10 Twitter Musts for B2B Brands

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If you are going to use Twitter as a channel for your B2B brand then you must be strategic. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of time. By incorporating these Twitter musts, you can actually begin to see ROI (return on investment) for your social media marketing efforts.

Share original content

Twitter feeds on great content. If you produce relevant content that your audience wants to read, you are starting a conversation. You must have a content marketing plan in place to execute this. I adhere to the 50/30/20 rule, wherein 50 percent of content is original content that attempts to answer questions, provide education and nurture the relationship; 30 percent is third party content that complements your original content; and 20 percent is purely promotional.

For the 50 percent part of the pie, it’s great to come up with a monthly featured topic, and break it down to lots of formats: eBooks, whitepapers, blogs, infographics and video, all of which you can share on Twitter. Original content that resonates with your audience and allows them to learn or have a broader understanding will get liked and shared and can lead to conversions.

Share partner and third party content

For the 30 percent part, you should curate content that makes sense for your brand, monthly topic and partnerships. You should have a third party content spreadsheet, identifying the organizations that you feel align with your brand. Examples include trade groups, publications in which you advertise, thought leaders/SMEs (subject matter experts) and those companies of which you have official and unofficial partnerships. Sharing their content of course increases the chance, they’ll share yours.

Engage with your audience

I analyzed a Twitter account recently for a brand that had been on Twitter since 2008, and they had a total of 288 likes. So in almost nine years, they’ve only liked 288 tweets. That’s not how Twitter works. You have to be engaged. You must like tweets that mention your brand (where appropriate) or those from your partners and thought leaders. The same thing applies to retweeting.

Respond

Twitter is a place where clients often bring concerns or successes to the conversation. If you are asked a question about your product or service, answer it or at least acknowledge it and respond via direct message. Not responding at all only makes a negative experience worse, and if the tweet is positive, your “fan” feels ignored.

Include CTAs (calls to action)

Why do you tweet? Do you really see Twitter as a channel for content or a necessary evil? To use it as a channel, you must guide a prospect to the next step. Most interaction between prospects and brands would be considered the Awareness stage of the buyer’s journey so that means they are just determining they have a problem. Using Twitter to publish original content that answers questions and educates transforms it into a meaningful channel for lead generation. Your post should be a quick summary with keywords hashtagged, include a photo and end with a CTA like read our blog or explore our options. It’s a meaningful ask that propels the user.

Grow followers legitimately

This is a PSA to urge you to never buy followers. Buying followers as well as using “bots” to make a post seem like it has more likes and shares continues to be an issue. Bots are really algorithms working behind the scenes. Bots look like real profiles to a lot of users, however social media marketers and influencers can spot it. Using bots may seem like a great way to “viral” or engage real users, but I would never recommend it. If you’re just “buying” engagement then what’s the point of using Twitter as a true lead gen channel.

Tag correctly

As I’ve discussed, it’s important to share the content of partners and engage with your followers. That means tagging profiles properly. If you are sharing a piece of content from a partner, then use their handle as a mention as well as the actual author of the content. This is a simple way to expand your reach. Always use handles when replying as well.

Hashtag responsibly

Just because it’s a keyword in your niche industry doesn’t mean it will have any hashtag relevance on Twitter. Twitter uses hashtags as a way to determine what’s trending and for users to search based on a particular phrase or word. Don’t over hashtag. My advice is three max in a tweet. Not sure if your keyword is a real hashtag, just search it on Twitter.

Measure and tweak

Of course measurement is an important part of ROI. But measuring just the basics of follower growth and engagement (based on shares and likes) isn’t enough. You must put context around the data. You should be benchmarking against competitors as well as determining what your actual reach and visibility are. For instance, if you had 50 likes in a month with only 500 followers, that’s decent. But it would be immaterial if you have 10,000.

You should also be measuring how Twitter is working as a channel. What’s the click through on your links? How does Twitter compare as a referrer compared to other social media platforms or organic search?

Once you start compiling data then you need to make it actionable. If the data reflects infographics are liked and shared more than any other content then consider increasing the number of those. Do more of what works; less of what doesn’t.

Have fun

B2B companies often miss this important mark on Twitter. They’re overly promotional and seem like a machine rather than a human. Stop taking yourself so seriously. There are so many national days and holidays that provide you the opportunity to tweet a trending hashtag and show off your lighter side. Resist being too cheesy.

