“Twitter for business” is a phrase that polarises opinion. Some view Twitter as a fad and the embodiment of the time-wasting social media movement. While Twitter initially started out as a micro-blogging platform, it has grown to become a social network in its own right, as well as a real-time search engine.
And because of the platform’s ability to facilitate networking, research and offer huge broadcast capability, Twitter is increasingly being used by businesses as a communication channel to entice and engage customers and prospects.
Principles of engagement
Content really is king when it comes to Twitter. And there are a number of ways in which businesses operating in the trade / business-to-business environment can create, broadcast and share high quality, relevant content to target audiences through having a focused Twitter strategy.
Only by adopting principles of engagement can companies effectively harness the relationship marketing opportunities that Twitter provides. In our view this starts by following the right people, sharing their content, building a reputation as a connector, getting people to interact with you, sharing your own relevant content and convincing them to buy, recommend or convert in other ways.
Twitter for business
Below are seven of the most useful ways that we think Twitter can be utilised by businesses operating in trade / b2b sectors.
1. To keep abreast of news / market developments. Sectors like packaging are well supported on Twitter with many publications and independent bloggers offering regular access to insightful news and comment. Even by just setting up an account and watching, you will be accessing useful information.
2. To share industry news and information. Taking this strategy early on in your Twitter experience ensures you are associated with content related to specific topics or sectors. This is important as it will drive interest in you and over time an expectation from those who follow you.
3. As a research tool. Twitter offers huge scope to run surveys. Asking for help, advice and opinion often solicits a response; it is after all human nature.
4. As prospect generation. Dealing with contacts the right way means you can in theory access traditionally hard-to-reach targets, bypassing their gatekeepers and the dreaded cold call.
5. To deliver ongoing customer service. This is especially relevant in technical markets, where it is beneficial to update customer groups on upgrades, new products and promotional offers. Twitter can also be used in this regard to make special promotional offers to opted in prospects and customers.
6. To use content to drive traffic to websites and landing pages. Much of the content that is provided on Twitter drives browsers to corporate sites, news pages, portals and other social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Linkedin.
7. To drive loyalty and advocacy. As a networking tool, Twitter can be used to draw people to you. Engaging with others and making referrals and recommendations positions you as a connector and someone to trust. After all, all business relationships start from a position of trust. In time, followers will share your content and evangelise about your approach.
Look before you leap
As with all marketing activity (particularly social media techniques which can take up time and be difficult to measure), don’t jump in without having a plan. Ask yourself – what do I want to achieve? Who is my audience? Who do I want to attract and interact with?
Bookmark the BDB blog for more in-depth analysis of Twitter in 2011 including reviews of professional Twitter clients, monitoring and measurement tools like Klout and how to integrate Twitter with other digital platforms to maximise audience reach.
Follow BDB on Twitter