As social media expands its reach across consumer marketers, business-to-business (B2B) marketers are slowly but steadily coming on board as well. Twitter is the last social media platform to be embraced by them, as they are yet to experience the power 280 characters can wield.
Several research agencies, including Forrester, had been reporting since 2010 about the quantum jump in B2B spending on social media but it is not really a big thing for small and medium enterprises in India.
Interactive marketing is big bucks for B2B, and social media will make a lot of sense in this larger plan. Social media is emerging as a key channel to have a dialogue with decision-makers during the sales process and to interact and support existing customers.
According to a global research, many companies have allocated a considerable part of their marketing budgets to digital activities. While overall spending by B2B is unlikely to increase in 2022, the increase will be very evident in digital media spends given the pandemic effect.
It appears that social networking, advertising and other activities are working for B2B. Otherwise, how can they justify the increased spending?
A US-based study found that more than 40 percent of the companies find Twitter to be a very effective marketing tool. These companies use Twitter for lead generation and personalised customer interaction. But in order to do this, companies need to tighten the content part. The content is dependent on the target audience and what appeals to them.
Once this is done, all channels should stick to the same value proposition. And here is where Twitter helps with the right messaging. Just tweeting may not help as it would not set the details right. It is much easier to give detailed content on a blog and provide links via tweets as Twitter imposes a word limit.
Fast, faster, fastest
According to experts, a success mantra with Twitter is about responding quickly to a tweet. Life on Twitter is much faster and they all expect a faster response, faster than emails.
Just as consumer marketers use digital media, can business-to-business marketers, too, engage clients via social media? While experts have different opinions on this, I found it is not much different.
For instance, both marketers are trying to sell to people. Perhaps relationships are more important in B2B sales than in B2C sales and Twitter helps in building the same. From that standpoint, Twitter is more useful for B2B as it helps build relationships with a large group.
The important thing is to decide on how one can add value and then use Twitter as a medium to communicate. Remember not to use your sales pitch or discount selling. Stay interesting and useful in terms of giving advice or solutions or ideas.
After-sales service and complaints could be two essential areas where Twitter can be most useful for companies. Vodafone Idea in India is pretty bad at this for their enterprise services and consumer business, while Eureka Forbes has an excellent response team to manage Twitter interactions.
What are the challenges that await an organisation venturing on to Twitter? Probably keeping up pace and volume. When an organisation starts tweeting, it is slow and easy. But once you have the followers and a lot of messages, you have to dedicate resources for quick responses. And when you plan to do webinars or something like that there will be an increase in tweets and this would need more people working on the Twitter.
The culture of the company is the other challenge. The thinking and attitude need a transformation in the digital age. Hiring processes and structure may need a relook. Outbound marketing and mass marketing are changing into inbound marketing using blogs and social media and that is a challenge in itself.
Customers are looking for solutions and it is important to make it easier for them to do business with you. Transparency becomes the keyword and empowering all levels of employees will be needed to respond faster.
It is best to have the responsibility for the Twitter channel with the marketing head. This is mainly because they are responsible for the brand and communication. Based on the messages, they can actually divert the same to respective departments for quick responses.
The following three steps might be good for an effective Twitter strategy:
Make tweets interesting: Begin with good content. As a first step, blogs will be necessary for a B2B company to explain its offerings. Always talk about topics of interest to your prospects and not about your products or services. You must think like an editor of a magazine and not like an owner of business or marketing executive. Keep it interesting and interactive. Make it casual and fun, get personal, answer messages promptly, and do not plan to be a broadcaster of corporate messages. If you do all that, you will do ok.
Get involved, completely: Do not get into tweeting like someone testing the water when learning to swim. Get in and plan to stay there for life. Do not use it for a couple of hours in a week. If you want to be successful with this medium, you need to stay committed. Which means you should not give up after a few weeks of lower action. Success takes time on Twitter.Measure, measure, and measure:
Tools are available today to measure the power and reach of your profile. You can also track this over time. It is as measurable as many of the other things you measure. The traffic can be measured through lead conversion and sales. Do not stop at measuring traffic or followers.