10 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your B2B Website with Twitter Influencers

b2b-twitter-logoFor B2B marketers, Twitter can a very powerful tool to build relationships and drive traffic to your blog. But most business marketers still don’t get it.

How can you cut through the noise? How can you get your tweets seen and even clicked through on this massive site?

Influence marketing.

Influence marketing is getting your industry social influencers to share your content to their Twitter followers. 92% of us trust peer recommendations for product choices and brand preferences. Use prominent influencers in your sector to gain reach, trust, and drive traffic to your website.

Here are 10 ways to act on it:

1. Find your influencers

Do a Twitter search to find your industry leaders, and influential customers. Your customers are some of your most powerful influencers these days. They can be the most passionate about your brand, and can easily spread the word about you through Twitter. Check out popular niche hashtags to find top tweeters of your keywords. Follow them.

2. Make influencer lists

Once you’ve found your influencers on Twitter, make Lists to follow your their updates on the site. You could make a few influencer lists, such as:

  • Industry leaders
  • Influential partners
  • Influential customers

b2b-twitter-list

3. Retweet your influencers

Share your people’s tweets, when they post valuable content for your own followers. Retweet inspirational quotes and images, with links. Especially retweet content to their blog.

4. Use @mentions

@mentions get your tweets seen by your influencers. They’re the tweets that most busy tweeters check, and they’re much more effective than a Direct Message. Connect directly by showing your influencers you value their insights – ask a question in their area of expertise, or share good news about them.
b2b-twitter-connect

5. Tweet their blog articles

Show that you read your leading influencer articles – and that you appreciate their knowledge. @mention when you do, with your own positive comments, to build a more personal relationship.

6. Favorite tweets

You can also Favorite influencer tweets, to develop relationships, and show that you read what they’re tweeting. They’ll notice when you’ve engaged with a like of their content.
b2b-twitter-favorite

7. Respond to @mentions

When an influencer, customer (or anyone) mentions you on Twitter, respond. Keep the dialogue going to network with your connections.

8. Write great blog content

As a business, you need to write blog articles – and they should be good quality content. The better your content, and more relevant to your market, the more likely your blog will be tweeted by your influencers. Getting your blog tweeted by influencers drives traffic to your site.

9. Write about influencers on your blog

Give a shout-out to your influential customers and industry leaders. You could:

  • Write about customer success stories
  • Quote tips, inspirations, or product reviews of leaders
  • Crowdsource your content by asking industry leaders for their views on a subject – then compile a list of the best responses

Source your influencers in your article, by giving them links back to their site. Then tweet it to them. They’ll likely share it with their followers – with a link back to your site.

10. Network for guest blogging opportunities

Guest blogging can drive traffic to your site. Network with influential bloggers in your niche. Use Twitter to develop your relationships, and share your previous articles. Ask to submit an article for their blog. They’ll likely tweet your post to their followers – and their readers might too!

I’ve found Twitter to be an incredibly cool way to meet my industry influencers – around the world. I hope you’ll act on these tips to get your business better connected too!

Do you have any more ways that you connect with influencers on Twitter? Let me know in the comments below.

Latest Summary of New Twitter Features and B2B Best Practices

b2b-twitter-birdIt has been hard to avoid articles and stories about Twitter since last week’s IPO, but nothing about their stock offering has helped B2B marketers improve their use of the social network to connect with customers and prospects, amplify their content and maximize the use of the latest feature updates. Below are several articles that provide some in-depth coverage of these features, as well as a video explaining why B2B companies should be using Twitter and a Slideshare deck with best practices from leading Tweeters.

If you have come across other great Twitter resources, please add them in the comments below.

