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Katy Allaire
by Katy Allaire
on November 20, 2015

Twitter is one of the top social networks in terms of reach with more than 300 million active users . As a marketing tool, the network is an excellent way to participate in sharing brand information as well as connecting with consumers and other professionals in your industry. For B2C companies, any social network makes sense, as it will surely connect the brand to its consumers. B2B companies, however, may be hesitant about using social networks like Twitter for marketing purposes and indeed many B2B companies have admitted that utilizing social media for lead generation can be difficult (). In understanding how best to utilize Twitter, you will see how it can actually prove very beneficial for generating leads and improving your brand's image.

Why Twitter?

Most B2B businesses cite LinkedIn as the most effective use of social media investment. But according to one survey, Twitter is actually just behind LinkedIn in terms of the number of B2B’s using the network with 85% vs. LinkedIn's 91%. 

The reason B2B’s gravitate towards LinkedIn is due to the notion that, as a professional network, the audience is most similar to their target demographics including industry leaders and business executives. However, LinkedIn is not the only network these professionals are using. This market is using Twitter to network, too.

Despite LinkedIn’s reputation in the B2B market, Twitter outweighs the benefits of B2B connections from both Facebook and LinkedIn, with an outperformance of 9 to 1 for lead generation.

 

Preliminary Research

Still unsure of whether your brand will benefit from using Twitter? The best way to determine whether starting an account will grow your network is by conducting some research to find your target audience. Try searching for terms that your target audience would use to describe themselves.  For example, if you are in the technology industry, search for profiles with the term “system administrator” in them. You might be surprised to discover how many professionals are on Twitter!

These professionals will be people that you want to follow to build your brand's account. It is important to note here that anyone can see who you follow. Therefore, who you follow is a reflection on your brand’s image.

 

Twitter Strategy

You’ve conducted your research and you decide to give Twitter a shot. Now what? As with any new marketing venture, you will want to determine a strategy for your account. As a professional brand, you will want to develop a good reputation, as this will aid in building your following. Remember that being cautious of whom you follow is important to maintain your brand’s image.

 

Much like discovering if professionals in your industry are using Twitter, you will use the same search tools to begin following accounts. Search for terms with your industry. Given the technology example: search keywords such as software development, database management, or cloud computing to uncover users within your industry. These terms can be used to search tweets or accounts, which means, you can find accounts that are specifically discussing technology and/or posts where users have discussed the topic. Either way, you will discover new accounts that might be worth following.

Determining the content you will post on your account is equally as important as gaining a following. You need to give your followers something to read, something that will allow them to learn more about your brand. Positioning your brand as a thought leader in the industry by sharing current news articles or congratulating successes by leaders in your industry will make your brand look well-connected to the industry and users will trust the content you post, whether it is shared or organic.

 

Twitter Advertising

You invest time in your Twitter account to build a reputable following, connect with industry professionals, and share quality information about your brand. So, how does all of this hard work assist in creating B2B leads? To find success in lead generation on Twitter, the utilization of Twitter advertising is where your brand will invest its budget.

Advertising is a fairly new focus for Twitter and by Quarter 4 of 2014 the brand totaled $220 million in ad revenue, which was a 121% increase year-over-year. B2B brands are taking the risk by investing in a newer concept in the hopes of increasing leads.

Twitter refers to advertised content as ‘promoted’ which refers to promoted tweets, accounts, or trends (aka trending topics through hashtags). To utilize this feature, your brand would select a specific tweet to be promoted. Essentially, the promoted tweet is the same content that your brand shares on its Twitter profile. The difference is that Twitter is posting this content to reach a demographic outside of your brand's current following. Twitter will promote your content when users search terms similar to that content (for example: programming) or profile information such as location.

This is why content you are posting on your Twitter needs to be relevant to the industry, informative, and thematic. Should your brand decide to promote a specific tweet and a user clicks your profile, this user will expect similar content from you. Be sure that whichever tweets you opt to promote epitomize your brand.

So, how successful has Twitter been in developing lead generation? Bop Design, a website design and B2B internet marketing agency, conducted an experiment to compare success of a LinkedIn campaign to a Twitter campaign. The agency found more success in utilizing Twitter for lead generation.

 

Here are the results of each campaign:

            LinkedIn – 50 ad-clicks, 2 downloads

            Twitter – 22 ad-clicks, 14 downloads

The success rate?

            LinkedIn:          4%

            Twitter:             63.4%

 

Bop Design noted that LinkedIn can still prove beneficial in launching campaigns, but Twitter is an untapped market for B2B companies, which equates to higher quality results.

Twitter is still considered relatively new in terms of lead generation. Your B2B brand can take advantage of this network to develop professional connections and increase leads within a social market that is not saturated by an abundance of competitors. In creating a profile that provides high-quality information and key industry trends, your brand can find much success in fostering lead generation.

 

ROI & Inbound Marketing

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