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HOW TO: Use Twitter for b2b lead generation

 

Most marketers know that Twitter works as a platform for engagement and brand awareness for consumer and media brands, but not so many are harnessing Twitter’s full potential as a brilliantly effective lead generation channel. Did you know that 82% of social media leads to b2b businesses come from Twitter compared to just 9% from LinkedIn?

Many brands use Twitter for one of two functions. The first is customer service, where Twitter has given customers the power to make their voice heard, and brands have (mostly) reacted positively, engaging with them directly to answer questions, solve problems and respond to customers’ grievances.

The second, and probably more common use for b2b brands, is to use the social network like a megaphone for pushing sales messages out into the wider digital world (whether anyone is listening or not!). This communication is almost entirely one way and there is little opportunity for companies to know whether their messages are having an

So, how can businesses ensure they are getting a real return on their social marketing investment? If businesses want to tap into the valuable information that social tools like Twitter hold, then there are certain steps they need to take in order to fully discover the host of potential leads and prospects that Twitter holds.y effect. Anyone who follows a brand that does this will testify that other Twitter users will quickly either unfollow the brand or just tune them out.

1. Look at which channels your consumers are watching

The modern consumer will likely be checking their messages across a number of channels; social, email, web or mobile. So, when thinking about the ways you communicate with these tech-savvy individuals, businesses have to be careful not to miss the gaps. Migrating your email database across to Twitter is an effective way to see if you get more engagement with passive elements of your database in a different channel. Not only does this enable you to fin

d new ways to communicate with your customer base, but importing your email list and engaging with them ‘socially’ is a great way to transform them into advocates.

2. Consider who is following who

Rather than picking up your digital megaphone and shouting to whoever happens to be listening, a business must first find the right people online. Do a bit of digging; Who are following your competitors following? What kind of mentions are they getting? What kinds of people are following these business? This kind of information is vital in forming together a sophisticated marketing campaign that can target the right consumer

 with relevant content at the right time.3.

3. Listening to your customers’ conversations

When it comes to social interactions, quality relationships are always going to out-win quantity. While it is all very well gathering a mass of “followers”, it’s what you do with these fans that will really determine the success of your social marketing strategy. Listen to their conversations, watch their interactions with your competitors and join discussions on their level. Whether you are responding to customer service inquiries or keeping an eye on the hashtag at an event relevant to your business, it is important to stay in tune with your customers’ needs and preferences.

4. Develop personalised relationships with your fan base

Forming one-to-one relationships with customers may seem easier said than done when you consider that Twitter has 240 million active users worldwide, however as a b2b marketer you probably use data and analytics to segment and filter down to relevant contacts in all other parts of your online marketing and prospecting, so why not treat social in the same way? Pull data from prospects’ Twitter profiles such as location or job title, then use this to segment and filter your community into groups who have something in common with each other. With the added functionality of public or private lists, SocialBro enables businesses to curate these Twitter users, and engage with them with the right tweet at the right time.

5. Engage with the right people

You may have decided who your prospects are, but equally important is working out how to engage with them. Employees of brands, both big and small, are open about where they work in their Twitter profile. These are the people to build relationships with online – they’re often the ones on the front line using and buying the products and services you ultimately want to sell them. In b2b marketing and lead generation it’s easy to forget that ultimately people buy from people, even if they are doing it on behalf of the company they work for. For example, the person that’s in charge of the corporate Twitter account for a b2b brand like GlaxoSmithKline on @GSK is unlikely to be the one that either has decision-making power over buying your product, or who uses it every day. So, rather than only following and engaging with your prospects on a corporate level, why not follow the employees at the company? You could find yourself speaking with those who carryout the real business decision-making.

6. Transform your followers into powerful brand advocates

Some b2b brands are using Twitter successfully to develop relationships with their customers, like Oracle one of the biggest b2b brands in the world which follows many of its customers so that they can champion them if they’re sharing positive news or speaking at an event (for example, the Oracle Open World event earlier this year). This tactic has two positive outcomes; the ‘warm fuzzy feeling’ that customers receive when their praise is highlighted and the brand affiliation that comes with these customer and partner tweets. This is a great way to n

ot just cement customer relationships, but up-sell to other customers who follow the account by making them aware of the additional services Oracle can offer them and the results it’s driving for other businesses.

If brands can evaluate their 

social models in line with these criteria, they open the doors to a host of business leads and prospecting potential. In the days before social media, although partnerships could be brokered b

Social media has given business a platform to promote their partnerships, tying their name to innovative projects or exciting brands, for free. And, if brands carry out the right analytics they can truly capitalise on their social media investment. This works equally well for big and small b2b brands – in fact, if a small company is able to partner with a large, well-known brand, this allows it to ‘ride on the coat-tails’, generating publicity online. This can help with positioning in the market as well as showing success, and for those Twitter users that may be thinking of using your product or service, this will stick in their mind.etween companies that were mutually beneficial, to then get the word out there that they were partnering would have meant spending money on an advertising and awareness campaign. However, businesses don’t have to go down this route anymore.

It all comes down to understanding your business model and the customer base you are targeting. Find the individuals that you want to engage with on Twitter, then decide your strategy for how you are going to interest, praise or otherwise add something positive to their experience on Twitter, and you too will realise how it can be transformed into an extremely powerful personalised prospecting and lead generation tool.