The imposter syndrome is rampant when it comes to producing case studies.
You feel uncomfortable putting out there because your fear tells you that this doesn’t deserve to be a case study.
Most of the case studies out there are actually manipulated. I, however, want to talk about a case study, in which I might have not achieved huge numbers, but I figured out a different way of doing things.
Back in 2013, in my first job, I was given the responsibility of handling the Social Media activities of an e-commerce client.
This client was in the business of selling ‘Tea leaves’ and ‘Teawares’ to the people in the US and Canada.
The challenge here was that despite being bootstrapped and having very minimal Marketing budgets, the client was hoping to build a fan following on Social Media.
For the context of this case study, I want to focus on how we approached Twitter.
The struggle here was real.
- Back then, Twitter ads had not been rolled out in India
- Even if indulging Twitter ads would have been possible, the client would have never been able to afford them.
And so the question was, how to build relationships on Twitter?
Let’s start by defining the target market –
We were looking to reach out to the Tea-drinkers in the US and Canada. Or more specifically, the target market consisted of the tea experts, tea connoisseurs; basically people who were keen on exploring new varieties of tea who were staying in the US and Canada.
Okay, so now how do we reach them? How do we find them and connect with them?
The first step was finding them on Twitter.
Now, the Twitter search allows you to search for specific keywords, in a specific location.
So I could have gone ahead with searching for hashtags like #teadrinker #tealover and so on.
However, I had a better idea.
I decided to do a Twitter Bio search.
What is a Twitter bio?
If you are not aware, Twitter bio is the section on your Twitter profile, in which you typically introduce yourself on Twitter.
My Twitter bio for example says –
A Marketing teacher who is exploring meditation. I am a hugely philosophical, music lover and a terrible guitar player…
Why Twitter bio?
Because if someone puts the keyword like tea-drinker or tea-expert in their Twitter bio, it is a testament to the fact that they are really interested in tea!
In terms of interest, these guys are miles ahead of someone who merely tweets something like “Hey, I just had green tea and I loved it!”
Low hanging fruits.
It’s better to reach out to someone who is already enrolled in the journey.
I used this tool known as Manageflitter to search the relevant accounts on Twitter. Manageflitter provided a free feature, that gave me an option to narrow down my search results, by using the location filter. As of today, Manageflitter is a paid tool.
Okay, so now that the approach to reach them has been figured out…
How do we start reaching out to them?
This is the tricky part.
Most of the businesses on Twitter, or on most of the mediums for that matter, when they reach out to their target market, they immediately start selling and promoting themselves.
While, I am a big fan of selling, as there is fundamentally nothing wrong with it, the context matters. If you are simply going to go to a user and say something like, “Hey I sell the best oolong tea. Do you want to buy one?”, you are assuming that the user wants to buy from you!
But what if they don’t want to buy from you?
This approach on Twitter is very similar to the cold-calling approach.
I decided to avoid it. Interruption based Marketing doesn’t work anymore.
Instead, I decided to create relationships.
So when I found someone on Twitter using Manageflitter’s bio search feature, I studied their profile. I spent some time understanding them.
So if I came across the Twitter profile of a blogger who loves tea, I would go and read one of her articles (When I say ‘read’, I actually mean skimming through the article for 3 minutes or more.). After this, I used to then craft a very personalized tweet for her, which referenced the article that she had written. The fact that I cared about what she wrote, itself used to be a tremendous catalyst in creating a relationship between the brand and that author.
When I talk about this strategy with others, I get a lot of pushback.
People find that this method is not ‘scalable’.
“It takes too much time.”, they say.
This upsets me.
This upsets me because it’s very clear that you are using social media, not to create relationships with people. You are looking at people, as just ‘likes’ and ‘followers’. You are looking at them as a commodity.
Think of Gary Vaynerchuck. Gary has been successful in building a huge following on Twitter. He did not build this fan following, by being spammy. He did so, by spending a lot of time on Twitter. He gave personalized responses to everyone who reached out to him.
Anyway, so what was the result?
The people out there started loving the way the brand was talking to them. They liked the fact that the brand was not trying to sell them anything in the first interaction… and that the brand instead was giving respect and indulging in conversations.
Within a span of 3 months, we could amass 550 extremely relevant followers on Twitter.
Quality, not quantity matters.
Relationship matters. It’s time brands treat people with respect.