Here’s an example: June 29 is Talk in an Elevator Day; you could suggest some fun topics like, “Ask your fellow elevator passengers their top three favorite movies.”

Twitter and its abbreviated lingo can be a great way to connect with many different buyers. Keep in mind that it’s not all about you, your products and your awesomeness. You must give to get in the Twitterverse. If you don’t have a defined strategy that includes goals, actions and KPIs (key performance indicator) then it’s really just throwing up some random content and seeing what sticks. So do these 10 key tactics and see what happens! I’d love to hear your Twitter musts for B2B, tweet me at @bethfosborne.

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Are long forms killing your landing page conversions?

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Listen, I know you want a lot of information on prospects that download your gated content. But some brands need a reality check on the value of their offer compared to the information requested. I saw an offer today on LinkedIn. The asset offer was for a research paper so I understand that it took time to create it. Analysis and conclusions take work to develop. But I’d be very curious to know what their bounce rate is for this landing page. I’m going to guess it’s high because these are the things they request on the form:

  • First and last name
  • Company name
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Number of employees
  • State
  • Country
  • Currently use their products

These are all required fields! If I had to put this piece of content in a buyer’s journey stage (haven’t read it, just inferring from the little information provided), I would say it’s either awareness or consideration. I lean a bit more toward awareness because the “value” of the research paper is to prove that doing X leads to Y. And Y is something a prospect would be happy about. In the awareness stage, it makes more sense to ask for less information. It’s the getting to know you phase. I recommend asking for name and email only. With a prospect opting into email, you have a channel to communicate and nurture the relationship by providing more content and eventually a decision stage offer of a consultation, price quote or demo.

I checked other platforms. The same offer is on Twitter and FaceBook; no distinction at all between the three posts (not even a hashtag on Twitter). I also know this is a global company with thousands of employees, and I would assume a healthy marketing department and budget.

I’m sure this is a very valuable asset, but the execution and promotion are off. Here is how I’d fix it:

Does the landing page practice good conversion-centered design? I’d say no. Here are some areas of improvement.

Context: Have they considered the context of where someone might be landing from? No. By posting on social media, it can be shared with people that don’t follow their brand. And those people have no context about who the brand is. Read more on context here.

Clarity: The posts for the asset say it’s a research paper and provide a name of someone who worked on it, but none of that is on the landing page. Also, if they are going to use someone’s name then they should tag the person so that people understand he or she is a credible source.

Congruence: This is big fail. Every element of the landing page should align with the goal. The goal is to get users to download the asset. Yet on the actual landing page there is one sentence and eight fields.

Closing: This principle focuses on getting the click. There are many elements on the page that influence conversions. This landing page has little context and requests a lot of information. Its call to action is simply “submit,” which is a negative word, at least subconsciously. There are many other positive words and phrases to use that can propel a user to convert.

In addition to the improvements need to align with conversion-centered design, their promotion strategy seems to be nonexistent. They should post it on social media based on the platform: FaceBook (visual), Twitter (use a hastag and tag the writer) and LinkedIn (longer post and tag writer).

So I guess you could say I’m silently critiquing your landing pages. If you’d like me to do it out loud, send me a note and let’s chat.

 

Social Media Marketing: Be Strategic, Not Random

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Why do so many brands treat social media like an afterthought? The randomness and complete lack of a strategy is quite frankly, shocking. In other words, it’s better to do nothing than to do it poorly

This is what I imagine might be happening in business across the world. It’s like one day in a panic Bob from sales called Linda in marketing and said start posting stuff on social media. Linda has a FaceBook account and a profile on LinkedIn so she’s basically an expert, right? Then Linda starts haphazardly throwing up posts and links. Ninety days later, social media marketing hasn’t brought them any quality leads, and no one engages with their content. Why didn’t it work? There’s one clear answer: they didn’t have a strategy or goals. Don’t be like Bob and Linda, do this instead:

Set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time bound) goals. If you don’t have an objective then it’s all for naught.

