To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question. How useful is Twitter in B2B marketing?

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I, like many others, first viewed Twitter as a fairly useless marketing tool in the business to business marketing box. How could a few words telling people what you are ‘doing now’ help grow your brand or build your reputation? But, it seems, I was wrong. Not one to sideline something until I give it a try, I dived into the Twitter pool a little while back and swam with the Tweeters. And now I’m a convert.

LinkedIn and Facebook (two other very useful tools in the marketing armour) have the status update feature that Twitter has. But these seem to get a bit lost in all the other information. Twitter instead gives you an easily digestible snapshot of information in 140 characters or less (officially known as a Tweet). Pretty useful when you have a few projects on the go.

For personal users, the Tweet is all about what they’re doing, where they’re going, how they feel. However, for business users it is less personal and can be used to share information, notify people of ‘something new’ or, very simply, raise and discuss issues.

So how do you go about using Twitter? Well, the first step is to create a Twitter profile. I would suggest that you update the background with your branding and write a good, relevant bio. Both help to encourage people to follow you.

How Twitter works is that you ‘follow’ relevant people and they ‘follow’ you. Following means that you can view their posts and respond to them. You are fully in charge of who you follow and who you don’t, which is great as you don’t waste time reading irrelevant posts and can really focus on what interests you.

The second step is to find the right people to follow. People that work within the same area as you. Have the same interests as you. People you want to connect with. I would strongly recommend following the Twitter experts (Twexperts?) as they regularly give up great tips that make using it easier. To find relevant people to follow, there is a search facility where you can use your keywords to find the right people or companies. This throws up a plethora of profiles that you can then choose to follow, or not. There is also a great little tool called Twitter Search that allows you to search for keywords in the content of Tweets. Again, you get a list of these and can choose to follow the Tweeters and join in with the discussion.

When you first join, I would spend a little time reading the Tweets. Get a grasp of how it works and what is acceptable. There is a certain etiquette to using Twitter and with a bit of research at the beginning, you’ll soon pick it up.

Having only 140 characters makes you keep your Tweets punchy, which is actually a blessing as readers can quickly see if it’s relevant to them and then click on a link if they want to read more. In fact most Tweets contain links to advice, interesting articles, launches and useful resources.

Because Twitter runs in real-time, you can start a dialogue with other Tweeters that are relevant to you and your brand right here, right now. A very powerful tool. Even more powerful is the ability to ‘Retweet’. When Tweeters find posts they like with links to other websites, your website or your blog, they Retweet it. Which means they forward that Tweet to everyone following them. With some Tweeters having over 10,000 followers, the implications for brand exposure are pretty damn good.

A word of warning here though. Tweeters are savvy folk and don’t take kindly to sales tactics. Keep your content relevant and they will stay with you. Start using Tweets as an advertisement or put too many links back to your website for no apparent reason, they will not.

Before you start using Twitter strategically, I would first decide your objectives as this will define your Twitter activities. Do you want to use it to speak directly to your client/customer base? Do you want to use it to increase exposure of your blog (this works particularly well)? Do you want to use it as a way of getting feedback from clients/customers and support them? Once you are clear on this, you can also put some metrics in place to measure that it’s working.

So who is using Twitter? Well the list includes journalists, designers, architects, event organisers, recruiters, global brands, schools, individuals, I even managed to find pretty much all UK councils on there. And the list is growing on a daily basis.

And how can it work as part of your marketing strategy? If you or your company writes a blog (full of useful, interesting articles of course) then Twitter can become part of the branding campaign by linking relevant people to the blog. If you don’t have a blog, it can be used as a tool to direct people to your website (with good reason for them to be there, naturally). As an added bonus, this can also have a positive affect on your SEO. Of course it also allows you to build relationships with people in your network through open dialogue that can later be taken ‘offline’ and into the real world.

I’m certain there are, and will be, more uses for Twitter as its potential grows. It’s still early days, but I for one am onboard and looking to the future. As I uncover more, I will be sure to write about it here, so please check back for more. Or you could always follow me of course @gemmawent.

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1 Comment
  1. Dan Tansey says:

    Hi Gemma,
    Like this Blog. Very useful.
    Hope everything’s going well with the new business!

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