05 Apr The B2B Guide to Getting Started on Twitter
You’ve heard about this thing called Twitter. Everyone is talking about it. They just celebrated their 5 year anniversary and one of the co-founders was even on Conan. In addition to the 480,000 new user accounts created each day and a 140 million tweets that are sent per day, I’d say they have gone mainstream. Twitter started out as a microblogging platform and quickly turned into a fantastic channel for companies to follow likeminded companies and individuals. Equally, other individuals and companies can follow your Twitter account. So anything you tweet about – news, fun stuff, links, published content, and more can be accessed by your followers. Think of it as a herd of people that are always staying tuned in to your business happenings (note: this means the good and the bad). You could be selling special snow mobiles that only work in the Antarctic, it doesn’t matter because on Twitter there will be an audience to tap from the ever-expanding user base of over 200 million users.
As a B2B seller of goods and services, you have an opportunity to use Twitter to complement your sales and inbound marketing initiatives by distributing content, building awareness, attracting new customers, and generating leads for your business. Follow these 6 steps to getting your Twitter marketing plan off to a solid start.
6 Steps to Getting Started on Twitter
Step 1: Complete your profile. The first thing you should do after setting up your account is adding a profile bio to you account. This is a 160 character statement that you should use to describe your brand, goals, ambitions, capabilities, like/dislikes, etc. Having a bio that describes your company will allow you to be more easily found by people searching for keywords related to your business. For personal profiles, you can be… well, a bit more personal than business profiles. After setting up a few profiles for businesses, I tend to opt for straight forward, no-frills 160 character positioning statements rich in two or three main keywords.
Step 2: Sharpen your tools. Sign up for a free social media management tool like HootSuite to manage your Twitter profile. There are tons of dashboards that work well for small business and small marketing teams – TweetDeck and UberSocial come to mind, but we prefer to use Hootsuite. These tools make it easy to schedule tweets, find other users, search for content, and see mentions. They also give the short urls for to shorten the url link and to track click thrus.
Analytics are mind-boggingly absent from twitter.com. The analytics in HootSuite allows you to compare click thru traffic against website traffic, view individual tweet stats, and find top referring sites.
It may seem weird at first to NOT use twitter’s own interface, but you can gain much more insight from some of the 3rd party tools out there.
Step 3: Get in tune with your target audience. There are a couple things to do here.
First, use Twitter’s “Find Friends” feature to look through your contacts on Gmail and LinkedIn. This is an easy way to let people who know you already that you exist on twitter.
Now, you need to start following influential people in your space who you don’t know (yet) and people who don’t know you.
One of the easiest ways you can do this is by using your keywords (think SEO keywords) in the search field of Twitter.com or HootSuite. For echogravity, this meant searching for terms like “inbound marketing” and “lead generation”. The most popular users (in terms of followership) are listed first for each term you search.
Simply start following those people. You can also read through their bio’s if you want to double check whether you want to be following them. I repeat, you should try to stay focused on the people in your “ecosystem”. Some users simply follow anyone and everyone to beef up their numbers. This doesn’t help you to build a focused following, it just means you’ll have a lot of followers and people that have no relation to your business.
Think about your business ecosystem – this means finding partners, prospects, thought leaders, competitors, customers, your employees, employees of competitors, industry blogs, and news sites. As you start to follow these people and monitor your timeline (the main twitter feed), you’ll find other like minded users who are mentioned by the people you follow. Start following them too. As you start to follow more and more people, people will follow you back and you will be listed in the “Suggested People to Follow” section. And to retain your followership make sure you are tweeting conent that is relevant to your user base. If your business is IT services, it probably doesn’t make sense to tweet about your political views.
Step 4: Find your ecosystem hashtags. Hashtags are the categorization/filing system used on twitter. It makes life easier by being able to find relative content about a subject area by simply typing in the hashtag in the search bar.
For example, I may want to see if there are any interesting users posting tweets under “#leadgen”. Many users also have saved searches for hashtags. So when you post/distribute your content and tweets, insert hashtags to categorize your tweets. This makes it easier to be found by fellow users who share the same interests, and the chances of being mentioned and retweets increase.
Step 5: Start Re-Tweeting. You might be wondering, what is a retweet? A retweet is when you copy and/or modify someone else’s tweet and tweet it to your follower base. For example, someone may tweet a piece of industry news that you would like to share. This is done by copying and pasting the original tweet and simply placing “RT” before the tweet or using Twitter’s embedded “Retweet” function. People like retweets because it gives them more exposure and it gives you more exposure. Any time you mention someone’s profile name “@echogravity” it will be shown on their home feed as well as your’s. Again, try to only retweet content that is relevant to your space. Twitter is not a numbers game, even though some people only worry about how many followers they have.
Step 6: Create some content and start tweeting. Now you are on your way. Creating unique content and tweeting it is ultimately the best way to build a relevant following to your business. The more often you tweet relevant content, the faster you will accumulate a (relevant) following.
And you should follow us! @echogravity