7 Big, Recent Twitter Changes you Should Know About to Optimize Your Tweeting
Wow, it’s really not a small task these days to keep up with all the recent changes to Social Media. As Twitter continues to grow, the company is making big changes more often and they’re easy to miss. In case you didn’t catch them, I collected seven of the most recent Twitter changes to get you up to speed.
Continue reading

A/B Test Finds 55% Increase in Leads When Images Added to Tweets [New Data]
Does Twitter look a little different for you lately? Maybe a little more like Facebook or Instagram? That’s because on October 29, the social networking site announced that it will start automatically showing images in your stream (without you even clicking).
As a social media marketer, you can imagine how excited I was to test this out for HubSpot. All I saw was a gold mine of opportunities for sharing our blog posts, ebooks, templates, webinars, and other expert resources in a visually appealing way.
Continue reading

How Twitter Custom Timelines May Boost Twitter’s Reach Into The Web
Twitter has a new way to allow people to curate tweets — Twitter Custom Timelines. Why does it need this when it already had another long-standing tool for tweet curation, Twitter Lists? The new system may allow brands to make better use of embedded tweets than lists allow, which in turn may further extend Twitter’s reach into the Web.
Continue reading

Twitter for B2B Organizations

B2B Marketing in the Noisy World of Twitter

5 Ways B2B Companies Can Generate Leads on Twitter

b2b-twitter-birdMany B2B businesses have a Twitter account these days, but simply being on Twitter is not enough.

If you or your employees are going to spend time using social media networks, there have to be objectives and it has to work for your business.

It’s fine if you want to use Twitter as a news publication feed – but there’s so much more you can do with it as a B2B communication tool.

Why not use Twitter as part of your new business strategy? If it’s not going to help your business grow and develop, then you’re really wasting time. Get your new business development team involved with planning your Twitter profile. You can also find out their tactics and make sure social media is integrated and woven in to really work together.

Twitter works best when there’s some level of personalization and chat. As well as a news feed, Twitter acts as an introduction service essentially, as it is so easy to connect with people.

There’s an old adage that says products don’t sell, people sell. So use Twitter for the communication tool that it is and get chatting.

1. Give your organization a face

Let people know who they’re talking to instead of a faceless organization. Having a corporate account is important, but it’s very hard to hold a conversation with someone if you don’t know who you’re talking to. Add the personal Twitter handles of those who are talking into your bio, so people know who you are, and can also follow your personal accounts.

2. Share content to drive people to your website

A varied content schedule should incorporate a mix of updates, interesting articles as well as company news. However, make sure you create and post content which gives people the opportunity to visit your website or specific landing pages.

This can be via blog and news posts, new sections or products which have launched or anything else of interest to your customers.

3. Mention people you have met

People like being mentioned on Twitter – it starts conversations and you get to know people and they get to know you. If you’ve been to a networking event, conference or meeting, give the event and anyone you’ve met a shout out and cement the contacts you’ve made.

This reminds people who you are, gives them your contact details and can often lead to further communication and a meeting.

4. Use Twitter to create warm leads

Your new business development manager could sit down and plow through a lot of cold calls with relevant businesses but this is really a shot in the dark. However, if you start connecting with other businesses and other business people through Twitter, this is a friendly way to introduce your company and start to form a relationship.

Start to follow any people or businesses you think have new business potential. You could mention a blog post they’ve written or comment on some of their business news – anything that opens a conversation. They key is to start that conversation, not start a sale.

5. Assess your progress regularly

It sounds simple, but this is something many companies forget to do. You need to decide on some objectives and metrics to measure these objectives. These might be to increase relevant followers by so many every quarter, to set up a certain number of business meetings and achieve a certain number of click-throughs to your website.

Have you been successful at generating new business for your B2B company on Twitter? Let us know in the comments below.

Improve Your B2B Social Media Planning

Everything in business starts with planning. B2B social media is no different. Even as companies mature and incorporate (or infiltrate, depending on your point of view) social media into other parts of their business besides marketing, the planning stages are key. Below are some posts that resonated with followers this past week that are all related to planning, whether directly or indirectly.

We start with a bold call to action for B2B marketers, followed by a very tactical list of planning questions, and then we go up a notch to planning theory and how to apply it. Next is an article that questions whether a new Facebook tool is right for B2B? Yes, I’m quoted in the article, but it too is about how you plan to test a new function to determine its success. And finally we present a list of top B2B influencers on Twitter by Michael Brenner. Okay, so I’m on this list too, but if you are looking for influencers in your industry, looking for content to share with your followers or just looking for example of B2B companies and people doing a good job on Twitter, they are all here on this list.

What else have you seen recently that has helped you in your B2B social media planning. Your own posts, or even interviews with you, are okay, because clearly it didn’t stop me.

