Five Ways Twitter Can Fuel B2B Marketing Engines!
Every time I speak at a conference or conduct a CIMA workshop the topic of Twitter comes up and I get a boardroom’s worth of questions about the appropriate use of Twitter for B2B Marketing. Whilst the questions are typically related to use case, cadence and the compositions of tweets there are always one naysayer in the crowd who give me a sneer and a “PROVE IT” dismissive huffy glare. I find it simply amazing that with a collective audience of over 180 Million users I still have to prove Twitter’s effectiveness for real time marketing any more than I have to argue the validity of the Internet for reach and scale.
One of the first things I recommend to those folks who are still on the fence about Twitter is to first use it as a listening channel and unlike the masses, don’t just listen to celebrities, traditional media and your sister in law. Try elegantly listening.
There are two easy ways to do this. One is to find out what is relevant and meaningful right now. If you are unsure what #AustraliaNeedsTony or #NRLSYDGLD means, skim through the tweets and you’ll quickly get the gist. (The first is a series of political comments about the upcoming election — and the candidate’s first name is Tony and the second is about a rugby match between two Australian teams.) Trends can be related to current events, celebrity gossip, world breaking news, or fun internet memes that people are just sharing for the sake of humor.
The other way to get smarter using Twitter in your B2B marketing practice is to search one of your major competitors. Find out what folks are saying abut them, what their top news stories are, who they interact with publicly and who their influencers are. There is much to glean from a bit of research.
Twitter is more than just a place for a 140 character conversation of short bursts and updates. By using #hashtags, you enable someone to easily discover what your update is about. Incorporating a #hashtag into a tweet or update that has a link to a bigger piece of content such as a video, checklist, image or article is a way to bring better inbound quality eyeballs (leads) to your website. Use consistent SEO target keywords relevant to what you do, make and sell and the word most likely to search by your focus persona, rather than take the egoist way out and just use your brand name. If your goal is new customer acquisition in social media, it’s essential that you perceive that all customers are new are searching by their need states and may not know you by name.
Content is still king, and in a crowded room, yours will need to stand out. A picture used to be worth a thousand words and now it can be more like a million, such as in the instance of Oreos at this most recent SuperBowl when they were first on the mark to release a captioned photo related to the blackout that had America tweeting. One creative genius at Edelman was poised to pounce on the news jack and showed Oreo’s playful personality in a image and tweet that went all the way around the world.
Timing played a great role in the impact of that tweet and B2B Marketers can get clever about what is happening in the real world that will get Twitter talking and can be used as an extension of a brand’s narrative. Accounting firms and law firms probably have some of the best opportunities as there are always relevant news stories about taxes, budgets, fiscal happenings, etc. almost daily.
Tip 4: Be nice to be around. Let your personality shine in 140 characters. Even in a B2B environment, people still buy from people they like!
I say it all the time in my presentations, but no matter how big an organization gets people still buy from people we like and trust. A company that is nice is one where the receptionist offers you a genuine smile and acknowledgement within seconds of your arrival. How does your Twitter profile make your potential customers feel? Are you warm, approachable? Do you make people smile at anything you share? Do you make people laugh or tell them to have a better day. Corporations that sprinkle their Twitter timeline with inspiration in the form of quotes, images, and a splash of corporate culture have much higher engagement rates. The secret to effective inspiration is perspiration. (Seriously — it is about hard work!) Take the time to foster memes and legends that truly reflect your core values, community activities, corporate culture, and what it is that your business is passionate about. Telling that story will make you far more likeable as a brand. Humanize your company’s mission statement. SHOW why your business matters and how you make the world a better place. And remember, it starts with the inflection of a sincere smile and a personal greeting. Practice Youtility with your content marketing activities. Give people the tools to solve their problems.
The final major I gripe I get from B2B Marketers about Twitter is the perceived risk of detractors and haters. My typical response is that “Twitter is not your enemy. Indifference is likely to do more damage.” If people come to you and complain about your product or service on social channels like Twitter, the first thing you must appreciate is that people are bombarded with marketing messages all day. If they are so compelled to talk about you and your brand, feel flattered first because you seriously matter! If you are indeed listening through regular search or social listening solutions such as Tracx, then you have an upper hand to those companies who push messages out these pipes and have closed ears to listening to their stakeholders which is just plain wrong.
Next, have a plan — we refer to this as a social media crisis triage plan – where the appropriate person can be notified in an expeditious way and the person with the issue can be responded to quickly and appropriately. Empower your community management team to lead the resolution troops with KPIs around response time and net promoter score.
Unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, Twitter has the power to connect with complete strangers and the ability to meet and connect with those talking on a subject related to your product and service and listen to competitor discussions is golden. Twitter allows marketers to learn about sentiment, gauge share of voice, and activate those could become influencers as stakeholders and media.
In your B2B marketing, how are you using Twitter? Got a tip that we didn’t cover off? Please share it!
About the Author
Stephenie Rodriguez founded Mighty Media Group, a leading data-driven digital, mobile and social marketing strategy and solutions firm, in 2004 and is currently the company’s Chief Executive Officer. She is also the former publisher of Ocean Drive Magazine (Australia), a speaker and futurist on all aspects of social technology, an evangelist of engagement, and has advised companies including SSP – The Food Travel Experts, Austereo, JR/DutyFree, Radar Group of Companies, Transfield, Allied Mills, ClubMed, AIATSIS, Income Solutions, and Bayer (Berocca), Toyota, Mercedes Benz, and the UN FAO. You’re likely to find her Tweeting here @digitalgodess or present at events such as #SXSWi, #TFWA, #TedxSydney and #SocialBiz.