Is Twitter a Compelling Channel for B2B Marketing?


Share on LinkedIn

Twitter is one of the two most popular social media sites. As of 2013, Twitter had roughly a billion registered users, but only about 255 million users are active each month. Today China clocks in as the country with the most twitter users at 35 million. But Twitter has never really been the most compelling channel for B2B marketing – at least not for lead generation. Although there are very compelling case studies to reference, they aren’t exactly the norm. Twitter quite literally gives a billion people the ability to talk at once in short sentences. Of course, now hashtags essentially create “conversations” on Twitter, but how much can we really expect from all this noise? The name of the game these days is volume, consistency, and quality. You’ve got to be found (volume and consistency) and if the planets align and a user is compelled to retweet, click, or engage, the quality of the content must be high. In most cases, Twitter is a more compelling source of branding for B2B marketers, especially during large events where hashtags will isolate a relevant target audience for a finite period of time.

But B2B marketers continue to place considerable stock in Twitter. In fact, many of the emerging next generation customer engagement tools have pre-built integration with Twitter for both outbound communication and measurement. Yet return on investment in Twitter efforts for B2B brands continues to be elusive. While compelling, engagement via Twitter is extremely difficult to tie to revenue.

Twitter ROI for B2B Marketing

Twitter ROI for B2B Marketing

But is Twitter compelling because it has “potential” via a large volume of users? Or is Twitter compelling because it actually drives a measurable ROI for brand marketers? According to 89 B2B marketers in the 2013 Social Relationship Management survey, B2B marketers are 9x more likely to consider Twitter to be a compelling source of website traffic than a source of sales. But that should raise a red flag: why is it B2B marketers consider Twitter to be a source of traffic but not a source of sales? Surely at least some of the destination landing pages and the content being promoted on Twitter could be linked to a conversation or revenue event.

A closer look at the data reveals that B2B marketers tend to rely more heavily on other demand generation channels, so little stock is placed in the ability of Twitter to drive sales. That’s because Twitter is functioning as a sort of snare trap for lead generation; you might catch something, but you don’t know what and you don’t know when. So engagement via Twitter remains compelling for B2B marketers because of other benefits, including branding and customer service.

What does that mean for B2B marketers?

  • Make sure links in Twitter drive users to a conversion even that can be measured. While you can measure engagement via Twitter, you will have to measure revenue or conversation based on a landing page you host and manage.
  • Engage via Twitter, but don’t count on it driving a measurable pipeline for lead generation.
  • Monitor Twitter. The volume of users makes trending and even slight increases in relevant keywords compelling indicators of changes in your industry.
  • Never take a robotic or generic approach to Twitter. Remember that your target buyer is still a person, so the more emotionally relevant the content is, the more likely it will stand out. Everyone is drinking from the fire hose when they engage via Twitter.
  • B2B marketers should always use hashtags on content. You are more likely to drive a click or a share via a hashtag that can be sorted and stored in a social media relationship tool like Hootsuite or SproutSocial.
  • Engage during relevant industry events using the event hashtag. Even if your brand isn’t present at the event you can still reach the target audience via Twitter. You don’t have to spend tens of thousands on a booth at every single trade show. You can do it right from your grandmother’s basement (or your office).
  • Include compelling landing pages on tweets or drive users to content that is actually useful. Treat Twitter like email marketing. Relevance drives revenue.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ian Michiels
Ian Michiels is a Principal & CEO at Gleanster Research, a globally known IT Market Research firm covering marketing, sales, voice of the customer, and BI. Michiels is a seasoned analyst, consultant, and speaker responsible for over 350 published analyst reports. He maintains ongoing relationships with hundreds of software executives each year and surveys tens of thousands of industry professionals to keep a finger on the pulse of the market. Michiels has also worked with some of the world's biggest brands including Nike, Sears Holdings, Wells Fargo, Franklin Templeton, and Ceasars.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here