Although LinkedIn and Google+ are heralded as the most effective lead generation social platforms, Twitter users seem to be communicating with B2B companies on this micro-blogging platform with the same amount of ease- if not more. According to a recent study, 30% of users search for B2B brands on Twitter, and 11% who saw a relevant tweet from a B2B brand eventually converted into a valid lead by completing form on the company's site (Tweet This!).
With over 85% of B2B businesses establishing themselves on Twitter to reach this audience, you don't need further persuasion on creating a profile. You've done that already. This post is for enhancing whatever you've done so far, to help you take a look at the anatomy of a successful B2B Twitter profile and see how your company's page stacks up. Here's what a lead-generating B2B Twitter profile should look like:
The Engaging New Look
A couple months ago, Twitter gave their user interface a face-lift. If you haven't already converted your page to the new look, you'll have to manually log in to your account and agree to the changes. But before you do this, resize all your images to fit the new specs listed below (or risk your profile looking very pixelated and unprofessional):
- Header: 1500 pixels wide and 500 pixels high
- Profile Photo: 400 pixels by 400 pixels
- Background Image: This has been completely removed
The new Twitter profile is very similar to Facebook pages. With a more image-focused design, you'll have a chance to really make an impact on those coming to your page for the first time. If your image is dull and doesn't fully communicate your brand's message, take some inspiration from the leading B2B companies on Twitter.
You can also use the header space more dynamically, showcasing current contests or marketing campaigns. Marketo (always an innovator when it comes to B2B visual marketing) uses the new header space to amplify an ongoing roadshow campaign. Additionally, they fully-optimized the header space by including the Twitter handles of their leading company experts in the lower right-hand corner. Take advantage of the increased visual real estate by including relevant hashtags or contact information within the image.
Conversely, you can use this space to showcase your product or service. Catepillar Inc. chose to display their heavy construction equipment and machinery in an eye-catching manner. Choose an environment that will speak to benefits of your product, service, or widget.
Tweeting Engaging Content
In addition to the header and profile transformations, the Twitter developers boosted the look and feel of your content as well. Similar to the functionalities of LinkedIn and Facebook, you're now able to pin a tweet to the top of your Twitter profile. You can choose to pin your best performing tweet, current social campaigns, new contests, product announcements, behind-the-scene images, videos, etc.
But before you start deciding which pin should be reallocated to the top spot on your profile, start with revisiting the basics of the perfect tweet. What elements combine to create a relevant message that spurs sharing and action?
1. Share content that moves the reader down the marketing funnel.
This means white papers, eBooks, offerings and lead forms. Don't get stuck into thinking that Twitter is used solely for running contests or maintaining your brand's image. Studies show that Twitter is a very powerful lead generation tool, outperforming Facebook and LinkedIn 9 to 1 (Tweet This!). You won't, however, generate these leads if you don't supply your readers with engaging content fit for every purchasing stage.
2. If you want to generate leads, optimize each of your 140 characters.
Hubspot, the most retweeted B2B vendor, has amassed over 401K followers using the following best practices:
- Keep tweets between 120 and 130 characters, to allow for easy sharing (Tweet This!).
- Include Twitter handles of other brands when sharing their content.
- Don't force hashtags and use them sparingly.
- Present your link in the beginning half of your tweet- the earlier you present the link, the more you grab the reader's attention and increase click-through rates.
- Shorten your links to 20 characters using Ow.ly or Bit.ly.
- A bonus tip from Buffer: Use the most retweetable words like you, twitter, blog, social, please, free, media, and help.
3. Add more photos and images.
According to Buffer, image-based tweets outperform tweets without photos by 18 percent in terms of clicks. Tweets with photos also receive 150 percent more retweets than those without images (Tweet This!). For B2B marketers, your goal is to move the visitor down the marketing funnel, and you do this through engagement. Use alluring and relevant images to convince the user to download a white paper or fill out a lead form.
With the new Twitter enhancements, your best performing tweets will appear larger and more pronounced among your stream of messages. That means those with the highest retweets, replies, and favorites will be more impactful to the visitor- all the more reason to optimize each and every tweet.
After optimizing your account, invest in Twitter's two marketing products- promoted accounts and promoted tweets. The former offers a chance to endorse your profile to win new followers. While promoted tweets essentially do the same, you can use these for specific marketing campaigns, white paper releases, product updates, etc.
Both allow detailed targeting capabilities, which is important because you'll be paying on a cost per engagement basis. That is, whenever a user RT's, favorites, or even clicks on your ad, you'll be charged. So use the targeting functions depending on your marketing goals and the purchasing stage of your potential audience. Visit ads.twitter.com, login, and create your promoted tweet or profile.