August 29, 2012: The ever-growing world of Twitter has unlocked opportunities for every type of user; everyone from emerging artists, celebrities, big brands, news sources, and B2B marketers can find a Twitter niche.
Twitter offers users the chance to share, connect, converse, link, view, follow, search, engage, praise, and vent in 140 character tweets. B2B marketers, in particular, can use Twitter to attract prospects, interact and engage with clients, increase brand awareness, understand their audience, and more.
Here are 15 specific ways B2B marketers can be using Twitter:
- Participate: Twitters allows your business to participate in conversations with prospects, customers, other businesses, and users in the B2B space. Your business can interact in one of three ways: one-to-one, one-to-many, or many-to-many. Participating one-to-one is fairly self-explanatory; it’s a targeted conversation that is likely to get a response. One-to-many is a traditional advertising technique that sends out a promotional message to the masses. Many-to-many is a new approach that was formed via the social media network; it enables conversation with a large audience that may respond or may just listen.
- Answer and Ask: Twitter is a network of asking and receiving. For this reason, it’s important that your B2B Twitter account is available for others to ask questions that will receive a valuable response. Asking questions of one other is important too, even if it’s simply “Hey @b2bmarketer, will I be seeing you at Tuesday’s conference?”
- Employee Accounts: B2B marketing companies should not limit themselves to just one account. Instead, encourage your employees to create a work-based account where relevant information can be further shared and diverged across multiple accounts and reach a larger audience. Just make sure it’s clear who owns the account.
- Face-to-Face: Once you have established the Twitter bond, why not reach out even further? A B2B marketer can use their Twitter community to build real life relationships that go beyond the computer screen.
- Dive in: Join groups, keep up with #hashtag topics, and follow relevant accounts. By diving into Twitter spheres that are relevant to your business interest, expertise, and objectives, you build your social media presence.
- Promote: Twitter is a great (and free!) way to promote your brand, services, products, events, and more. Advertising on Twitter is similar to PPC ads; it spreads your message to the immediate audience with the hope that it will get some re-tweets and shares.
- Save Time: Tweets allow marketers to get ideas across and develop presence in 140 characters or fewer. After all, sending a quick tweet is less time consuming than writing a lengthy blog post.
- Automated scheduling: Marketers have the option to schedule specific times of day to send out tweets to their Twitter communities. A schedule can, for instance, be based off user analytics that indicate the most optimal time of day for reaching a target audience. Bitly metrics cite the hours between 1 and 3pm as the best time of day for posting to Twitter.
- Tweet Strategy: Consider a tweeting strategy that best portrays your B2B services and intentions. This could include how many tweets you post per day, the tweet tone, the number of re-tweets you make, and how/if to respond to questions and mentions.
- Stay Current: Keep up with what others are doing, writing about, saying, and what’s #trending and try to avoid posting old news. What are people talking about and how does it relate to your business? Gather opinions, beliefs, thoughts, tendencies, likes, and dislikes of followers and following.
- Store the positivity: Save tweets from others that compliment your business, service, work, etc. and use them for reference in future pieces.
- Link It Up: Use your Twitter profile bio to link to your webpage or blog and be sure to include the URL. Link to other relevant pages with your tweets and help spread interesting, useful and practical information across the Twitter community and beyond.
- Snap a Photo: Share photos of events, products, clients, office initiatives, puppies, animals dressed in funny costumes, etc. People want to know what you’re up to, but they tend to be more engaged if there’s a visual piece attached to whatever it is you’re sending out. Just remember to stay relevant (don’t go overboard with the small animals) to your marketing approach, business objectives, and personal presentation.
- Everyone Loves a Laugh: Humor can be tough to pull off; not everyone has the gift of comedic timing. According to research from the “Who Gives a Tweet?” study, one in four participating users appreciates humor on Twitter. Make sure you know your audience and be sure to avoid crossing any lines that could get you into hot water with followers.
- Beware of Spam: Unfortunately, spammers are everywhere, including Twitter. It’s important to make sure the users who follow you are legitimate; be cautious not to follow every account you come across. People will take you more seriously if there isn’t a huge numerical difference in the number of people you follow versus the number of people who follow you.
The way a B2B marketer uses Twitter says a lot about the person/business behind the tweets. When representing yourself and your company, be judicious in your tweets: Twitter users love to zero in on tweets containing misquotes, missing sources, bad grammar, politically incorrect statements, etc. For this reason, it’s important to make tweets valuable, intentional, interesting, and well-thought out, targeting content you know your audience will want to read.