B2B Marketers Need To Get Real About Social Media and Customer Engagement
from Enterprise Irregulars
B2B marketers need to get more focused on how fast their prospects and customers are changing as a result of social media. It’s time to question long-held assumptions and look to social media as a means to connect with prospects and customers more effectively.
Continue reading

25 Questions To Ask When Executing B2B Content Marketing Campaigns
from Search Engine Land
With the new year upon us, search engine marketers are focused on putting the foundation together for campaign execution throughout 2013. Central among the strategies meant to deliver B2B SEO results will be content marketing.
Continue reading

The Planning Fallacy: Why B2B Marketers are prone to exaggeration
from Earnest Agency
As a marketer, you’re now under more pressure than ever to prove your worth – and demonstrate ROI. Your budget is under scrutiny – and no doubt, you need to put forward a strong case to justify your spend. So what do you do? Be bullish about the potential return – ever optimistic about your ability to deliver the goods, but knowing it’s the only way you’ll get go-ahead.
Continue reading

Is Facebook’s new messaging feature good for b2b?
from BtoB Magazine
In recent months Facebook Inc. has been quietly testing a new revenue-raising feature: paid messaging. So far, the service is aimed at individual users, but b2b marketers have been watching the tests and wondering if paid Facebook messaging would work for them.
Continue reading

Top 50 B2B Marketing Influencers On Twitter
from B2B Marketing Insider
Who are the top B2B Marketing influencers on twitter? To answer this question, I looked at a variety of factors including twitter followers, profiles that included “B2B marketing,” the focus of their tweets including the hashtag #B2BMarketing, as well as a variety of social scoring tools using the keyword.
Continue reading

Photo: Flickr

SAP Brands B2B Social Media Profiles as Part of Global Campaign

Earlier this year B2B company SAP launched their “Run Like Never Before” campaign with television, print, digital and mobile ads in the U.S., Brazil and Germany, according to this press release. There is no lesson in the fact that the enterprise software company launched an ad campaign, but it is instructive to look at how they supported it with social media.

Social media profiles of B2B companies frequently use default backgrounds or designs, and this campaign shows how SAP leveraged all the options available to further promote their campaign message through its graphic look. Another thing that B2B companies don’t often do is dedicate resources to building and promoting their brand image. It is usually their products, services and generally company culture and attitude that creates a sense of brand for their customers and prospects. Using some of these ideas below, with the necessary resources of course, you can start to build some of that brand image.

YouTube


SAP produced a television commercial as a core part of the campaign and shared it on YouTube. There’s nothing new or magical here, but B2B companies produce videos all the time, and forget to share them on their YouTube profiles. It’s a way to get an additional audience for videos that you are making anyway. In SAP’s case both the video and the video description have links to drive traffic to the campaign landing page.

Twitter


SAP updated their Twitter background with images from the campaign. If your B2B company has the resources to develop a compelling look and feel for your company, make sure to extend that to your Twitter background. SAP was also able to leverage Twitter’s enhanced profile pages. This is currently only available to select Twitter accounts (advertisers), but if it rolls out broadly, your should take advantage of it for your B2B company. SAP added an extra banner (835 x 90 pixels) at the top of their Twitter stream and pin a single tweet at the top as part of their enhanced profile. They wisely choose a tweet that contains the Run campaign video. This promoted tweet is always shown in the expanded mode, so the embedded media (photo or video) is always visible.

Facebook


SAP updated their Facebook Timeline cover photo with a graphic image from the campaign. This makes a big statement about what message they want to convey to visitors. B2B companies should think of the cover photo as their first impression on Facebook. Most people will come to your Facebook Page one time, and if they like what they see, they will like the Page. Future updates are seen in their newsfeed. And that is more likely if you can get some engagement with them, as Facebook’s algorithm determines what shows in fans’ newsfeed.



When you update your cover photo, it shows as an activity in your Timeline. You will notice that SAP added some descriptive text and a link to the landing page with this photo. This also means that whenever anyone clicks on the photo they will see this description and link. This update can be pinned to the top, which SAP did not do, so that visitors to the page can learn more about the campaign and have the opportunity to click the link.

