Twitter has proven to be an extremely valuable marketing tool for many businesses. It’s a fun and simple platform that allows marketers to build a unique social audience and to engage with the people they care about. But while many companies attempt to quickly monetize from their social audiences, true value can only be earned after true value is given.
Far too often, I notice people pitching on Twitter. Sure, a company can get a few sales out of it, but generating a quick buck is not what your audience wants from this social engagement (and in all honesty, you can and will do a lot better than a quick buck). Your audience needs help and wants to learn. They are also willing to give you lots of money if you can add value toward what they want and need. But the second you start pitching, the potential value given from both parties instantly diminishes.
The Prototypical Hypothetical Twitter Pitch…and why I hate it.
I’m at the bar watching the Giants game, and just realize that I should get some new cycling gear for next week. So I tweet:
“Can anyone recommend a pair of dude’s bike shorts/shirt that’s good for early morning cycling? “
I get home later, take a nap, wake up, and open up the laptop. What do I see?
“See” being the operative word, as there’s no way I’d read something with so many blue links. The hypothetical BikeLocalSF is trying to pitch me, when all I was really looking for was a review or a recommendation.
Being a B2B marketer, I once thought of Twitter as a simple lead-gen tool. People would tweet about retargeting, I’d respond with a link back to my site, cross my fingers, and hope for a lead to come through. It sometimes worked, but I was very focused on getting that conversion. I know, I know, very noob, but everyone starts out without knowing a single thing about anything. Twitter’s no different.
I soon found Twitter to be much more than a lead gen tool. I’m not the only person in the world who doesn’t want to read tweets that are littered with underlined blue links. So I changed up my cold outreach strategy: I see someone asking a question or talking about my industry, and I respond with a value-adding answer or an insightful comment.
That’s it, no links. I’d still retweet any articles I found cool, and links to all of our great content, but the cold outreach strategy is what really changed, and we’ve found numerous benefits from this:
- R&D: I was able to see marketers’ successes and pain points with retargeting, and I was able to legitimately help people when they had problems with the technology, whether they were a current client or not. This is research and development in disguise, without the surveys, without the focus groups. This definitely kept my product hat busy.
- Branding: I have one simple branding goal for my company: be mentioned in every single exploratory conversation about retargeting. We want all companies, big and small, to think about us when they talk about retargeting in their marketing strategy discussions. Inserting ourselves in the retargeting conversations on public forums (Twitter, Quora) make sure this happens.
- Increased Conversions: Ironically, when I stopped focusing on getting conversions from Twitter, our total amount of conversions increased. Within two weeks of starting this strategy, I started to consistently see roughly 10% as many direct leads come through our CRM. Granted, only some of them were labeled “Lead source: Twitter,” so how do I know it’s attributable? I broke a cardinal rule of Twitter: I stopped tweeting, and made sure to keep all other marketing efforts constant. The next week – roughly 9% less leads. I started tweeting again, fast.
In addition to changing my outreach engagement strategy, I still used Twitter for content distribution. After months of testing what I was throwing out there, I was able to quickly see what resonates through our Twitter audience, and what drives a relevant audience to my website.
Here are some different tweets we’ve measured:
This tweet was well received, and mentioned a cool audience and industry-related site I found.
- 129 clicks
- 4 people added this to their favorites
- 11 retweets
- 11 follows on the day of this tweet
- 3 replies
This was also well received – our lead creative guy found this one to be helpful as we were looking to get some new furniture for our new office, but isn’t too relative to our audience or industry
- 45 clicks
- 11 mentions
- 13 follows
We were highlighting some recent press that we received on our case study with Get Satisfaction. The fact that we mentioned the publisher in this one must’ve affected its performance.
- 80 clicks
- 1 retweet
- 3 mentions
- 15 follows
This tweet was meant to distribute some of our own content. It was decently received, and the snappy title may have had a lot to do with it.
- 22 clicks
- 1 fave
- 10 mentions
- 11 follows
Another attempt to distribute our own content. Bland title – decent engagement.
- 8 clicks
- 2 faves
- 1 retweet
- 3 mentions
- 9 follows
Unfortunately, I can’t share any actual conversion numbers, but I can say that there is a general relation between a tweet’s engagement and the amount of leads we generate/value we receive. Additionally, while I do track conversions from our distribution tweets, the engagement tweets are a lot more directly associated to our own conversion rate.
For B2B marketing, Twitter is a game of value and you must be a patient player. When you stop caring about the value that you’re getting and start giving value to others, you’ll start to get the value you’re looking for.
If you need a place to start, forget about pitch-tweets.
In fact, try not tweeting any links for a week – you’d be surprised at what that can deliver to you.