Create a content marketing plan. Here’s what I start with:

  • One focused topic monthly that is an eBook or Whitepaper
    • Recommend this is an “awareness” stage asset, meaning it should be education and information focused and place consideration on the user as being at the beginning of the buyer’s journey
  • Blogs on each of the points within your main asset
  • Repurpose the content into other formats: infographics, video
  • Create a landing page that offers your asset
  • Determine which platforms you want to post on – focus on three max. You can determine which ones are right for you based on your industry and where your ideal buyers and competitors are.
  • Find similar content by thought leaders in your industry. Quote the article in one of your blogs. Share third party content related to your topic.
  • In addition to the featured topic, place some additional blogs on your calendar that compliment the topic.

Next is execution:

  • Develop the content.
  • Build your landing page.
  • Determine keywords/hashtags you should highlight in your posts.
  • Then schedule your posts using a platform like Hootsuite

You aren’t finished. No need to go on autopilot. If users start engaging with you, show up! Thank people when they share your content. Answer questions. Encourage conversation. Ask questions when you post your content to prompt engagement.

Then it’s time to measure. What was your engagement? What posts were most popular? What posts led to conversions. And you have to look at all the data in context. If you earned 80 new followers in a week, why? If something is working, leverage it. If something failed, tweak it.

Your social media success is dependent more on relevant content than probably any other element. Posting a link to one of your web pages isn’t a strategy. I’m a bit embarrassed for brands that do this. You must add value to someone’s feed; otherwise, you’ll be quickly discarded.

Also, you’ve must cover and manage the details of posting. Does your image post correctly? Is your meta description displaying? Are your graphics professional and eye-catching? Are the pages you are linking to mobile-friendly? Users don’t click on links that don’t display correctly. It also makes your brand look incompetent. That’s the last emotion you want to conjure.

So just to recap, don’t be like Bob and Linda, throwing random content up and hoping something will stick. Start with a strategy, produce engaging content, post it on the platforms where your buyers are and measure!

Twitter Experiment: How will brands respond?

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In the past week, I ran a little experiment. I didn’t necessarily intend to, but it seemed like a good opportunity. I tried to engage three brands on Twitter. Only one responded, although late. So what does this say about all the consensus out there in social media marketing that Twitter is a great place to serve customers? Well, first, I think there are many brands out there that do a great job of engaging followers on Twitter. Hubspot wrote a great blog with some examples. The examples were wide ranging from consumer goods to a university to a research company.

My tweets to these brands were not negative or combative. I was trying to start a conversation. Maybe these brands don’t have a plan to respond or are too afraid. Here’s a look at my experiment.

Southwest Airlines

I wrote a blog recently about a trip on Southwest that turned into a nightmare. I wanted them to read it. I posted it with a call out of their handle on January 9.

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No response so I retweeted on January 12, calling them out for not using Twitter as a customer service channel. They replied, and we had a conversation via DM. I can report that I did receive a refund for the canceled flight, which was approximately what the rental car cost. But they did not make any attempt to further compensate me. They did apologize. I still am not overly impressed with their Twitter responsiveness, but it was better than the other two!

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L’Oreal

I don’t follow L’Oreal on Twitter, but I do use their products. Not really makeup, but shampoo, conditioner and hair styling products. A promoted tweet came up on my feed. Promoted means well they paid for it, and they must have the goal to increase followers. I didn’t think the tweet really answered what the value is for me to follow them, so I let them know this.

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Again, not I’m not trying to drag them in any way. Just trying to start a conversation. Tell me why I should follow you, and be more specific than news and updates. They could have responded and shown how powerful social media can be but instead just crickets.

Luzianne

I love iced tea. It’s the most southern thing about me. I don’t have a brand preference for tea bags, buying typically what is on sale or what I have a coupon for, so I go back and forth between Lipton and Luzianne.

So I came to the end of a 24 count box of Luzianne, only to be left with only three tea bags instead of four. It takes four tea bags to make a gallon, thus I should be able to make six gallons. Yet, for the third time, I seem to have been missing a tea bag. So I though Luzianne should know.

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Luzianne did not respond at all. I am thinking maybe this is something they should look into – I could’ve provided where I purchased the boxes because obviously, they are only putting 23 in there! No response to me means they either don’t care, aren’t aware or don’t know how to respond – which are all extremely concerning. So Luzianne, I can’t buy your teabags anymore.

I’d love to hear what you think about these Twitter fails. Tweet me, and let’s have a conversation!