2012 will be the year for businesses of all sizes to seriously acknowledge social media.

Business owners now have an exceptionally powerful and proven marketing tool to add to their portfolio – Twitter!

As we all know Twitter is one of the largest social networks in the world and if you take the time to create and shape a strategy that integrates with your other marketing methods you will certainly reap the benefits.

To understand how marketing with Twitter brings business success can be a daunting prospect if you are not familiar with the nuances of Twitter and it definitely pays to get it right.

Unfortunately most companies are missing out on this opportunity simply because they have not taken the time to understand how Twitter can work for their business.

In his book  “The Tao of Twitter” Mark Schaefer says “I have studied, observed and written about hundreds of different success stories through Twitter and the social web and they all have one common formula running through them.  This is truly the path, the way, the Tao of Twitter.”  

He goes on to describe the business benefits of Twitter as being created through three elements  – one of these is “Authentic Helpfulness.”

In the case studies below I demonstrate how all of these connections have occurred through ‘authentic helpfulness’.

In all cases there was never a pitch for business and no sales page to convert leads.

The connections were made through the genuine desire to offer valuable information to educate and help other business owners understand how they too can reach out to find potential business and partnerships using social media.

As Schaefer says “Content is the new currency of the social web and sharing valuable information is the catalyst to forming new relationships and business partnerships”.

A lot of businesses are not interested in devoting time and resources to an activity where they can’t measure a return on their investment.  While it is difficult to accurately measure the tangible benefits of  marketing with Twitter, read on to see three different real life examples of how Twitter has been the catalyst for gaining valuable client connections simply by sharing information through authentic helpfulness.

Cast Study 1 – a very powerful example of Twitter working behind the scenes making subliminal connections that you are unaware of until one day someone takes the next step with a phone call…

A Marketing Communications Consultant had been following our “tweets” for several months (unbeknownst to us) and one day a few months back he sent us an email asking to chat.  He said he liked how we operated on Twitter and enjoyed the compelling content we shared and wanted to see if we could help him with both Social Media and Search Engine Optimization – a new client!

After working with him for several months and reaping the benefits of a well integrated SEO plus social media campaign he referred us to an existing client of his which resulted in a further referral for a government specialist social media contract – two more new clients!

At the same time an international business partner of his was looking around for someone to improve his online presence and again we were referred and began working with him –another new client!

Through this one connection on Twitter we gained four new clients! 

How amazing is that?  How many cold calls would you have needed to make to find four business connections and in this case the relationship had been built on trust and respect through an online portal.

Interestingly, we have still not met the original client face to face but over the months we have developed a relationship with him built on trust and respect enough for him to risk his reputation and brand by giving us referrals based on our genuine desire to help and assist others.

Case Study 2  – how we referred someone else for new business by showing thanks on Twitter.

Over the last six months we have enjoyed an online relationship with Justine who operates a Virtual Business and is very proficient on Twitter.   We met Justine this week for the first time and cemented a business relationship that has it roots firmly planted in Twitter.

Justine was attracted to us through the information we were sharing and posted on her blog the following – “fantastic information regarding social media and marketing  in a friendly manner that doesn’t self promote but expresses interest in my day!  Refreshing.”

Just in the last week we have been able to put Justine in touch with a potential new client as a result of  the online relationship and trust we have built up with her over the last six months and we are more than happy to recommend her services to one of our contacts – how cool is that?

Case Study 3 – It’s a small world!

We had just started an SEO campaign for a new client who had themselves recently employed a Social Media Manager.

As the two strategies are linked and work together the two parties introduced themselves with an introductory phone call.  During the conversation it was established that the new Social Media Manager has been following us on Twitter and on more than one occasion has had a conversation with us.

The advantage in this case study is the relationship is already off to a great start.  

During the course of communication through Twitter we have formed the basis of a new relationship where trust has been established, he became a follower of ours as he liked what we shared and we have gone past the awkward stage of starting a business relationship from scratch.

In all these examples the common theme is authentic helpfulness… or sharing – it’s strange but true – every time you do this synchronicity works it’s magic!

Nothing contrived, forced or planned for any of these connections – just an interest in being part of the Twitter community sharing valuable information from many different sources and promoting other people so everyone can benefit.

Stop wasting time trying to measure ROI on your social media efforts and pause for a moment and remember these case studies.

Sometimes you just need to jump in and embrace new techniques with gusto and confidence – if you get a good gut feeling about a new marketing strategy… go for it!

And remember this!

People don’t want to be sold to… how many times have you heard this?

It simply does not work!

Building relationships with human interaction and getting to know your potential customers is the key to acquiring new business.

Because of the large number of cowboys and unethical operators online it is hugely important to be able to establish trust.  And building trust takes time, patience and generosity.

Make sure you get off to a good start by taking the time to read this amazing book (no affiliate link – just sharing valuable info).  It is packed with practical, easy to understand techniques that you can implement straight away!

It really is the strategic Twitter Weapon you have been waiting for.

I will be keen to hear what you think of the strategy and the book! Let me know in the comments!