In our ‘Masterclass’ series, we will look at how specific social media channels can be of great benefit to your organisation. Firstly, we will offer ten tips on how to leverage Twitter effectively.
In a previous blog we examined why social media marketing has become an essential tool to market your business and offered five tips on how to use it effectively in a technology PR context. While social media can offer great B2C opportunities and brand representation for your company, B2B social media can also offer significant benefits. We will tell you about the great free apps you can use to analyse your audience and what makes Twitter tick for you. We will show you how social media is an important component of your digital strategy; the value of perfect timing; how to become known, respected and liked as an organisation; and the benefits for your corporate reputation.
1. Great free apps to help you post and analyse performance
The simplest way to post on Twitter is, of course, logging into your Twitter account and sending out tweets. However, there are great free apps you can use for posting tweets, which can streamline the process for more advanced users. Hootsuite and Tweetdeck allow you to centralise your social media accounts - if your company has multiple Twitter accounts as well as LinkedIn and Facebook - in one site and scroll between them without having to constantly log in and out. It also allows you to schedule tweets to send out at specified future times, allowing you to build up a bank of tweets. Both platforms also provide analytics so you can measure your reach and campaign performance.
Twitter provides lots of analytical data you can read through to see how your tweets are performing. Retweets, replies and likes will also show how well your tweets are doing and which style of tweets works best. There is also Moz which can give you an insight and statistics about your followers and competitors through its Followerwonk app. so you can see when the most effective time to tweet is. You can also use the free twitter analytics to see which tweets are having the greatest impact for your company.
- TweetReach provides a great variety of measurement analytics, showing the reach of your account, brand, hashtags and campaigns. It gives you a great insight into the effectiveness of your tweets;
- Twitter Counter offers actionable analytics with insights into tweet performance as well as advertising options and growth data;
- Twitonomy gives a detailed analysis of tweets sent from any account, allowing you to keep an eye on the competition as well as finding out who you follow on Twitter but who hasn’t followed you back.
2. Understand your audience and your competitors
It’s worth researching mentions of your own business, your competitors, your customers and other businesses that will be of strategic interest to you – use the apps and track them on Twitter.
With 92% of Irish journalists using Twitter on a weekly basis to research and publicise stories, you could be missing out on up-to-the-minute news which will have an impact on your business. Technology journalists are especially prominent on Twitter, so you will be able to keep up to date with the latest news which could impact on your company. You want to be first to hear about that tech-multinational announcing its investment in Ireland in case you can offer them your services as a supplier and steal a march on your competitors.
3. Time to engage
Now you understand your target audience from a B2B social media perspective, it’s time to engage. Firstly, follow those who are of strategic importance and draw up a content marketing plan featuring tweets that will be of interest to them as well as your customers. If, for example, your target segment is in the business of routinely collecting large amounts of sensitive data and you provide data security solutions, then a series of tweets regarding the importance of data security and why you’re the industry leader in the field will be of interest to them. Following them and appropriate ‘hashtagging’ will make your content visible to them and other businesses seeking such services too.
Hashtags are keywords preceded with the # symbol which is searchable on Twitter. If you are sending tweets which you want your potential customers to find, using appropriate hashtags in your tweets can help. For instance, if your business sector is Irish technology and your content is relevant in a B2B context, you could use the hashtags #irishtech and #B2B. Hashtags in turn improve click through rates to your site and increase engagement. They also give you an opportunity to find, begin and participate in chats based on common interests.
Another area to increase engagement and visibility for your tweets is tagging. This is including the Twitter handles of people you think will be interested in the content you are tweeting which then becomes visible to them through their notifications. It also exposes you to their followers. Of course, it’s good manners to build a relationship with people you’re tagging in your tweets first, you don’t want to be seen as a spammer!
Another great way to build up a B2B Twitter following and get to know other organisations is live tweeting at a seminar or other corporate event. Most events now provide their own hashtag which you can use to share quotes and your views on the talks at the event. This will be visible to other B2B Twitter followers in the room following the conversation online.
4. Make a good impression
Creating a good first impression is key. You want other businesses and customers to see that your company is vibrant, professional and engaging. Using professional images with your tweets will encourage up to 91% more engagement than plain text tweets achieve. Make sure your branding is consistent across all your social media channels and website to further convey professionalism. You also need to be consistent. Have a feed of Tweets ready to go.
5. Have a chat
Many like-minded professionals use Twitter as a B2B social media networking tool so don’t be afraid to have a chat with them. This can be done by creating your own personal profile connected with your company if you wish to add that personal touch or through your company account. In turn this can generate sales leads without leaving your office and help build up your B2B Twitter following. With over 1 million tweets sent in Ireland alone every day, it’s highly likely that some of them are of interest to you from a business perspective.
6. Timing is everything
It may sound like a cliché, but timing is everything when it comes to Twitter. With so many tweets being generated, the visibility of your tweets doesn’t last for long. Therefore, you want your tweet to go out at an optimum time to maximise exposure. You can find out what the best time to tweet is by using a great free service called Followerwonk which shows you the times that your followers are most likely to be on Twitter. You can see an example of the report showing when Comit’s followers are online. Tools such as Hootsuite and TweetDeck have scheduling systems which send your tweet automatically based on the times your previous tweets performed best. If you’re tweeting a lot of content, try to space your tweets 15 minutes apart as constant tweeting will alienate your followers and you will lose them as a result.
7. Become a thought leader
Businesses want to work with companies they see as leaders in their respective industries. To achieve this, take a look at the big influencers in your industry and see how they interact with followers. Becoming a thought leader requires significant time investment but the resulting sales opportunities will see your company reap the rewards.
8. It’s not all about you
Although Twitter is a fantastic platform to advertise your business, a constant stream of self-promotional content will soon bore your audience. Twitter is a two-way street and offering tweets which are of interest to them and not about your business will be valued. Occasional appropriate humour and light-heartedness will also show a human element to your organisation. Take the time to say nice things about others will reap rewards.
9. Reach out and connect
Once you’re up to speed on how Twitter works be prepared to seize the marketing and sales opportunities when they arise. Follow people you are interested in. They may well follow you back. Listen carefully: somebody seeking advice or help on Twitter may be a prospect. You can directly message them if they follow you and offer help and advice. Alternatively, if you’re at an industry conference or event, follow their live tweet hashtag to identify new networking opportunities in the room.
10. Become the conversation starter
Now that you or your company has established itself as an important organisation on Twitter, it should now become the conversation starter. Ask questions that you know will generate interesting answers. Other tweeters are more likely to answer your questions if you have done the same for them in the past. The ‘poll’ feature in Twitter can bring some fun into the mix.
If you have any queries or comments regarding our Twitter Masterclass or would like us to tackle any other PR/Communications subjects in our blog please let us know via the comment section below or contact us!