By Francesca James, Fresh Business Thinking

Twitter is all about being social and forging relationships, but it is also an extremely vast and often under utilized pool of potential business contacts, leads and even sales.

People talk about how many followers they have, how many retweets they’ve had in a day and how far their tweets are reaching, but how often does this actually convert into tangible returns for your business?

The Internet has the ability to potentially put your business within a few clicks of people who are looking for a product or service that you/your business offers, but how do you make sure it’s you they find?

Where should you focus your energies in order to grow your business?

Everybody knows that one of the most valuable and effective ways to grow any business is through referrals but how can you harness this over Twitter?

Mark Shaw, a leading authority on twitter has recently created a platform that could provide the answer.

Mark recently started a new scheme on twitter called #rfr - request for recommendation that is broadcasting around 100 business leads a day across the twitterverse.

A quick search shows me that today there have been a wealth of varied requests for products and services from web developers to holiday apartments, and I’m sure someone somewhere has used the service to request something that you could provide or at least assist with a referral for.

Mark says that ‘one of the greatest benefits of Twitter is that it allows you to refer or advocate for others and says that he is ‘[i]a huge fan of advocating and referring others as and when I can.’

How can you get involved?

Assuming you’re already on twitter, just follow the @msrfr twitter account.

Each day you will see approx 100 new business leads. All you then need to do is reply to the person looking for the request.

Marks says that he’s doing this to get people to understand the ‘true value and potential’ of Twitter and to prove that twitter can be an extremely powerful tool for lead generation, for free!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Send me a tweet @francescaajames

Watch the video below featuring Jemima Gibbons of AAB Engage discussing how social media can positively impact your business.


Join us on