects and then clients is to provide good, educational snippets, in consistent doses, with links back to your own blog or website. Think of your website as your business hub online; make it the center of all you do. Cross-link from your website to your Twitter and other social media accounts. Always try to add an intriguing comment before the link to the core content. Ask a question or say something that piques the reader’s curiosity to get them to click the link.

Occasionally, link to credible content from third-parties such as Forbes.com, Financial-Planning.com, FPAnet.org, CFP.net or NAPFA.org. While you will be driving the viewer to a site other than your own website or blog, that’s okay because you are known by the company you keep.

The key is to add value by finding and pointing your followers to the articles. Add even more value with a short comment before the link. If you happen to be quoted in the linked articles, so much the better as you will benefit from the “halo effect.”

But be careful not to boast. To be successful on social sites, you must master the art of the humble brag.  Think of yourself as a “professional reading service,” bringing to the attention of your followers the many good articles and videos you see while going about the normal course of your day.

2. NURTURE LEADS

Employ a strategy called lead nurturing. Offer free webinars, white papers or special reports, workshops, videos and educational tips in a series format to build engagement and trust. Invite people to download a free white paper or special report that lives on your site and use Twitter to promote it, encouraging your followers to retweet and share the invitation or information with others.

Make sure you have a “capture form” to obtain visitor contact information. Explain that by filling out the form not only will they have immediate access to the special content, but that you will be sending them a series of educational videos or short articles, say, once per week for the next six weeks.

At the end of that six week “nurture marketing period”, the final email should invite the recipient to take action of some sort. It’s best to give 3-4 choices such as “Contact me to schedule my free initial consultation,” or “Please add me to your newsletter subscription list.” or “Invite me to your next workshop.”

The idea is to create interest and demonstrate your expertise on Twitter but move those with whom your message resonates over to your website or blog so that they can ask for your free white paper or educational series.

This process builds trust and positions you as an authority. After receiving the right amount of information, in a recurring non-threatening fashion, the prospect should be ready to take some sort of action, even if it’s essentially saying “I’m not ready now, but keep in touch with me from time to time – I’m not opting out just yet.”

3. TRACK AND RETARGET LEADS

Consider a strategy called retargeting, which in its most basic form serves ads to people more frequently after they have left your website. Retargeting tags email recipients and visitors to your website with a tracking cookie. It then serves display ads only to the people who have shown at least some amount of engagement with your site. Retargeting can help you stay visible if website visitors leave without signing up for your educational series.

If visitors do sign up for your special report or educational series, they will be giving you permission to send that information via email. You can also place a “cookied logo” in your email signature. When the recipient opens the email, they are tagged and will see your ads on certain sites. (Hint: you can strategically mention those sites in your email messages, on your website, on Twitter and other social sites.)

As people buzz up your content via social sites and share your good ideas via email, you create a viral spiral, which can lead to more engagement, more visibility and more business.

4. CROSS-LINK SOCIAL ACCOUNTS

Having additional digital assets for people to find and react to is a good idea. Don’t forget to cross-link all your accounts so that some cross-pollination occurs. For instance, set up and feed the following accounts:

READ MORE: 6 Twitter Basics for Advisors From the Marketing Maven

Marie Swift (@marieswift on Twitter) and her team at Impact Communications have been working with independent financial advisors and allied institutions for twenty years. While the tools have changed, the communication essentials never do. Learn more at www.ImpactCommunications.org