William Buist is about the third Marketing Expert I’ve featured this year, who I first met on a ski slope. He works with business owners to unlock sustainable profits and give them insights into building better businesses. He’s also rather good at using Twitter to promote his business, which is why I decided to interview him for this blog.
William uses Twitter differently, because he uses it mainly to talk about political matters and has done so since the Brexit referendum. He has both a business and a personal twitter account, but told me that he’s gradually winding down the business account, as people buy him, as a Mentor, rather than his business. He feels strongly about Brexit and made a conscious decision to be vocal on Twitter about his views. He explained that he doesn’t mind if other people disagree with his politics – I think he quite enjoys it when people disagree with him – but he wants people to get to know him and his views from the outset, without covering anything up.
Brexit is a divisive topic so William sometimes comes across people on Twitter who disagree with him quite agresssively. He welcomes this as he’s found it useful for honing his skills in having discussions with people with relatively closed minds. “As a result, I now think that I am better at writing emails and discussing issues with my clients who show some resistance to what we’re dealing with. That helps them to make better business decisions.”
His Brexit Twitter discussions also show his clients that he has the ability to look at an argument and go deeper, backing up his views with sound logic and fact. He applies the same logic when advising and mentoring his clients. “It gives confidence to potential clients – when they see that I can have a well formed discussion on a tricky subject such as Brexit, they see that I can do it to the same extent for them and their business,” he told me. He looks at the whole landscape of a client’s business and all the facts, before giving them his opinion, to help them make their own well-informed decision.
One of William’s clients told him that he helps him form his own opinion, by supplying sufficient underlying facts and opinons – that whole landscape – even if he doesn’t actually agree with William’s point of view. Personally, I’ve had discussions with William about Brexit – I know that he knows enough about what’s going on; and from that I can form my own opinions.
So can you get new clients through Twitter?
When I asked William this question, he said it’s bought him new business from people he already knows, who have been watching and listening to him on Twitter. They haven’t necessarily engaged with him on Twitter – they haven’t commented on his tweets and he didn’t know they were watching, until they contacted him. But they do get in touch when they’re ready.
William’s advice for us all is to be yourself on social media and be who you are. This has allowed potential clients to see his style and what working with him would be like. When you’re buying, you want to find the same person you thought you knew already – when you finally meet that coach, consultant or trainer. You don’t want to be presented with something or someone different.
When he’s in Coach mode, William will use Twitter to ask questions; with his Consultant hat on, he’ll do some anaylsis; and as a Trainer he’ll provide knowledge. Food for thought – this is something that I could do more of on Twitter, as a Mentor.
Sleep on It
Another piece of advice that William gave me is to take time to think through your replies on social media. When he’s working with his clients, he will take some time to consider his response, before coming back with advice that he’s thought through. He does exactly the same with his social media replies. Frequently he will write a reply and then sleep on it, before changing some of what he wants to say and then posting it. He told me that the majority of the times he’s just posted a quick fire response, he has usually regreted it!
I asked William how active he is on Twitter. He posts several tweets each day – some of his business related tweets are scheduled and include links to his own blogs and events he’s running. He then pops into Twitter most days to look at what’s being said and post comments on political issues.
Take it Offline
All of William’s Twitter activity is about starting conversations, with the aim of meeting people in real life. He likes to learn about other people and see where he can help, either through offering them a small piece of valuable advice, or through a longer term business arrangement. Either way, once the conversation has started, it’s vital to take it offline.
Having interviewed William for this blog, as I was writing it up a couple of days later, he send me a comment that he’d just received via social media, from a contact he hasn’t seen for several years. “I read your political posts with interest and occasionally comment. It would be great to buy you a coffee and hear about your business life? What’s the best email for you?” How’s that for proof that really sharing your views on Twitter can bring you potential clients?! Well done William!