Twitter for B2B

Twitter for B2B

This is part one of a three-part series on Twitter for B2B. See part two, Tweet This: 20 Ideas for Content for the Supply Chain, and part three, How to Use Twitter Analytics.

One of the top social media sites for B2B marketers, Twitter can help businesses spread brand awareness and communicate with customers.

When it comes to marketing your B2B company, Twitter could be a fantastic tool to give you a competitive edge. Gone are the days that Twitter is only for teens or simply to pass time on the commute to work.

It’s in the numbers.

According to Social Media Examiner, 66% of marketers are planning to increase their Twitter use, and 58% of marketers want to learn more about it. After all, Twitter is consistently ranked as one of the top three social media sites for B2B marketers, along with Facebook and LinkedIn.

Twitter reports that 50% of users have visited or shopped at the websites of the businesses they follow. Additionally, 43% plan to purchase regularly from the businesses they follow, and 60% of followers make a purchase because of something they saw on Twitter.

The statistics don’t lie. Twitter is incredibly effective in increasing and maintaining your customers’ loyalty and creating new connections.

What exactly is Twitter?

Twitter’s new user FAQs describes it as “a service for friends, family, coworkers etc. to communicate and, most crucially, stay connected with the exchange of frequent, brief messages that are searchable and viewable by all of your followers.” This allows for constant interaction with other Twitter users across the globe, whether they are individual users or companies.

Why your business should be using Twitter

Twitter can be an effective tool for businesses to spread brand awareness and communicate with customers and business partners. Here are 6 reasons why you should be utilizing it.

1) It has a mobile application.

Even if your website is mobile-friendly, having a social media platform that is also easily accessible on a mobile device is extremely important. Reportedly, 70% of executives use their smartphones to learn about a product or service after they first hear about an offer. On Twitter, 83% of users are mobile. It’s becoming the 21st century newspaper. Users check it on their way to or from work, during their lunch break, and in their free time. Tweeting frequently keeps your business top-of-mind while current and potential customers browse their feeds.

2) Its reach is global.

Twitter supports 40+ different languages. If your supply chain includes international suppliers or partners, this feature is the perfect opportunity to reach those users, as well as domestic customers at the same time.

3) It’s excellent for customer service.

Your account will receive notifications any time your company name is mentioned in a tweet, so you can respond instantaneously if a customer has a complaint or concern. This is crucial, since the number of customers expecting a response on social media has doubled since 2013.

4) It makes analyzing your engagement simple.

Twitter Analytics makes it easy to measure your impact and see where you should adjust your strategy. Calculate your engagement, learn about your followers’ usage patterns, and more.

5) It allows for broad networking.

By searching a simple keyword such as “content marketing,” you are presented with hundreds of results, including tweets, hashtags, and different accounts. Follow the ones that seem relatable to begin a network of interest for your business. You can then retweet content that would be of interest to your followers, thus increasing your status as a source for knowledge and information.

6) It reaches your target audience.

Twitter has 310 million monthly active users. That includes the large majority of organizations, from small businesses (79% are on Twitter) to Fortune 500 companies (78% are on Twitter). What’s more, an IDC report found that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level/VP executives use social media to make purchasing decisions. Your business should be where your customers are, and your business should really be where your customers are researching potential business.

Terms you should know

If you’re going to use Twitter, knowing the lingo is essential.

  • Tweet: A Twitter update. The personal message you compose to your followers. May include pictures, video, text, or links to other web pages. 140 characters or less.
  • Hashtag (#): Use to create a community of posts talking about the same thing. For example if you want to see posts about inbound marketing, search #inboundmarketing. Join the conversation by using the same hashtag in your post.
  • Retweet: Taking someone else’s post and re-posting it to your page so all of your followers see it, too.
  • Quote tweet: Similar to re-tweeting, except you can add your own message to it as well.
  • Followers: Someone who subscribes to see your posts on their personal timeline.
  • Direct message: Send someone you’re following a private message to have a conversation away from your feed.
  • Twitter handle: @yourusername, what someone uses to tag you in a tweet or can search you by, how you’re identified.

But how do I “tweet”?

Tweets are posts under 140 characters that are posted to your personal page and show up in all of your followers’ Twitter feeds. You can post photos, videos, links, or your own content, so get creative!

To begin writing, click the button in the top right hand corner of your screen that looks like a feather quill on paper.

Retweeting

The button for this looks a bit like the recycling symbol. It’s located below each tweet in your feed. If you like what someone says and want your followers to see it too, click the retweet button, then the retweet option that pops up. The original post will appear on your feed.

When someone retweets you, it is now seen by not only your followers but theirs as well. This is one of the great things about Twitter. It’s very easy for one post to be seen by a very large amount of users.

This is how a retweet will appear to your followers, except where it says “you” it will say your twitter account’s name.

retweet

Quote tweeting

When you click the retweet button under a post, it gives you the option to either retweet or quote tweet. If you want to add something to the original post you want to retweet, choose the quote tweet option. A window then pops up allowing you to type your own message with the original tweet attached. The difference between this and simply retweeting is that when you retweet, only the original tweet is reposted and not an additional message from you.

Here’s what a quote tweet will look like to your followers:

quote-tweet

How to gain followers

Knowing how to create the content you want on your Twitter is only half the battle. Now you have to gain followers to read and help you promote this content. Here are 5 ways to increase your followers and get the results from Twitter you so desire.

1) Promote your username as much as you can.

Add a follow button and/or your Twitter feed to your website and blog, and put the link to your Twitter in your email signature. You can even promote it offline on business cards or around the office.

2) Use your existing customer base.

Upload your email contacts into Twitter and follow your customers. It will let them know you’re thinking about them and prompt them to follow you back.

3) Search keywords and hashtags that relate to your industry and audience.

Use them to join in on conversations and get noticed in Twitter communities surrounding your industry. Users who like what you have to say will be inspired to follow you to get your updates.

4) Have the people who support you offline join in online.

Send out a company-wide email encouraging your employees to follow you on Twitter and retweet your posts.

5) Ask for retweets.

When someone retweets your post, it goes to all of their followers, increasing your reach exponentially. Don’t be afraid to ask your followers and employees for support. Sometimes a contest or incentive works extremely well to get the retweeting going.

The finishing touches

  • Don’t forget to give your brand a little personality. As Kelly Jo Horton said in her article, 10 Things B2B Marketers Should Be Doing on Twitter, “All work and no play makes your Twitter feed a dull read. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun.” Post a joke or a funny picture, or show what it’s like behind the scenes at your company.
  • Be conscious of where your followers are located. If they’re in different time zones, make sure your tweets match their schedules as well as your own.
  • Keep up your audience engagement by making sure your tweets aren’t just a one-way communication. Start conversations with followers. Respond in good time if someone starts one with you.

A positive online connection can be the beginning of a profitable professional relationship. Twitter and its 310 million users are a great place to start making those connections.

Editor’s note: Sarah Collins is a summer intern at Fronetics Strategic Advisors. She is a rising sophomore at James Madison University, College of Business studying Marketing. You can find her on LinkedIn.

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