How to use Twitter as a resource for review products for your blog

by Robb Sutton

Did you know that you can actually use Twitter as a source for industry contacts that will send you free product to review for your blog? It’s true and I am doing it on a daily basis. Large and small companies alike are learning the power of social media at an alarming rate. Everyday, I have more companies following my Twitter accounts to stay on top of the latest web news and to keep an eye on Internet trends.

Twitter is growing at a rate of 50% per day according to the last calculations as this post is being drafted. That is a gigantic resource for you to pull from to create long lasting blog readers and personal contacts with companies at that are searching for relevant websites that can create more media around their products and services. So how do you tap into this vast resource to get products to review on your blog?

Twitter Tips When Dealing With Companies

  1. Be relevant and resourceful – You must have a quality Twitter account that relates to you specific niche. If all these perspective companies are seeing is what gas station you are visiting or what you are eating for breakfast, they are most likely not going to take you seriously. Share links, blogs, news and other related information from your niche that creates value to your followers on your Twitter account.
  2. Set Up A Twitter Feed To Display Latest Posts – If you have companies following you on Twitter, it is very likely that they are not following your blog. They are using your Twitter account as their source to keep on top of your latest news, and because of this…you need to have your latest posts displayed as Tweets. These companies do not have time to follow your blog, newsletter, Twitter account, Facebook account and anything else you have out there on the web all at once. They are going to pick their most efficient way and stick with it. Go to twitterfeed.com and set up an account. Twitterfeed will automatically generate tweets off your RSS feed and provide your followers with your latest blog post.
  3. Interact – You will be incredibly surprised how much you can actually say in 140 characters or less. Direct message, reply and interact with companies in your niche that follow your Twitter account. Do not start off asking for review product right away, but instead form a relationship with the marketing guru that is running the companies account. This will be a very valuable contact for future business.
  4. Search and Follow – You will be really surprised to see who is an isn’t on Twitter. Use the search function to seek out and follow perspective companies that you would like to work with in the future. As you follow and interact with these companies, you will now be on their radar when you might not have through other conventional outlets.
  5. Keep Them Updated – Once you have established the relationship, keep these people updated and provide your other Twitter followers updated on the behind the scenes information. Tweet when you get the product in, tweet when you are using it, tweet your initial thoughts, etc. All of this interaction brings more exposure to the company and provides you with relevant and useful Twitter content that may not be newsworthy enough for full out blog posts. Be sure to always use the @companyname when talking about their product or service within tweets.

Before I had mentioned that I am doing this on a daily basis, but what I did not mention is that I actually got my largest industry contact through Twitter. This publicly held company that does billions in revenue a year, sent me a $6,100 product to review because of a relationship started on Twitter. Remember…always under promise and over deliver…

12 comments

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12 comments

Mike April 16, 2009 - 5:33 pm

I like you’re thinking. I follow a lot of coffee shops/stores on twitter, but really haven’t been doing anything to create a relationship.

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Robb Sutton April 16, 2009 - 7:57 pm

@ Mike

Thanks Mike. At first…I had my reservations on the value of Twitter as it relates to a real life business model, but since large and small companies are taking this form of social networking seriously…it is creating another large avenue to grow your business.

Let me know how it goes!

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Mike April 16, 2009 - 11:13 pm

Do you have any suggestions on when is a good time to start asking for products to review for your blog? I know when your mountain biking blog, you’ve gotten a good amount of reviews done that way. My blog is only 100-200 hits a day, I’m thinking that’s too early.

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Robb Sutton April 17, 2009 - 7:21 am

@ Mike

It is never too early to start building the relationship. Just be honest about your traffic and the growth you are seeing. Starting business relationships early (without asking for anything right off the bat), makes it easier in the long run. You never know…they might be looking for a concentrated, attentive audience!

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Mike April 17, 2009 - 3:23 pm

Thanks for the answer. Exactly the information that I needed.

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UltraRob April 23, 2009 - 12:07 pm

I have made many more contacts through twitter than I have any other way. I had visited Mountain Biking by 198 but didn’t pay a lot of attention to it until I had seen your tweets for a little while. Like you said, it’s important to provide interesting and helpful info or only your friends will care what you have to say.

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Pam April 24, 2009 - 8:34 pm

Just what I was looking for. I’m a designer with an online portfolio and a personal twitter account. I started a blog a while back and set up a twitter account for that too. Do you find it better to use just one account for everything or keep them separate? Should I use the blog-specific one to set up a twitterfeed or is it better to have people understand that you manage both sites and work off one?

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Robb Sutton April 25, 2009 - 7:20 am

@ Pam

My niches are vastly different (biking vs. blogging/internet marketing), so I created separate accounts. The followers of the different accounts are also very different (the main reason for the two accounts). If you are able to keep up with separates…you can go that route, but if you foresee yourself posting a lot more to one than the other…a single account may be the way to go.

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Robb Sutton April 25, 2009 - 7:25 am

@ UltraRob

There are a TON of cycling related people/companies on Twitter. It is an incredible resource…

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Mike April 25, 2009 - 2:15 pm

I also created separate accounts. For some reason my coffee friends, were completely different from my Yankee fan friends. And the blogging/internet marketing friends really didn’t want to hear about the others. Now, if I could only find a good way to manage it all. I’m using SplitTweet, but it’s just “okay.”

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Pam April 25, 2009 - 8:17 pm

@Robb
Good point. Down the road if I want to start blogging on my personal site, I’m sure the snowboarding people won’t care to see tweets about design and marketing. I am going to start a tweet feed for the blog.

@Mike
I’ll look into SplitTweet. I always need to organize; that will help a lot. Thanks!

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Rajbir Dhaliwal July 13, 2009 - 11:50 pm

Very good point. Just recently I’ve been reading about your bike site on a couple of other blogs as well. Like John Chow, etc.

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