Twitter Tip TuesdayTwitter Tip Tuesday is a weekly blog series from Sprout Social: Insights.

Every Tuesday we’ll focus on just one (1) Twitter Tip and show you how to integrate it into your social media strategy.

Today’s Twitter Tip: Use Twitter As a Referral Engine

Yes, it still happens: A business gets a Twitter account and starts tweeting nothing but their daily specials, their services, or generally telling the world how great they are.

These businesses are missing the point of Twitter — and perhaps the point of social media altogether. It’s not about telling the world how great you are, it’s about people finding this out for themselves. And typically people find out how great you are by either interacting with you directly, or by being referred to you by a trusted source.

The good news is that both outcomes can be achieved in the same way — by being a good Twitter citizen and leaving the sales pitch out until it’s asked for. And if you’re a good Twitter citizen, tweeting about how great other people are as opposed to how great you are, the sales inquiries will come!

People Want to Refer You

People want to refer other people and businesses they know and trust. On Twitter, this familiarity and trust is based on genuine “organic” interaction with people — the “social” in social media, if you will.

Make Twitter a Referral Engine

There’s no short cut or magic secret to generating trust and goodwill. You have to work at it and it has to be earned. But when you have achieved that level of trust, that’s when you’ve hit the Twitter sweet spot.

Suddenly, you’ll discover that more and more people are following you, you’ll start to see more and more of your posts retweeted. Most importantly, you’ll start to see your name referred to in tweets like “Does anyone know a good…” or “I’m looking for a…”

Practice, Practice, Practice

Like any tool, it takes time and practise to master Twitter. But it can be done — in fact, it’s an ongoing exercise that never really ends. There are always new people to interact with, new people and information to promote.

But if you take the time to share and listen, and to genuinely think of Twitter as a referral engine not a sales engine, you’ll have people singing your praises and creating opportunities like never before.

Have you gotten sales as a result of being referred by someone on Twitter? Have you referred other businesses on Twitter? Let us know by leaving a comment below.