Among all of the leading social media channels, Twitter probably gets the most negative press nowadays, but that’s mostly a result of controversial UX improvements and ongoing monetization issues. That’s just background noise. The real Twitter is a living, breathing virtual space that’s teeming with opportunities to nurture B2B relationships.
The best social sellers realize that Twitter is one of the best platforms for finding, nurturing and tracking sales leads. A recent survey from the Content Marketing Institute found that 87% of B2B marketers are active on Twitter.
According to Social Media Examiner’s comprehensive Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 55% of B2B marketers view Twitter as their most effective platform. What’s more, the percentage of B2B marketers who believe Twitter is the most important social platform is nearly twice the percentage of B2C marketers. And 66% of marketers who use social media would like to increase Twitter activity; more than any other social channel.
So what’s with all this B2B love for Twitter? Those who aren’t familiar with the platform might not find it so accessible, due to its strange conventions, lingo, post length limitations and sparse interface. But once you dive in and get the hang of it, you’re likely to find it to be a social seller’s dream.
Here are five aspects of Twitter that make it so powerful for social selling.
On most of the big social networks, replying to a stranger’s posts or chiming in on someone else’s conversations is generally frowned upon. In this sense, Twitter’s functionality and culture render it an entirely different animal.
Nearly every Twitter user’s activity is available for the whole world to see in real time, and it’s more or less acceptable for anyone to post responses to anyone else’s tweets. As long as you’re being friendly and offering helpful advice, why not?
Depending on your settings, Twitter will provide you with lists of trending topics – not just daily, but as they happen. You can also search for specific topics, by keyword or hashtag, and you can see all of the tweets around that topic – regardless of who tweeted. You are then free to jump in and share your thoughts without feeling like an intruder.
With such power, you are able to offer your wisdom whenever, wherever and to whomever you feel it may be valuable. Your tweets will be visible to anyone following the topic at hand, and it doesn’t matter if they follow you or not. This is great for expanding your own discoverability as a niche thought leader, and it’s also great for building relationships, both of which are key objectives for the social seller.
With Leadfeeder providing intelligence on companies and people visiting your site and what pages they’re browsing, Twitter might be the ideal platform for reaching out to them. You can use the platform to comment on the issues surrounding your industry and offer your views about trends, solutions, the buying process, precautions, tips – you name it.
Have you happened upon someone who often tweets about a topic that’s relevant to your product? Unless it’s a direct competitor, it’s likely that this person is worthy of your attention – because he or she is probably either a potential customer or a thought leader. In effect they’ve pre-qualified themselves and you should reach out to them. All you have to do is reply to a tweet of theirs or @mention them in one of your own, and boom – you’re in their notifications feed, if not their inbox as well.
As opposed to “friending” on Facebook or “connecting” on LinkedIn, following on Twitter is a one-way functionality. This means that you are able to follow someone without seeking their approval first – unless they’ve got a “protected” account, which is rare.
This makes it easy to connect with and keep tabs on whomever interests you, be they influencers or prospects. Just click on the follow button, and you’ll see all of their tweets in your home newsfeed.
Social selling is contingent upon skilled listening. By being able to see someone else’s activity by following them, Twitter goes a long way to help you understand your prospects better. With this information, you can nurture leads more effectively and you can also reach out to new leads, widening the top of your sales funnel in the process.
You’ll also get to know about the issues and trends that are most important in your space by following authorities in your industry. And by building relationships with these thought leaders – like Rand Fishkin – you’ll be able to turn to them when you want help distributing your best content.
The Lists feature on Twitter allows you to sort accounts that interest you into categories, according to the parameters that you want. Think of this feature as a curation tool for Twitter accounts.
Lists can function as segmented newsfeeds. You can use them to focus your efforts on different types of engagement at different times of your day or week. Lists can be dedicated to prospective customers’ companies, prospective customers’ personal profiles, industry-specific publications, industry-specific influencers, geo-territories, peers, clients, competitors and anything else you can think of.
You don’t need to be following someone to put them in a List, so this feature is also great for gathering intelligence. And Lists can be either public or private, so you can follow people secretly – or you can find like-minded people to track by browsing the Lists that your prospects belong to.
This allows for easy monitoring as well as giving you background on where to start when you want to discuss your solutions or offer your wisdom.
Despite what you might have heard, Twitter users are completely in control of their own newsfeeds. All that fuss over the algorithmic timeline rollout earlier this year turned out to be unjust – that handful of “While You Were Away” tweets at the top of our feeds are optional, and they don’t replace the old, beloved chronological aggregation below.
This means that everything tweeted by everyone you follow will appear in your feed, in the sequence in which it was posted. And the same goes for your tweets in your followers’ feeds.
No mysterious, volatile algorithms are curating what Twitter users do and don’t see. Tweets that are promoted via the Twitter Ads platform simply allow advertisers to get their content in front of non-followers. The rest is completely within reach, fully organically.
You can even use hashtags to reach non-followers, and when people retweet you, their followers will see your tweets, so yes, on Twitter, it’s possible to grow your audience and influence organically too.
From tracking your unfollowers, identifying relevant prospects to follow and tracking your mentions, there is a tool to help you with almost every type of activity that social sellers perform on Twitter. Many of them are even free.
It always helps a salesperson to know that he or she can use tools to make operations more efficient. Development of third-party tools has always been a pivotal aspect of Twitter’s identity and positioning, and the platform’s API supports powerful queries that can do any number of functions.
The effectiveness of any single platform, of course, largely depends on how wisely and efficiently it’s being used, and the same goes for Twitter.
The above benefits won’t help you if you don’t pay sufficient attention to the conversations and trends that matter most to your intended audience. But with appropriate diligence and patience, social sellers can drive major business impact on Twitter.
If you’d like to see your own story here or recommend someone, then send an email to Peter at firstname.lastname@example.org
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