In my experience, social media isn’t the best place to get web design clients. Twitter, in particular, tends to be a shouting factory at the best of times, with little space for civil discourse let alone landing clients.
But over the years I have used Twitter to find web design clients. There is a massive ocean of opportunity here, and so many web designers are letting this go unexplored. In this article I’m going to talk you through my step by step guide to getting clients on Twitter as a web developer.
Why Twitter is a worthwhile place to look for web design clients
Despite various controversies in recent years about data privacy, harassment and political trolling, Twitter is still are hugely popular platform with 330 million active monthly users.
This alone means that, when done correctly, Twitter can be a very worthwhile lead generation tool for web developers.
But as is so often the case, we need to delve much deeper than the numbers. What Twitter truly enables is direct communication with prospective clients. When handled delicately, it enables you to identify prospects and foster genuine relationships with them.
How NOT to use Twitter to get clients as a web developer
Before we go any further we should take a moment to outline the ways in which you shouldn’t use Twitter to get clients, or indeed, at all.
- Don’t simply tweet out your services into the void — nobody is listening
- Don’t follow nobody and expect an influx of followers yourself
- Conversely, don’t follow a tonne of people and expect them all to follow back
- Don’t pay for sponsored ads on Twitter
- Don’t tweet or direct message people out of the blue flogging your service.
It’s very easy to waste your time on social media by pushing the hard sell. But nobody likes being sold to, and when you do it you risk not just wasting time, but your reputation as well. Twitter offers a networking opportunity, and is not a sales tool.
How to really get clients on Twitter
I have to confess: Twitter is not my preferred method for generating leads. I much prefer developing niche landing pages that send me targeted traffic. But over the last few years, I have looked on Twitter from time to time with the intention of winning new work.
And it has worked. Here’s my approach…
#1 Identify your ideal client
A good practice in general is to define your audience. In business, it’s a mistake to assume that your market is everyone. Even if you are targeting the whole world, it is very much worth your time segmenting your audience into groups. This could be by:
- Sector — what type of companies do you make websites for? Do you create brochureware websites for hospitality businesses? E-commerce stores for local businesses? Work this out and write it down.
- Location — where are your ideal clients based in the world?
- Size — do you work with startups, small businesses, corporates or somewhere in between? Define it.
A recurring theme in the advice I give freelance web developers is to choose a niche. Literally everything about marketing gets easier after you’ve done this.
#2 Locate your prospects on Twitter
Once you have a better idea of who your ideal client is, finding them becomes significantly easier.
The trusty Twitter #HashTag is a great way to find prospective clients, because many industries and sectors have their own. I work with non-profit organisations, and there are hashtags for recurring and one-off events, such as the yearly #CharityTuesday or the weekly #CharityHour.
Each community has their own hashtags. Find relevant tweets and if they interest you (and only if they interest you) click “like” and follow the person who tweeted.
It’s very tempting to go on a follow-spree, but this is the quickest way to devalue your network and harm your reputation. Find the right people, and follow those who tweet interesting or useful things. Simple.
Let’s recap: we have identified and located our target Twitter prospects. At this point, we have lightly engaged with them to get on their radar. We haven’t even spoken to them yet.
Now’s the time to be heard.
When — and only when — you see an interesting tweet should you seek to engage. For example, here’s how to engage if:
- somebody tweets a piece of good news, feel free to congratulate them
- somebody asks a question, find the answer and link to a resource (don’t say “DM me and I can help”, that’s totally off-putting)
- somebody tweets a useful article or piece of knowledge, try to retweet with a quote to affirm, add to or even disagree with them if appropriate.
These are some very basic strategies that marketers hardly ever use! Remember: Twitter is not a sales tool, it’s a way to develop rapport and relationships with people. By engaging in this way with multiple people, over time you start to develop those relationships. (You didn’t think this was going to be quick did you?)
Bonus tip: rinse and repeat
Using social media to get web design clients is about both quality and quantity. You need to get comfortable with the fact that most Twitter exchanges will go nowhere. Just because you develop rapport with a couple of users doesn’t mean they’re going to queue up to work with you and give you money.
Twitter is the long-game and to maximise your chance of success, you’ll need to develop relationships with many people in your target audience. Take the three steps above, and repeat them over and over again 😅
Is Twitter a viable place to find web design clients?
With the right approach, Twitter can deliver the goods. But it requires commitment and a willingness to participate rather than broadcast.
The good news for you is that hardly anyone has the patience to do this! I have followed the exact steps above, and several times in the past have found myself on the phone to a new prospect. I have used Twitter to generate leads for my web development business, and it has worked.
It can work for you too if you find the right communities and individuals, engage respectfully and consistently, and drop the hard-sell. Go tweet! 🐦