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BtoB

Twitter marketing mistakes that will kill your efforts

Social media marketing is a great way for businesses to increase brand awareness, drive traffic and engage directly with customers and potential buyers. And if you work for a b-to-b company, chances are you already know that. A recent report from the Content Marketing Institute listed social media as the most popular tactic for b-to-b content marketing. That means it's more popular than blogs, e-newsletters, videos, webinars—everything. Unfortunately, it's also an area where many marketers still fail, especially when it comes to Twitter. There are many nuances that go into a creating successful b-to-b Twitter marketing strategy, especially when you factor in working with outside agencies or taking advantage of Twitter's paid ads program. But at the very least, every company should be able to get the basics down. To help, here are some of the most common mistakes organizations make on Twitter: • You don't have a content strategy. If you ask me, this is the No. 1 reason some companies fail to make an impact on Twitter. Relevant, engaging content is the key to positioning yourself online as a thought leader in your field, and people tend to spend more money with businesses they trust. Crafting useful, topical content will help you become that trusted source of information for your audience, and you can use Twitter to share those resources and increase brand awareness, since sharing quality content is the best way to drive followers from Twitter to your company website. • You tweet too often or not enough. Determining the appropriate amount of time to invest on Twitter can be tricky. Tweet too much and you risk annoying your audience by flooding their news feeds; tweet too little and your messages are sure to get buried while your followership languishes. So where's the sweet spot? While some folks will tell you that two tweets a day is fine for b-to-b, if you ask me that's just not enough. (And if you're tweeting less than once per day, you might as well not even bother.) If you really want to use Twitter as a marketing tool and get your messages heard, I'd recommend at least five to 10 tweets per day during the week. This will ensure that you're not bombarding people with messages but still posting often enough that your tweets won't be lost in social oblivion. • Your tweets are too "me-focused." For marketers, it's only natural to want to gear a strategy around the company and its message. But social media works like a conversation; and, if you spend too much time talking about yourself, the people listening will eventually get turned off and tune you out. If one of your goals is to get other people to share your tweets and content with their followers, then you should be prepared to return the favor. Find external ideas and posts that your audience will be interested in, then share them with your followers. To help find the proper mix, some marketers use the 4-1-1 strategy. The idea here is that for every one tweet linking to a piece of your own content, and another tweet that is purely promotional, you should post four tweets that share content from others around the Web. This will help you build relationships with other key influencers in your field, which could lead to eventual partnerships or—at the very least—encourage them to share your content. Sharing other sources of information will also help position you as a thought leader and generate more trust and respect from your followers. • You lack staff involvement. Having a brand Twitter handle for your company is great, but don't stop there. You can further increase your reach online by encouraging more members on your team to get involved. At the very least, most members of your marketing team should be utilizing Twitter, LinkedIn and other social options to share content and promote your brand. Of course, even employees with personal accounts are representing your company online, so be sure to draft a simple social media policy for team members to follow. Getting more people involved with Twitter will help put a human face on your business and position your staff as industry thought leaders as well. Brendan Cournoyer is manager-content marketing at Brainshark Inc. (www.brainshark.com). He can be reached at bcournoyer@brainshark.com.
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