7 Ways Publishers Use Twitter for Lead Generation: Lead Gen Series, Chapter II


7 Ways Publishers Use Twitter for Lead Generation: Lead Gen Series, Chapter II

March 22, 2013

In the first installment of our lead gen series, we covered the essential steps needed to set the foundation for an effective lead generation strategy.  We then discussed the best practices many publishers deploy in website and mobile features to generate more traffic, build brand, extend marketing reach and of course, generate leads.

There is a long list of social media to consider for lead generation, but in this post, let’s talk about ONE platform in particular: Twitter.

With over 200 million active users, you can bet that publishers are experimenting with it. But how do you get from simply tweeting content to identifying potential subscribers and customers, and nurturing relationships on Twitter? 

Many publishers are doing just that, and seeing results. In fact, Twitter and Compete recently released a study that reveals just how much potential lies in using the platform for B2B lead gen. 

Key findings:

Twitter users visit B2B tech brand sites at a higher rate (59%) compared to average Internet users (40%), illustrating the strong presence of a B2B audience on Twitter.

Twitter users search for B2B tech brands at a significantly higher rate (30%) compared to average Internet users (12%). In other words, Tweet exposure has a positive influence on brand consideration.

And perhaps MOST relevant:

The Tweet exposure affects lead generation more than site visitation, suggesting a correlation between Tweet exposure and lead quality. Twitter users visit a B2B tech company’s site with a higher likelihood to convert. While 4% of average Internet users completed sign-up on a B2B tech site, Twitter users converted at more than double the rate (11%).

How do you Harness the Potential?

1)    Start out committed. Time and again our colleagues express dismay at the very thought of using social media. It can be daunting. But it’s not impossible to use social media successfully and still have a real life. In fact, if you are going to use a social media platform, it’s better to fully commit to it than walk halfway down the path.  At the very least:

  • Make sure you have a complete profile. It’s easy to upload your logo and put up a background. If you have the resources, create a custom twitter profile page.
  • Make sure your profile provides a clear call to action with a url that leads to action.
  • Set realistic goals for how much time and when you can be on Twitter each day, and stick to them.

2)    Use Twitter Search and Advanced Search. Search functions on Twitter give you a wealth of information to find and target your potential customers. You can search:

  • Your own or your competitors’ brand and name
  • Industry terms/phrases/keywords
  • Trending topics
  • Key influencers in the industry
  • Location of potential leads
  • Hashtags (*see #4)

Use these searches to monitor real-time conversations that reveal what people are saying about you or your competitors and what people in the industry have a need for. You can learn who to reach out to and how. AND, you can filter and organize that information to make it easy to manage and develop a plan. Which leads to:

3)    Use Lists: You can create or subscribe to lists of users in order to categorize your activity or topics of interest. Your search results reveal relevant lists and trends. Retargeter suggests using lists to organize who you follow, how to engage, and when. Assign specific lists to people on your team, based on their area of expertise. This will help them engage more effectively with likely prospects.

4)  Hashtag it. Correctly. As you may or may not know, putting a hashtag in front of a keyword in your tweet makes it searchable.  It’s a great way to promote your content—if you do it correctly. Do a search before assigning hashtags to see what people are searching for, then only hashtag something that is directly related to what you’re tweeting. Creative Lipi provides really specific advice:

You can create a #hashtag that is specific to your event, run a search on that tag and get the RSS feed. You can then use Google’s Feedburner*feature to publicize the dynamic feed on your site.

*previously Feedburner BuzzBoost

5)    Use Promoted Tweets. If it’s in your budget (and you don’t need a big one for this), promote a series of tweets around a specific content offering or topic of interest to your audience.  You can promote your tweets in timelines, searches or both. What’s more, you can target your promoted tweets with exact match, phrase match and basic keyword match—giving you the flexibility to precisely tailor your targeting to specific types of leads. You can even do negative keyword targeting, to help reduce lead dilution.

6)    Consider a Social Media Monitoring (SMM) Tool. Of course you want to track your ROI.  Right now, the easiest thing to do is use a SMM tool. There are a lot of free tools out there to get you started, including Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. Or you could look into SDL, which isn’t just a tool, but a service. Either way, you have increasing capability to track the results of your efforts. To get started, you might want to look at Simply Measured for a glimpse of your free options.

7)    Can the Spam. Engage. This point is the most important of all. All the other stuff won’t help you if you don’t focus on reciprocal, engaging, relationship building. This is the basic rule for all social media. People want authentic interactions and useful information. If you pop in to drop your content and go, what’s going to stop them from dropping you?

  • Remember, it’s a conversation. Use Twitter to identify your niche and initiate interesting, relevant conversations that will benefit your audience.
  • Be responsive. Watch conversations and participate in them. When people express a clear need, respond with a helpful answer.
  • Create series of tweets that build on a specific area of your expertise and give people tools to work with.
  • Follow up with your followers.  When you get a new follower, acknowledge them and examine their conversations to identify what kind of person (and lead) they are.
  • Share your content, but not exclusively.  Jason Miller on Marketo puts it well:

As with anything, a little self-promotion is good for business but if your entire tweet history is only about you and your company, you’ve got it wrong. Keep in mind these two rules:                

The 80/20 rule says to post 80% helpful or entertaining content and save 20% for self-promotion.

The 9:1 rule says for every 9 tweets about your industry, topics of interest, or network, tweet 1 time about your company or its products.

Miller goes on to explain that his company has seen immediate results from their Twitter strategies: their average lead conversion from emails and online campaigns was between 2 and 3%. Twitter: 14%, with a cost-per-prospect six times lower than their other marketing programs.

Employ some of these tactics, and you may find yourself celebrating similar results, or better.