Twitter’s tech champions: The B2B brands tweeting up the perfect storm
There has been a lot said about B2B brands on Twitter, but most (at least in the marketing arena), are now fully aware of its true potential. From tentative tweeters to social media megastars, the majority of B2B brands have at least dipped their toe in Twitter’s waters – but there remain the stubborn few that still need persuading.
The ‘but that’s a huge investment in time and resource’ conversation is still one that regularly rears its head in new business meetings, and it can be a tricky one to tackle.
So what’s the best way to combat this social cynicism? Essentially, we show them what they’re missing, demonstrating how to do it well, who’s doing it, and what rewards it’s reaping for them in a wider business context.
In keeping with that approach, we like to take a regular look at some of the brands practising what they preach themselves in the technology space, as well as some smaller brands that are tweeting up the perfect marketing storm:
@Salesforce – the software giant’s Twitter feed has the right sort of approach with colourful images, attention-grabbing headlines, entertaining blogs and helpful ‘how-to’ guides. It doesn’t have the largest following compared to its peers, but then it has chosen the diversification route, with a feed for partners, countries, developers, etc. It’s one way to work your Twitter feed, though you really need to be a very large brand to make it work. The Salesforce team also posts frequent content written by a host of different authors, giving it a multi-faceted and external appeal. It’s always good to ensure you invite other thought leaders to engage, as it boosts your own channels with relevant content.
@buffer – with over 400,000 followers, Buffer does a remarkable job of looking big but acting small. If you tweet the Buffer team a technical issue about their application, it will respond within 30 minutes. It’s a remarkable turnaround time, given Buffer’s global audience and user numbers. Not only that, but the tone is perfect, and very personal. That focus on relationship building is probably why it has the team at Buffer on its Twitter banner – also a nice idea. It integrates its Twitter chat nicely with email communications, too; a real-time, integrated approach many companies would do well to take on. We love it.
So what are the commonalities of a true Twitter champion?
- Regular tweets (at least three times daily)
- Variety really is the spice of life – brands that do it best ensure a wide range of content formats from a broad demographic of authors.
- They follow their customers, employees and influencers; because they understand this is the easiest and fastest way to grow their own following.
- They actively engage followers by commenting and asking questions on a regular basis, and they respond quickly with a personal voice.
- They use social media as a platform for brand communications (and they even say sorry when things go wrong, which demonstrates integrity and fosters trust).
Of course, it’s not just well-known brands such as Salesforce and Buffer that are tweeting up a treat, because SMEs in the tech space are reaping equally positive results. Challenger brands such as @Fairsail – who operate in the HR technology space – have built a strong and loyal Twitter following made up of a number of key industry analysts who regularly retweet Fairsail’s news and views to its thousands of followers (something of a social media slam dunk). The likes of @BrandWatch is also using the power of Twitter to its fullest potential, and despite still being a burgeoning SME, it has followers in the tens of thousands. Why? Because it exploits Twitter as a means to entertain and inform its stakeholders. It is visual, interactive, topical, and shares analytics insights that even your grandma would understand.
So, what’s the number one rule?
Perseverance and consistency are especially key to long-term social media rewards in B2B. Longer sales cycles require a marathon approach, so it’s important that your social media team (or person) receives the right training. The benefits of this will show in your stream, and do wonders for your online positioning. It will also help to limit error and mitigate reputational risk, because let’s face it, company Twitter crimes are still commonplace, and even the savviest of social brands have been caught out.
And don’t forget to…
Manage the board’s ROI expectations. Often easier said than done, but whether you’re testing the Twitter waters, or are already fully immersed in it, you will need to carefully manage it so that its wider business benefits remain at the forefront of your directors’ minds at budget allocation time.