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Opening up on social carries risks, leading to a lingering fear of social among conservative brands or executives. A string of high-profile social media disasters, furthers the impression that inviting conversation is risky. The Twitterverse hijacked the recent efforts of Ventra and NYPD to engage followers. This may cause brands to hesitate when it comes to leading Twitter chats. However, our experience shows the benefits of hosting a Twitter chat far outweigh the risks.
Benefits for B2B Brands
Brands often use Twitter chats to give followers exclusive access to collateral, experts and viewpoints they might not otherwise have. Twitter chats help brands rapidly grow followers and engagement and provide an intimate feel to its audience.
Recently, Twitter chats crossed over into the B2B sector as businesses are using them as a chance to showcase thought leadership and answer the biggest questions in their industry. Businesses are bringing in journalists, analysts, bloggers and other well-respected experts to add value and engage brand followers.
B2B marketers engaging on Twitter aren't alone: HubSpot cites a number of B2B industries from agriculture to healthcare that use Twitter chats to engage followers on social.
Tips for B2B Marketers
Businesses that want to engage in Twitter chats should remember the following points:
Pick relevant influencers: Whether your company has a following in the hundreds of thousands or are just thankful to gain your thousandth follower, influencers are a key asset to the success of a Twitter chat.
Having the right influencer can bring additional credibility to the chat and expand the possible number of Twitter accounts likely to participate. Ideally, this influencer shouldn’t be controversial as it might detract from the goals of hosting the chat in the first place.
He or she should also have previous experience with Twitter chats and feel comfortable engaging multiple people on Twitter at a rapid pace.
Don’t be self-promotional: Imagine hosting a party where all you do is talk about your new speakers and the furniture you bought. Chances are, your guests are going to get sick of you talking about yourself and leave the party.
The same is true on Twitter. Sprinkling in references of your capabilities or products are fine, but only when it flows with the conversation. The ideal situation is that your influencer ties in your product/service so it adds credibility to the brand without appearing overly promotional.
Remember, the goal here is to be engaging and get create value for followers. While the natural tendency is to sell to customers during these chats, this is not the platform for it. Instead, Twitter chats will likely create more questions for your community manager when the chat ends that might lead to a purchasing conversation. The sales process should begin only when followers specifically ask for more information on your business.
Promote, promote, promote: In the leading weeks and days up to the Twitter chat, it’s important to promote it as much as possible. Devote a certain advertising budget on Twitter and Facebook to raise awareness of the talk.
If you have control of a company newsletter or blog, be sure to mention the chat by including the panelists, topic, date and time. If you can include giveaways or gamification in any way, even better as many hosts will offer gift cards as part of a random drawing or contest to get more participation.
The success of a Twitter chat depends almost entirely on the number of participants it has so this step cannot be overlooked.
Looking for an agency to host your next Twitter chat? Contact us and let’s talk.