Linkedin


SAP also extended the look of the campaign to their LinkedIn product page, which lets you create free banners (640 x 220 pixels) that can link to a landing page. This follows the theme of all these profiles we’ve been looking at. Create a compelling graphical look, brand your social profiles with that look and send people to a landing page for more information.

Google+


By adding a cover photo to their Google+ page, SAP tied this additional social network to their campaign. Thanks for the heads-up on this one Bill.

Slideshare


Customize Slideshare when you pay for the pro edition. It also includes private uploads, lead capture and video uploads. SAP made it look like their other social profiles, so when people download their presentations, they saw the message again. Kevin added this one below, so I moved it into the post.

Landing Page


And that brings us to the landing page, which SAP has made consistent with the rest of the campaign. The most important thing they did was embed a tag in all the links that drove here from their social profiles that identified that traffic as coming from social. This lets them track the success of their social activity against other activities. If you want a little more background on the SAP Run Like Never Before campaign, here’s a post by SAP marketer Michael Brenner.

This example was meant to inspire you to raise the level of your social media marketing and learn some simple things to do to create a larger branding impression, even if you are not supporting a global marketing campaign. Let us know you thoughts, inspirations, other examples and how you have implemented any of these ideas in a campaign oriented manner.

Preview of Twitter Advertising Platform for B2B Companies

Earlier this year Twitter announced a partnership with American Express to make their self-serve advertising platform available to a limited number of small businesses. We signed up for SocialMediaB2B.com because access to Twitter’s advertising platform previously has been limited to those with big budgets. This leaves out many B2B companies. We offer this preview of what Twitter’s advertising platform looks like, so you can explore the option of promoted accounts and promoted tweets with the knowledge of how the platform works. Choose a target and a budget, and Twitter does the rest. Click on each image to enlarge it and view in new tab.

Welcome Screen

Geographic Targeting


Select where your target audience is located. You can break this down by country or metropolitan area. I looked at Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to determine top countries for the SocialMediaB2B audience.

Promoted Account


Select a daily amount to spend on promoting your account to relevant people. Twitter will charge you a variable amount for each new follower. Many B2B companies have successfully used promoted accounts to grow their followers to increase the reach of their content.The amount entered is not a recommendation, but is just for example purposes.

Promoted Tweets


Select a daily amount to spend on promoting your most engaging tweets to relevant people. Twitter will charge you a variable amount for each click. Twitter will only promote existing tweets, and their algorithm chooses the more popular ones, based on retweets and clicks. The amount entered is not a recommendation, but is just for example purposes.

Payment Information


And finally, you have to pay for all of this. In the case of this example, I am required to use my American Express card since they sponsored the promotion. Once this is fully rolled out, there will be other payment options.

Have you considered Twitter advertising for your B2B company?

3 B2B Uses of Pinned Tweets on New Twitter Brand Pages

Last week Twitter launched their new interface, which included brand pages with some added features. A limited numbers of partners had access to these brand pages, including B2B companies Dell, General Electric and Intel. One of the interesting features is the ability for companies to pin a tweet to the top of their stream, so it is always showing. Each of these three companies realized this was a perfect place for an embedded video, as Twitter now shows video within tweets. As these pages roll out to others, each approach gives you something to think about when planning your own B2B companies pinned tweet.

Dell featured the new Twitter video, which explains some of the new features. This provides some value to their followers in the form of education. General Electric shared a video showing the variety of products they make, and they used the number 140 to tie it to Twitter. Diversity of products and services is key part of who GE is. And Intel featured a customer unboxing a product. This simple customer shows the important of technology to our lives, and Intel is a part of that. Screenshots of each page are below, as well as each video.

Dell


General Electric


Intel


What do you think of their use of the pinned tweet, and what will you use for your B2B company pinned tweet when this feature is widely available?

A B2B Social Media Turning Point

Today’s posts for B2B marketers seem to have a negative tone. I didn’t pick them with that in mind, but these are some of the posts that resonated with me this week. This indicates to me that we are at a turning point with B2B social media. According to many statistics, there is a high adoption rate, but marketers are unsure how to proceed to get results, how to measure those results and how to share their successes. Too many companies have “dipped their toe in the water” of social media, and answered yes to survey questions that they are using social media. Many executives are convinced there is no additional cost to social media, because the platforms are free. If you are a B2B marketer struggling with any of these issues, it is time to go outside your organization for additional resources.

