With 2.8 million business decision makers on Twitter and 78% of executives using Twitter for business purposes on a daily basis, B-to-B marketers need to develop a strategy for using the social network to engage customers, nurture leads and boost revenue.
So said Sebastian Turner, a member of the B-to-B revenue team at San Francisco-based Twitter Inc., during his presentation at ClickZ Live Chicago, a conference held by New York-based interactive marketing news service ClickZ, on Nov. 6. According to a 2014 study conducted by Twitter and Cambridge, Mass.-based marketing research firm Forrester Research Inc., 43% of business decision makers use Twitter to discover new products, 34% use it to research information about products and 31% use it to get customer support after making a purchase. Twitter will be four times more influential on the B-to-B purchase decision-making process in the next year, according to the study. Turner offered five tips to B-to-B marketers for using Twitter to influence purchasing behavior:
- Optimize for mobile. Eighty percent of Twitter users are accessing the social network from a mobile device, Turner said. “If you have images, if you have video, if you want to drive app installs, that’s great, but test them. Make sure that they look seamless on an iPhone, Android or iPad.”
- Listen before tweeting. Follow executives and analysts in your industry on Twitter to help guide your content strategy, Turner said. “Most executives use [Twitter] as a listening tool to find out what the market wants and what they can do better for their business. If you only use Twitter as a broadcasting platform, if you only send out messages about your products, [it won’t be as effective]. You have to listen, understand your audience and have tailored content. Don’t just provide gated assets or try to make a sale. Give them best practices. Give them examples of how other companies are using your products.
- Plan ahead. Map out your content, Turner said. “It can be something as simple as ‘Happy Halloween’ with a photo of your team. Having a personality for your brand can help you drive marketing objectives down the line. You know when product announcements or industry events are going to happen, so leverage Twitter for those moments and have a couple of different versions of copy ready.”
- Be reactive. “There will be situations where you have to come up with tweets on the fly, so develop an approval process and figure out who needs to sign off before you put that message out there,” Turner said. For example, when the 2013 Super Bowl dissolved into darkness due to a blackout at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Oreo tweeted a photo of an Oreo cookie with the slogan, “You can still dunk in the dark,” which garnered millions of media impressions. “When the blackout happened, they caught the moment. It wasn’t a day old. It was real-time, and they were able to do it because they had streamlined the approval process ahead of time,” Turner said.
- Tweet during buzz-worthy moments. Tweeting during events such as the Olympics, the Oscars or the World Cup can help you connect with your customers and humanize your brand, Turner said. “If you’re a B-to-B software company, you don’t need to just stay in tech. Your audience is made up of real people and they might care about the Olympics or the Oscars.” For example, the San Francisco-based mobile point-of-sale tools provider Square tweeted a photo and message saluting local coffee shops on National Coffee Day on Sept. 29. “It’s simple stuff, but it’s important because you need to build that personality of your brand so people are comfortable interacting with you,” Turner said.
This article was originally published in the Nov. 11, 2014, issue of Marketing News Weekly.
Author bio: Christine Birkner is the senior staff writer for Marketing News and Marketing News Weekly. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.