How do you turn your Twitter followers into valuable prospects, customers and brand advocates? Robyn Pierce, head of social media at The Crocodile, provides six top tips
As marketing moves away from a quarterly campaigns approach towards a continuous dialogue, Twitter can help you tune in to what your target market is talking about. Joining in these conversations in a timely and appropriate manner is a key part of an effective nurture strategy, and one that can quickly and cost effectively help your business to acquire a position of stature and leadership.
True lead nurturing requires a one-to-one relationship, whereby a tailored response is triggered by an individual prospect’s behaviour. Being an effective listener, as well as good quality content and conversation, are key to cultivating long-term relationships and valuable repeat sales opportunities, so be sure to put your brand and trust building objectives before your sales agenda.
Here are six important areas to consider as you embed Twitter into your lead nurturing process.
1. Creating leads
Twitter is all about relationship building. It’s important to spend time cultivating a community of people who are interested in your knowledge and expertise, and who will share your information with people outside your immediate network.
For Twitter to pay dividends you have to put time and effort into building up your follower base. Proactively seek out and engage with people who are active on Twitter and likely to be interested in your brand. Be aware that following a disproportionately higher number of people than your number of followers can present a bad image and you might find it hard getting new followers. A ratio of 1:1 shows you are listening and being listened to, meaning you will be perceived as trustworthy.
2. Nurturing leads
Not even your most loyal followers on Twitter want to be bombarded with marketing messages. Twitter is about conversation and content. Try to forget about the sales process and think about the buying process from the point-of-view of your customer. What is going to be useful or interesting to them through the key nurture stages of awareness, consideration, shortlisting and buying?
Soliciting feedback will help you learn more about your prospects’ needs and interests, and help you recognise when a prospect is ready to move to a sales-
3. The role of content
Make your tweets engaging by including lots of links to the type of content that will help people gain knowledge about your specialist field. It is fine to tweet about your latest product news or case studies but don’t over do it. The number of conversational tweets should outweigh those containing marketing messages.
Don’t forget to include a call-to-action. Ask people to respond or, if you feel your tweet is particularly useful or valuable, to retweet. This will help extend your reach beyond your network of followers.
4. Sales messaging
People who engage with a brand on Twitter will expect a certain degree of marketing messaging but it is not the same as subscribing to a company newsletter. Your followers are savvy and will quickly punish companies that deliver sales pitches that masquerade as content. Always put your brand building and trust objectives ahead of your commercial agenda. It’s worth it and it works.
How and whether you use offers and sales messaging will come down to your company proposition. If you’re operating in a service-led rather than price-led, or high-value, low-volume market, your prospects will likely be more interested in case studies, benchmarking stats and points of difference than special offers.
5. Tracking with technology
There is a range of tools – some free, some paid for – that can help you monitor and manage Twitter. Which are right for you will depend on a number of factors, including ambition, objectives, the complexity of your Twitter management, and whether you want to align it with other social channels.
Track all outbound links from your tweets, and monitor your web assets for referred visitors from Twitter. Identify your key conversion goals and make sure you’re tracking against them to see where your Twitter activity is pushing prospects along your nurture path.
6. Tweeting responsibility
B2B marketing strategies don’t stop at the door of the sales department. A considered approach to managing the overlap between the functions is going to give the best results, particularly with a nurture approach to lead generation.
To be of value to the sales team, contacts need to be qualified and profiled before being passed on. Exactly how and when you hand over leads will depend on the nature of your product, your organisation, and the way you have structured your Twitter accounts.