The articles below may help inspire you to move forward in a way to achieve measurable results, but on this rainy Friday (where I am), it should at least get you thinking that there is more to social media than pushing out corporate messages.

And thanks to Alan Belniak for his shout-out in the article below about adding Twitter buttons to specific items in a post or ebook. It’s a great way to get your community to share your content.

Survey: 71% of CMOs Feel Unprepared For Today’s Market
from B2B Marketing Insider
As CMOs go full-force into planning mode for their 2012 marketing strategy, a recent report suggests that they are ill-prepared for the changes taking place in the larger business world. This is according to the Global Chief Marketing Officer survey from IBM.
Continue reading

Does Good Content Matter Anymore?
from Direct Marketing Observations
We’re content starved. The emergence of tablets and mobile devices has only enhanced our desire to consume digital content. There’s a problem though. When content producers cannot meet the demands of a ravenous public, things can get ugly and the public walks-digitally speaking.
Continue reading

12 Reasons Your Business Blog is Failing
from Hubspot
Let’s say that a couple of months ago, you decided to really start drinking the inbound marketing Kool-Aid, and you took the plunge: you started a business blog. You put in the time to get it going, published a few posts, and waited for the leads to start rolling in.
Continue reading

Still Pitching to Use Social Media? Here are Three Steps to Take
from B2B Voices
Social media in B2B continues to rise in use. In fact, research from BtoB magazine shows that more than 90 percent of B2B companies are now using some form of social media to communicate with stakeholders. Before you present that B2B social media plan to executives or a client, the best thing to do is prepare. Here are three ways to ensure your pitch is a success.
Continue reading

How to Pre-Populate A Twitter Status On The Web
from Subjectively Speaking
You may have come across a site like this before: you see a nice bit of text (a quote, a joke, something with a hashtag in it) that is shareable. Next to that text is a Twitter icon. You click it, and it bounces you to your browser, opens a new window, and pre-populates a tweet for you. All you need to do is click ‘Tweet’ or make an edit or two, and then click ‘Tweet’.
Continue reading

10 Tweetable Twitter Tips for B2B Marketers

Many B2B companies start their social media adoption with Twitter because it seems to be the easiest platform to jump right in without a plan. Let’s start twittering, the boss says. And the junior marketer complies.

With that in mind, this post offers 10 helpful tips for B2B marketers who are running the company Twitter account. If you are just starting out, these are good things to know. If you are an old hand at Twitter, there might be something here that is a good reminder. And just to keep things interesting, each one of these tips will be tweetable. Just copy and paste into your favorite Twitter client and update. Sharing these tips could be a good way to add some value your Twitter followers.

1. Use industry keywords in your Twitter bio. #twittertips #smb2b

2. Create unique landing pages to track clicks for Twitter bio links instead of displaying short URLs. #twittertips #smb2b

3. Find and follow industry leaders through directories, lists and other users. #twittertips #smb2b

4. Follow general news sources, trade publications and associations for the latest information to share. #twittertips #smb2b

5. Share third-party content from people, blogs and news sources that provides value to your followers. #twittertips #smb2b

6. Post links to company blog posts more than once. Test and track different tweets. #twittertips #smb2b

7. Pay attention to the time of day your audience is most engaged by tracking clicks and retweets. #twittertips #smb2b

8. Tweet offers and links to your landing pages to generate leads. It’s okay. You are a business. #twittertips #smb2b

9. Don’t overuse hashtags, especially ones that are abused with spam or never used. #twittertips #smb2b

10. Periodically encourage followers to subscribe to company email newsletter. #twittertips #smb2b

What are some of your best Twitter tips? Share them below.

Hashtag Stuffing Doesn’t Work for B2B Twitter Accounts

Stuffing tweets with high-traffic hashtags has been common practice since the advent of the hashtag in 2007. The thinking behind this is simple. Your followers see your tweets in two ways: in their stream and in search. If your B2B company is just starting on Twitter and doesn’t have many followers, then you need to get more attention from search. By including easily searchable terms in your tweets, you increase the likelihood that you’ll get found.

