Developing a healthy Twitter strategy – Part 2 – What to Tweet

tweet_thisSo you now have a growing follower base, how do you:

  1. Keep them
  2. Enhance your profile with these people

The answer to both of these questions lies in the same point. Twitter users follow and engage with people who they believe have something valuable to say. Look at the top 10 Twitter accounts in terms of followers:

  • Niall Horan – Horan@NiallOfficial
  • Emma Watson – Watson@EmWatson
  • BBC Breaking News – @BBCBreaking
  • Mesut Özil – @MesutOzil1088
  • BBC News (World) – @BBCWorld
  • Stephen Fry – @stephenfry
  • Radamel Falcao – @FALCAO
  • Jessie J – @JessieJ
  • Premier League – @premierleague
  • Ricky Gervais – @rickygervais

Although they come from a cross section of categories (News, Pop stars, Actors, Sport etc) they all have one thing in common. People value (for whatever reason) what they might say. Before I go any further I should make the point that this post is aimed at our core readership (SMEs interested in business to business marketing). As such, the strategies discussed might not be appropriate for everyone, At its simplest, Twitter is a communication tool, how it is used depends on what you are trying to achieve. Now we have cleared that up, back to the plot… Twitter users follow someone because they value what they might say, and this needs to be central to your strategy for engaging with your Twitter Audience. Taking our central mantra “You are an expert in your field, make sure people know it”. Your aim on Twitter should be to use it as a platform to communicate your knowledge and thus attract those who find it valuable. On this basis Twitter is a communications media pure and simple, the key is what you are communicating. This then comes back to our other mantra “Marketing should be joined-up”. If you have read and bought into this philosophy, you will already be generating great content, adding it to you website via a blog/news feed, and communicating this to your contacts via email and other media. Twitter then simply becomes another tool for communicating this content. Tweeting links to this content becomes your base feed (maybe once or twice a month). But realistically, you should be looking to tweet daily or at least 3-4 times a week. For most people, generating this level of content is unrealistic, so the key (among other things) lies in re-tweeting. As you are building a reputation for being an expert in your industry you should also be aiming to become a trusted aggregator of industry news & comment. By following other (higher volume) twitter users (eg trade magazines, other companies within the industry, general press etc) who say things some of which are relevant to your followers you should have a consistent source of content that can be re-tweeted. However this is not simply a way of filling the gaps. Re-tweeting is vital to any healthy twitter strategy as you must always remember its not all about you. You are trying to create a stream of interesting content, and like it or not this is not going to be a constant stream of stuff about your company. Re-tweeting broadens the spectrum of your content, which is a great thing to do. If you get it right,  these retweets will add to your reputation. This coupled with spur of the moment tweets about relevant things that are happening day to day, should result in a regular flow of tweets from your account that your followers will find interesting. In reality, following this process is only part of the process, as Twitter delivers other tools for enhancing a communications strategy (Direct Targeting, generating real time conversations/use in customer service, segmentation etc) but that is part 3! To finish, and because you will always have those times when you don’t know what to tweet. You might find this post interesting.  

All I Want for Christmas is…..

presentWhich of these 2 options would you prefer for your business:

  1. A flood of enquiries in January
  2. A modest but steady and reliable flow of enquiries throughout 2015

I’m pretty sure most people would prefer option 2. This gives a platform to build a business. Option 1 may give a short term boost (not to mention delivery headaches!) but on 1 February you are back where you started from marketing-wise. Yet when people start thinking about marketing and planning campaigns, it is often about getting a quick fix and generating short term results – but often this goes hand in hand with spending money on marketing that the company can’t really afford – so needs to see a quick return to balance the books. I have long held the view that marketing should be a permanent function of a business, with a budget, just like production and accounts and HR. Sure, like all of these, marketing needs to generate benefit for the business but maybe accepting that the benefit might not be instant and that real success takes a bit longer to materialise can actually create more sustainable, longer term benefit. In the Business to Business marketing world, most people are looking to build relationships with customers that can yield long term revenues, but good relationships take time to develop. The customer who appears out of nowhere to give you business today can just as easily be giving business to your competitor tomorrow.

In the 21st century, people buy more than people sell

Having a sustained marketing communication process means you are out in your market regularly talking to your customers and prospects. You are more likely to be there when they need you rather than hoping they need you when you happen to be doing your campaign – and these days, that is the way it works. The availability of information through the internet gives customers the power to research and buy products and services on their terms, when they want, rather than only when the supplier company makes the offer. I said above that sometimes businesses spend more than they can really afford on marketing in the hope of short term results – often to be disappointed! Let me make an alternative suggestion:

Spend less but spend regularly - Spread your marketing budget

This approach implies 2 things; first, that you have a marketing budget – most SME businesses don’t, and second that there is a plan as to how that budget will be spent – again most SME businesses have no plan! Spending an a one-hit marketing campaign is a way of avoiding both of these needs – which may be a reason why businesses take this approach, though like I said, they are often disappointed. So as we look forward to the festivities and the longest single break that most businesses experience during the year, here are some New Year resolutions to ponder for 2015 while you let the turkey digest:

  • Set an affordable budget across the year
  • Have a clear, practical marketing plan
  • Get out there and engage with your market

If you have a good, relevant proposition that delivers real benefit to your market and you ensure they know about it and understand it, they will buy. Not all of them, and not all the time but they will buy! Have a great Christmas and here’s to a fantastic and fruitful 2015.