Twitter is an under-utilized tool that businesses should be using more.
There are well over a hundred different Twitter tools that have been developed. Recently Michael Gass, my social media mentor, came up with a helpful list.
Below are his top 5 tools that he uses for new business that will help you create an online community of your best prospective clients. Each makes Twitter a more powerful marketing tool for your online new business efforts.
This tool is like Google Alerts for Twitter! Put in a keyword or website, and get emails when others tweet it! Keep track of conversations that mention you, your products, your company, anything! You can even keep track of who’s tweeting your website or blog.
You can search public messages and user profiles with results available via email, RSS, JSON, and Twhirl. You can even download your own personal Twitter archive!
TweetLater (now called SocialOomph)
Keep your Twitter stream ticking over with new tweets even when you’re not in front of your computer. Publish tweets when your international followers are online and you’re asleep. Send automated thank you notes to new followers, and automatically follow new followers, if you choose to do so.
Easy management for multi Twitter accounts and brand monitor. Splitweet allows the Twitter users to compose a list of accounts and distribute their tweets, choosing their release in one or more of their accounts. You can also follow your contacts’ tweets from all of your managed accounts in Splitweet. And you can easily monitor your brand(s).
Basically, this is a Flash application that fetches your friends and followers from Twitter when you click the “Whack!” button, then displays them for you, letting you quickly paginate through them. By default, the list contains all your friends and followers and is sorted by last update, showing those who most recently updated first. You can sort the list alphabetically either ascending or descending by Twitter ID. You can filter the list in several ways: only friends or only followers, all friends or all followers, and mutual friends.
There are many traditional ways of generating leads, i.e. pay for click, list rentals, etc. But social lets you go beyond some of these typical methods and lets people find you. In my mind, one of the biggest benefits to social media is the ability to identify and start conversations in a low-key manner with potential contractors. The two top tools I use are LinkedIn and Twitter.
LinkedIn – I find that this is a very useful and friendly site for B-to-B users. The group section is a great way to join groups with common interests and start participating.
- I’ve joined groups like E-marketing Association Network and The Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute. Both are targeted and are great ways to see what the hot topic of the day is and how people are reacting to it. You can even start your own group and invite people to join.
- It’s a great spot to throw out a question to the group or put your two cents in on an area where you are an expert.
- I’ve also used these groups to do short surveys and I post at least once a week and sometimes twice a recent relevant post from my blog under the news section. This helps drive folks to my blog and hopefully position me as an expert.
- You also need to update your status regularly and make sure your co-workers do the same. We’re in the process of organizing a webinar and will not only post it on my page for folks to register, but also put it as a news item on my group pages.
Twitter – I use Twitter to communicate to my followers many times a day to promote my most recent posts.
- I use Tweetlater to schedule and manage my daily tweets. There are several other applications out there that do the same thing.
- If you want to reach people who don’t follow you, include relevant hashtags. Experienced users will search for those terms.
- Encourage re-tweets. In order to do so you need to keep your message shorter than the 140 characters so the person who is doing the re-tweet has room for their name and message.
These are some things I do to use social to generate leads. I’d like to hear from you on how you utilize social.
Here’s an article that might prove to be of interest, 5 Ways to Find Prospects on Twitter.
B-to-B marketers are having a hard time figuring out the best way to use Twitter. If they understand that the people who are following them are obviously interested in them and their products, they’ve already pre-qualified themselves. Twitter has become my number-one source of activity to my blog.
Here are 5 ways I recommend using Twitter in a B-to-B setting:
- Share product and technical information: By putting up new product info, technical and other harder to obtain info on Twitter, you’re allowing tradesmen to keep up to date on information without distractions for search engines or even your web site.
- Drive people to your blog: One main objective is to get them to your blog, and Twitter is an ideal way of doing that. We use TweetLater to send out posts hourly during the business day. Our traffic has increased substantially since we started using this, and our followers have also increased.
- Keep up on competitors as well as what people are saying about you: We use Twitter Search as the tool to keep us informed. It’s fast and easy, much like Google Alerts. Wouldn’t you like to know who’s talking about buying something from your competitor?
- Share solutions for specific applications: Manufacturers can do everything from quick tips for tradesmen in the field, to best practices on how to get the most productivity in certain applications.
- Creating buzz at trade shows: This is relatively new, but is a great way to talk about the latest new widget at XYZ’s booth, and you really should stop by booth #2459. Obviously for this to work, you need to have a number of followers in that industry who are probably at the show. Even if they aren’t, you will have peaked their curiosity enough for them to look on your blog or web for more info on the product.
These are my top 5 ways…what are yours?
Here are a few more posts about Twitter that may be of interest to you:
Using Twitter in Customer Service
Use Twitter to Grow Your Brand
Twitter Search Benefits B-to-B Marketers
Twitter is the micro-blogging platform that will help B-to-B marketers grow their brand. It’s not a fad (upwards of 10,000 people a day are signing up).
Twitter helps you:
- Build brand awareness
- Generate traffic via followers
- Gain insight via polls/surveys
- Get to people you wouldn’t necessarily get to because of re-tweets
Twitter support applications that I find useful for B-to-B applications are:
TweetLater. Schedule tweets like you would an e-mail campaign so that you’ll have several going out each day automatically.
TweeterSearch gives you the ability to receive e-mail digests of key word activity so you can track and participate in conversations. You can now know who’s saying what about your company or brand.
Ping.fm. If you have a Facebook or LinkedIn account, you can post updates across all your social media sites.
Twitter on Facebook. You can forward your Twitter updates directly to your status updates on Facebook.
TwitterFox. If you use the web browser Firefox, you can view your tweets in you browser as in a pop-up menu so you don’t have to be going to Twitter to check .
Tweetdeck. A personal browser that connects you with your contacts across Twitter and Facebook and allows you to follow your friends.
Twitter is so much more than a micro-blog limited to 140 characters, and when used properly, can help your overall marketing program.
Have you used other tools to help you get the most out of Twitter? Share them in the comment section below.