Social Media

Building a Meaningful Twitter Following

Twitter continues to be a phenomenal success changing the way millions of people communicate on a daily basis. We’ve seen marriage proposals, job offers made and accepted, and even a tweet from Mars (the planet not the chocolate bar).

Twitter has also revolutionised the way many companies do business allowing them to reach new audiences for sales, support and news updates. On face value the social networking site is more suitable for B2C due to the viral nature of tweets, the type of content people share and the larger audience for the product. Companies such as XBox (244,341 followers) and Starbucks (1,634,978) are two examples of B2C companies who have really embraced Twitter and use it well.

For B2B it may seem a more difficult platform to utilise effectively and many businesses prefer to stick to solely using LinkedIn, which is a great platform to use as part of a wider social media strategy.

Building a large and engaged following for B2B brands can be done and HubSpot (125,836 followers), comScore (48,398) and Intel (57,784) are just a few examples of this.

So how does a B2B company build a meaningful Twitter following?

Firstly it’s important to establish what I mean when I say “meaningful Twitter following”. For a B2B brand a meaningful Twitter follower is someone who actively engages with you, is interested in your Twitter messages and when appropriate ReTweet you to their following. Ideally you are looking for Twitter advocates and if they have a large following themselves then that is always a bonus.

I see a lot of brands giving away free products to help build a following, a free iPad or iPhone are often a popular choice to offer the Twittersphere. Whilst I’m not against companies giving away items on Twitter they need to do so with caution. Are they really building an engaged following or simply gaining lots of untargeted followers who have no interest in the brand beyond the free offering?

Rewarding your current following with a chance to win a free item is a nice idea to strengthen loyalty to your brand and enhance your customer relationship but just be aware that if you go into with the aim of gaining new, meaningful followers then you may come away disappointed.

If you check out the best B2B Twitter accounts you will notice they are constantly providing their followers with great content that is relevant to their business, whether that is content from their business blog or from other sources around the web.

They will RT messages that they feel will be helpful to their following and engage with those that message them.

The type of content they tweet can be anything as long as it relates to their business or industry.

Content ideas for your tweets:

  • Blog articles
  • “How To” Videos
  • Funny/unusual videos
  • Industry news
  • Infographics
  • ReTweet influential industry Twitterers
  • Links to helpful/interesting websites
  • Company news
  • Exclusive sales offers for Twitter users
  • System updates
  • Interesting facts
  • Links to industry related online games
  • Interesting photos of your offline advertising
  • Ask a question
  • Celebrate new customers, finishing a big project or reaching a major milestone
  • Live tweets from an event you’re attending
  • Countdowns to an exciting event or company news that your followers will find valuable
  • Respond to interesting news that your followers Tweet

The list above will help you communicate effectively to your followers and keep them responsive to your tweets. It will also help you indirectly generate a meaningful following as the ideas above are more likely to be ReTweeted and therefore shared to a wider audience.

But it still doesn’t answer the question – How do I actively build a meaningful Twitter following? There are lots of ways to do this and below are my top 2 tips for building a meaningful B2B following.

Recommendations from influential individuals

Individuals who are influential on Twitter, within your industry, are often owners of a popular blog or write articles for a high profile website. If you get a few positive tweets recommending your brand/Twitter account, from one of these Twitterers then it can really boost your following of people who are clearly interested in your brand and tweets.

A great way to obtain those all-important recommendations is to offer the individual the chance to use your product/service for free in return for an impartial review on their website. Everyone likes a freebie and provided the blogger feels free to write an honest review of your product then they will normally happily snap up the opportunity.

It is important to check that the blogger tweets their articles to their followers.

If you believe in your product then this is a great way to have it reviewed by an expert and positively promoted to their thousands of followers.

Get people talking

Twitter is a communication tool and people tend to talk about things that are topical, fun and interesting. As a B2B brand it can be difficult to think of ways to create videos or run marketing campaigns that are unique and fun whilst still appearing professional.

If you are struggling to come up with any ideas then a great solution is to sponsor an event that people are/will talk about. This could be sponsoring a local festival or perhaps a fundraising adventure if you are seeking more longevity to your sponsorship.

We recently published an article titled How to Boost Brand Awareness on a Small Budget which talks about this tip in more detail.

Creating content that has the potential to become viral is a great way to get Twitter users talking about your brand. For more information on creating viral content check out our post – HOW TO: Make you Website go Viral.

Hopefully the advice above will help you build a large and meaningful Twitter following to help your business grow.

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