Twitter started out as a platform for short bursts of real-time observations, complaints, and general ramblings. But it has since undergone an astounding evolution far beyond social gripes and news updates. Today, it’s the go-to platform for B2B marketers who want to uncover new prospects, engage with current clients, establish themselves as thought leaders, and utilize social selling tactics to generate leads and close deals.
Twitter provides a high level of urgency and personal connection that no other platform can come close to. It’s by far the most immediate form of communication available to B2B marketers and has proven to be much more effective than emails or phone calls.
If you had asked me five years ago, I would have never predicted that Twitter would someday be a major B2B marketing tool. The numbers don’t lie, though: Eighty-five percent of all B2B marketers use Twitter as their primary tool, and those who use it generate twice as many leads as those who don’t.
Characters No Longer Count
In Twitter’s early days, the biggest hurdle for marketers was creating succinct, 140-character posts. But today, effective B2B marketing doesn’t necessarily require typing a single word.
Retweeting, favoriting, and adding your prospects’ Twitter handles to lists are subtle — but equally successful — ways to show your support and interest. That’s the beauty of Twitter: It’s fast, it’s real-time, and it allows you to make an impression by barely lifting a finger.
Here are a few additional ways you can use Twitter to reach your prospects in the best way possible:
- Circulate content. The most beneficial thing you can do for your followers is provide them with great, useful content. Did you just read an engaging article about your industry? Don’t keep it to yourself; tweet it! The same goes for when you watch a neat video or download a whitepaper with great stats. These are all snippets of content that will build your brand as a trustworthy and reliable force in your industry. Your number of followers will grow exponentially, inevitably leading to your sales numbers also increasing. One study shows that Twitter users are 72 percent more likely to buy something from businesses they follow.
- Craft with crisp creativity. Twitter’s 140-character-per-tweet limit is actually its best attribute for marketers. By cutting all the clutter, it forces you to keep your message simple and say only what’s necessary. This is a great opportunity to get creative with your phrasing and develop catchy hashtags. Do your homework, and make sure your tweets are truly unique and will stand out from your competition.
- Listen closely, and converse. This may be the most critical strategy. While it’s tempting to use Twitter as your own personal soapbox, simply listening to what others are saying — and then responding — can provide more value. Be sure you browse prospects’ Twitter timelines so you can see what’s important to them. This will allow you to open an authentic dialogue when you’re ready to make your pitch. But also monitor every ongoing industry-related conversation across the entire Twitterverse. This will help you get a good feel for your field’s current climate. When you see a discussion you’d like to contribute to, chime in.
- Enlist employee advocates. Don’t just tackle Twitter from a management perspective. An employee-centric point of view will bring more authenticity and credibility to your brand. Select a handful of employee advocates, and have them create vibrant and informative Twitter accounts. IBM successfully took this approach with its #NewWayToWork social campaign, which resulted in stronger relationships and engagement with prospects.
- Always be “on.” Consistency is critical on Twitter; you can’t check out for days or weeks at a time. With more than 300 million active users and 500 million tweets per day, your followers will probably forget about you, and you’ll lose them to different accounts. Determine your ideal number of tweets per day, and stick to those metrics.
Twitter has become much more than a real-time platform for young adults and aspiring celebrities to preach, complain, and promote themselves in short 140-character bursts. It’s now a vivacious place for B2B brands to build their followings, develop their voices, and make big money. Take advantage of Twitter’s evolution by constructing a creative social presence of employee advocates.
This article originates from B2B Marketing