While the number of new social media platforms continues to grow, many of them are more relevant to B2C marketers than B2B marketers. And when it comes to B2B marketing it appears that Twitter is still one of the most used social platforms out there.
And it makes sense. Think about your own search behavior. If I am interested in getting the latest news on any topic, I search Twitter first. Why? It has the easiest search function of all social platforms, often times news is first available on Twitter (it has been ranked one of the top 10 websites in the United States) and usually information hasn't been censored as it is the case for many news outlets.
There is no doubt that Twitter is still an important platform for your marketing mix and should be managed thoughtfully. That being said, here are 6 steps you can take to build your Twitter marketing strategy.
1) Be Human
Even though you are representing a product or company, make sure your tweets don’t come across too “corporate”. Show your brand personality in your tweets, be approachable and make sure to reply to comments, mentions, etc.
2) Be Helpful
Instead of just promoting your product or services on Twitter, make sure you share also interesting industry reads, answer questions your audience would be asking or comment on other industry leading Twitter accounts. Show to your audience that you are a thought leader in your space and you are staying on the pulse of what’s happening. Share content that brings value add to your followers. For every 1 tweet promoting your own content, post 3 tweets about what is going on in the industry.
PRO TIP: Create Twitter lists for industry influencers, popular hashtags and leading companies in that space to stay on top of the latest and greatest.
3) Involve your whole team
Twitter is too often seen as purely a task for marketing. Yet it really is a team effort. Like with any other social platform, the further the reach the better. So get your whole team involved and have them share your stories on Twitter.
Going back to the human aspect, highlight some of your employees on Twitter. Show them your workspace or a fun teambuilding event that’s happening at the office. Your followers will be able to relate more to your business.
Get other departments onto Twitter. For one, your customer services team should be monitoring the Twitter conversations. As shown here, many customers prefer reaching out to a company via Twitter over picking up the phone. It also gives customer services the opportunity to reach a broader base and answer some frequently asked questions.
And then there’s your sales team. Twitter is a great place to see what your prospects are up to and to build relationships. Congratulate them on recent announcements, retweet some of their content and share personalized and relevant content with them. Make that first connection on Twitter and if you send them a subsequent email, they will be more likely to open it.
4) Commit time to it
All too often companies run their Twitter accounts ‘on the side’ without committing. It’s almost an afterthought. Sometimes the account is left unattended for a while. This is not just a missed opportunity but can actually hurt your brand. Make sure you keep the content on Twitter up to date and reply in a timely manner. Otherwise it might appear as though your company is not around anymore or not very customer focused. If you don’t have resources to manage your Twitter efforts, it might make sense to hold off with creating an account until you do. Or hire a marketing agency or social media expert to drive it for you.
5) Have a way to measure your success
Tweets that go viral may sometimes seem like a lucky shot. But it might surprise you that some of these are well thought through campaigns and needed careful planning and testing. Just like with anything else, it’s important to understand which tweets, Twitter ads etc. are working and which ones are not…and why. So before you dive in, first make sure you:
Set goals on what you want to achieve (i.e. get a certain amount of followers in a specific timeframe, or get to an engagement rate of x, etc.)
Build your hashtags strategy. When you think about your hashtags it’s important to separate brand hashtags from target hashtags. Brand hashtags should be a handful of hashtags describing your business or products that you will use in many of your tweets. So make sure they are generic enough to apply to a lot of your tweets but not too generic so you don’t have too many competing tweets. Target hashtags are usually industry hashtags that you want to be found under. It could be trending topics within an industry or a specific niche you want to be listed in and associated with.
Commit to the amount of hours per week you can spend managing your Twitter effort.
Keep going back to this list and adjust on a regular basis, given what has worked and what hasn’t.
6) Follow tweet best practices
There are a lot of best practices out there on how to create the perfect tweet. We are not going to try to list all of them, but here are a few that we find most important:
Use videos and images in your tweets when you can. Given how quickly tweets are being published, a tweet with an image or video attached to it will get more attention than one without. That being said, make sure the image or video is relevant to the content you share.
Pick the right time: the right time might be different for each business. Be sure to know when your audience is online. This could be during business hours or could also be in the evenings and on weekends. Consider whether your audience is in a different time zone. Tools like the ones mentioned above help you schedule tweets ahead so you can pick the best time to send them out and track performance.
Don’t exceed the Twitter limit of 280 characters. Leave a minimum of 3 + the number of your Twitter name (so for example for @ScholesMktg I would leave 15 characters free) for a chance to be re-tweeted.