Did you happen to catch Entenmanns #notguilty dust-up last week? It was a case of hashtag stuffing gone horribly wrong.

Hashtag stuffing has become such common practice that there are even tools that discover the best hashtags for your tweet. And everybody does it, from Pizza Hut to American Express to Shaq.

The problem? It doesn’t work.

Background and Methodology
The data behind this post comes from a sample of customers’ activity on Argyle Social, a social media management software provider. The selected sample included more than 37,000 total tweets from 103 Twitter accounts between November 2010 and May 2011. Our users are professional marketers, and their companies range from small to very large, and are distributed across most major industries.

The question that I wanted to answer is: Do posts with hashtags outperform posts without hashtags within a given account? For this analysis, the measure of performance is clicks, and all tweets within the sample contained exactly one link. I compared tweets within the same account to control for follower counts and editorial styles.

Results
In 53% of the social properties we analyzed, posts with hashtags actually performed worse than posts without hashtags. In 21%, there was no significant difference between posts with and without hashtags. And 26% of social properties had better performance in posts with hashtags.

When averaging across the entire sample, posts with hashtags received 5% fewer clicks than posts without hashtags. But averages aren’t particularly instructive, so let’s take a look at the distribution. The graph below shows the 103 accounts analyzed and the performance of their posts with hashtags relative to their posts without hashtags.

Clearly, some Twitter accounts make very poor use of hashtags while others use them very effectively. Twelve accounts lose 50% or more of their clicks when they use hashtags whereas 13 accounts boost their clicks by 30% or more. Overall, however, the distribution is definitely slanted towards the left.

If posts with hashtags tend to perform worse than posts without hashtags on an aggregate basis then we have some explaining to do. What was wrong with the original logic that hashtags increase search exposure, which leads to better discovery and more clicks?


I dug into the outlier accounts–those that were performing particularly well or particularly poorly–to see whether I could identify any practices that led to success or failure. This is where I struck gold.

What Works
Hashtags work well if they’re relevant and naturally occur within the conversation. Examples include:

  • Moderately sized, well-targeted conferences
    If you’re attending a conference that is relevant to your followers, it’s a good idea to share insights and conversations relevant to the conference.
  • Charitable causes
    Limited usage of hashtags associated with charitable calls to action (#haiti, #giveasmile) work well.
  • Highly engaged groups
    If you regularly tweet about special interests that have rabid followings (#vegan, #glutenfree, #oilspill), using those hashtags works well.
  • Create your own
    If your company has created a hashtag around an event that you’re hosting or another corporate PR topic, it’s very effective to use that hashtag. It’s obviously relevant and contextual if you’re the ones behind it!

What Doesn’t Work
Hashtags don’t work if they’re overly broad, not relevant and don’t occur naturally within the conversation. Examples include:

  • Huge conferences
    If you’re attending a massive industry conference (#adtech, #sxsw) don’t use those hashtags if you want your tweets to get read. Search results on those hashtags fly by quicker than anyone can read, and your followers are usually only interested in what you have to say if they’re at the event as well. If you want to tweet from a huge conference, use the specific hashtag created for individual speakers or sub-events to keep things targeted.
  • Extremely generic tags
    This is where the really poor results show up. Sometimes marketers create content specifically to support a hashtag, rather than using a hashtag to support content. This is what I call hashtag stuffing. Examples of this include #socialmedia, #crm, #superbowl, and many many more. Tweeting about a particular topic just because it has high search volume doesn’t work.

Conclusions
Remember that your followers are your primary source of attention. All of your tweets should be targeted at providing value to your existing followers, as they are the most likely to read and share your content.

Keyword-stuffing and targeting content to high-impression keywords has been a long time practice of search engine marketers. But just as Google is slowly strangling keyword stuffers with their recent algorithm update, your followers quickly filter you out when you use hashtags inauthentically.

If your tweets provide value to your followers, then using hashtags is not a bad thing. It can even get you more clicks when the hashtag is highly relevant and adds value to the conversation. But don’t target your tweets to overly broad, marginally relevant hashtags to maximize your search exposure–it just isn’t effective.

Let us know your experience with hashtags for your B2B company below. Have they helped your tweets earn extra clicks or not?