Four Ways B2B Marketers Are Using Twitter

November 2008

Social site, Twitter, is becoming popular with B2B marketers.  Learn what it is and how savvy B2B marketers are integrating Twitter into their marcom mix.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is microblogging—frequent and short 140-character posts (a.k.a. “tweets”) about anything to a group of followers. The posts can be viewed on your computer or sent to your mobile phone. You’ll have to build a list followers, so remember to include your Twitter feed in your marketing materials.

Twitter… who cares?

You’re probably wondering who cares about someone’s daily minutia? By itself, it’s not very effective, but collectively and as part of an integrated marcom mix, it can be very effective. Learn how B2B marketers are integrating Twitter into their marketing communications and social marketing strategies. (You may need to set up a Twitter account to view some of the links.)

What B2B companies are using Twitter?

Not surprising, many of the B2B Twitter sites have a small group of followers, but the subject is more narrow, for example specific product sites such as IBM System Z. Conversely, broad topics tend to garner larger audiences as is the case with most of the media sites. Keep in mind that many companies are just starting to explore Twitter, so the lower numbers may be attributed to the novelty of Twitter in the B2B world.

Jean Foster, vice president of marketing at BT America, said at a recent BtoB Magazine netmarketing breakfast that their foray into Twitter brought results. Within two weeks, their Twitter site provided referrals. Additionally, they received PR opportunities in publications that didn’t pick up their press releases via conventional distribution.

I hope the following list of “tweeters” inspires you to find an effective way to integrate microblogging into your marcom mix. I’ll post the list to my Integrated Marcom Minute Blog so anyone can add or update the lists.

Note: If you plan to tweet, then become familiar with TinyURL.com. It’s a free service that takes long URLs and makes them much shorter and more usable for Twitter and other applications.

Four Ways B2B Marketers are Integrating Twitter
1. Sell products and services; drive buyers to your online store.
Several B2B and B2C companies are using Twitter to offer special prices to followers.

Company Twitter URL Followers – (Oct. 2008)
Dell Outlet                 http://twitter.com/DellOutlet 1,958
Direct2Dell http://twitter.com/Direct2Dell 516
Direct2Dell (China) http://twitter.com/Direct2Dell_CN 34
Studio Dell http://twitter.com/StudioDell 129
Woot http://twitter.com/woot 14,548
Apple http://twitter.com/appleinc 4,828

2. Build brands via knowledge sharing and user groups.
This is also a great way to share product reviews and information from real world customers.

Company Twitter URL Followers – (Oct. 2008)
IBM System Z https://twitter.com/IBM_System_z 31
IBM TivoliSystems https://twitter.com/ibmtivoli 98
Q1 Labs https://twitter.com/infor 109
Engadget http://twitter.com/engadget 2,729
General Motors http://twitter.com/GMblogs 881
Intuit https://twitter.com/IntuitQuickBase 53
SAP https://twitter.com/sapnetwork 496
SaaS On Demand http://twitter.com/ondemand 211
MZinga http://twitter.com/mzinga 509
Q1 Labs http://twitter.com/Q1Labs 110
Yammer https://twitter.com/yammer_team 819
BT http://twitter.com/securethinking 154

3. Build relevant website traffic.
I call these “signposts” because they guide followers to more in depth content. They’re popular among media companies for headline news including:

Company Twitter URL Followers – (Oct. 2008)
Reuters http://twitter.com/reuters 1,822
CNN http://twitter.com/cnnbrk 43,284
BBC (Off-site list links to BBC) http://menti.net/?p=17 300-5000+
New York Times http://twitter.com/nytimes 8,614
WHP (CBS affiliate) http://twitter.com/whptv 97
NPR

http://twitter.com/nprnews 6,248
ZDNet http://twitter.com/zdnett 167
Conde Nast Portfolio http://twitter.com/Portfolio 385
CNET News http://twitter.com/CNETNews 7,104
Revision 3 http://twitter.com/revision3 8,504
CBC News http://twitter.com/cbcnews 1,669
Techmeme http://twitter.com/Techmeme?page=1 4,505

 

4. Event marketing.

This not only lets your followers know at what events to find you, but also lets them meet up with you while you’re at the event. Twitter lets you send instantaneous feedback on speaker highlights, event information and more during the event.

Company Twitter URL Followers – (Oct. 2008)
Smart SOA (IBM) http://twitter.com/SmartSOA 111
Infor https://twitter.com/infor 61
Forrester Research http://twitter.com/forrester?page=1 2,771

Should you use Twitter?
There’s only one way to find out. Try it! BT America’s Jean Foster says to set your strategy and objectives, enlist a person who’s passionate about the content and engage your customers and prospects.

That’s integrated marcom!

More next time…

PS Keep the lists going. Tell us if you or someone you know in the B2B space is using Twitter.  Post your B2B Twitter URL to the Integrated Marcom Minute Blog.<

Special thanks to my LinkedIn colleagues for their input to the list:

Bill Baithurst

Steven Cadley

Dave Greves

Tom O’Brien

David Peck

Sebastian Porta

Patsy Stewart

 

As for “Tweetiquette,” read Jeff Woelker’s
Seven Habits of Highly Effective Twitterers (Jeff is someone I follow on Twitter.   Follow Jeff too.)

Learn more about how to use Twitter.   Read Barry Hurd’s 101 Business Ideas, Tactics, and Strategies