I was a Twitter for business skeptic - I'll admit it.
Followers: 596 - SOOO close to 600, but I refuse to follow someone just to get the reciprocal follow
Tracked clicks on tweets: 875
Top 10 @B2BOnlineMktg tweets by number of clicks in the first 30 days:
- 4 Ways Companies Use Twitter for Business (ReadWriteWeb): http://ow.ly/1vza RT @SocialMedia411 (92 clicks)
- Business.com launches conversion tracking to help advertisers unlock the B2B web analytics "black box" http://ow.ly/1lwk (56 clicks)
- Sometimes good to laugh at ourselves - fun If B2B Emails Could Talk video from @berelevant http://ow.ly/1vjQ (51 clicks)
- Business.com launches local business search, additional site changes at #sesny. http://ow.ly/1lfa (48 clicks)
- Social media metrics - measuring engagement on Twitter from web analytics guru Jim Sterne (@jimsterne) http://ow.ly/11NS (44 clicks)
- Incredibly good guide to Twitter for B2B marketers just getting started - from @DesignerDepot http://ow.ly/1H9u #twitter #marketing (42 clicks)
- 27 Twitter Applications Your Small Business Can Use Today from @myfindsonline http://ow.ly/1zvg #marketing #twitter (28 clicks)
- What factors affect web site landing page conversion rate? Great model from @dericloh http://ow.ly/1UgB#ppc #seo #wa (24 clicks)
- How marketers are using facebook, twitter, apps and widgets. from @adage http://ow.ly/1GY4 (23 clicks)
- Shameless plug - sign-up for our B2B search marketing e-newsletter for insights longer than 140 characters! http://ow.ly/SSw (23 clicks)
In the spirit of taking a much more open and positive view after some experience using Twitter, watching stats, observing what types of posts are most popular and doing my share of tweeting, retweeting, direct messaging, following, searching and more, I'd like to offer some suggestions to B2B marketers interested in trying Twitter for their own businesses:
Top 5 "Must Do" List for New Business Twitter Users
1) Start with the Ultimate Guide for Everything Twitter from Webdesigner Depot to get oriented to Twitter.
There are many more great guides out there, but this is the best broad, practical overview I've found. Kudos to the authors. Suggest your favorite general Twitter overviews - digestible by someone planning to use Twitter in their business - by adding a comment below.
2) Next, shift into business mode - read the Twitter for Business guide from Business.com's Shara Karasic.
Great stuff. She's a good tutor. Also check out 4 Ways Companies Use Twitter for Business from Sarah Perez at ReadWriteWeb.
3) Understand your business purpose for using Twitter, and align your Twitter strategy/tactics with that purpose.
For example, are you looking to build a relatively unknown brand? If so, then:
- Determine your topic niche and stick to it - the narrower and more clearly defined, the better. Be the expert on something.
- Set-up saved Twitter searches on topics that matter so you know who else is tweeting and what's being said (we use HootSuite to manage everything, but there are other options)
- Dive into the conversation by posting valuable new information
- Identify and use common, relevant keywords and hashtags - after all, this is how most new people will find you
- Retweet valuable information on your niche topic from others
- Be consistent to build a following
- Encourage your customers, contacts and others to follow you on Twitter once you're comfortable with the process and feel like you're getting the hang of it.
Do you have an established, popular brand but want to be an active participant in the social media conversations around your company? If so, then:
- Use a company- or product-branded Twitter account - be upfront with who you are
- Set-up saved Twitter searches on variations of your company and product names, including common misspellings
- Dive in and provide useful information or support to those already talking about your brand
- Be human - repeating stock company soundbites repeatedly doesn't work
- Know when to take the conversation outside of Twitter - reminds me of the training we used to get when I was at eBay about how to handle very upset customers at eBay Live...acknowledge their concerns, walk with them away from the booths or public spaces, and bring them to someone who can solve their issue ASAP.
Those are just a few examples. If your business purpose for using Twitter starts and stops with "I want to use it to blast my marketing message everywhere!" then you need to reconsider Twitter and social media more generally. It won't work, and you'll annoy a lot of people in the process.
4) Establish your Twitter metrics.
I know that for a lot of people social media is really cool, fun, something "you've just got to try!", etc.. But this is Twitter for B2B marketers. Its for business. We need to have metrics.
What metrics matter also depends on your business purpose for using Twitter (see above). Building your brand? Focus on building followers and Twitter engagement metrics. Addressing negative company mentions? Grow the ratio of positive to negative tweets about your company. Check out the metrics available in TwitterCounter, Twitter Grader, and Twitalyzer for a sense of possible Twitter key metrics.
5) Tweet away!
I've always admired great business people, and high achievers more generally, for their ability to just jump in and go for it. There's no better way to learn Twitter for business than to use Twitter for business. Things will go right. Things will go wrong. You'll look back at your early posts and shudder. Such is life. Jump in, remember that you're in business mode and go for it!