How to Use Twitter for B2B Marketing in 2021

Are you still doing Twitter B2B marketing like it’s 2018?

It’s an easy mistake to make. Twitter launched way back on March 21st of 2006, which can make it feel like a dinosaur compared to platforms like Clubhouse and Tiktok. And because Twitter hasn’t made as many radical changes as, say, Facebook, it’s easy to fall into a bit of a “been there, done that” mentality with the platform.

But Twitter is still a core part of most B2B social media marketing strategies. 82% of B2B content marketers use it according to recent research from The Content Marketing Institute.

Social media platforms used by B2B marketers

Twitter has actually introduced several significant changes in just the last couple of months. So if you haven’t significantly updated your B2B social media strategy for Twitter recently, it’s time to review it. While we are only going to focus on three specific ways to use Twitter for B2B marketing, this article will still give you plenty to think about.

So here are three ways for B2B marketers to use Twitter in 2021, all of which will support your high-level B2B marketing goals.

Twitter for brand awareness.

Twitter offers an opportunity to reach your target audience while they’re on the move. It is primarily a mobile platform (roughly 80% of Twitter usage is done via mobile devices). It is also, of course, primarily a short-form platform. We may have 280 characters now instead of the original 140, but this is clearly not a medium for long reads.

So instead of trying to cram your message into a tiny box, give your target audience bite-sized pieces of content that will capture their attention.

Short videos of 15 seconds or so would be ideal. Or a quote from an influencer or a piece of your own content. Always try to hook the viewer back to your website of course, but remember – even when they come back to your site, they’re still probably be on a mobile device. That means they may not want to mess with a PDF report that is almost unreadable on their phone. So simply optimizing your messaging for mobile screens and using Twitter for brand awareness may be your best bet.

To maintain brand awareness, you are going to have to tweet many times per day, even if you’ve studied your metrics and know which times perform best. The average lifespan of a tweet is approximately 20 minutes right now, so it’s not like tweets have a lot of staying power.

Add in the reality that your audience is probably spread over multiple time zones, and it’s easy to see how tweeting more than 10 times a day would not be overkill.

Speaking of brand awareness and fleeting attention spans, there’s one relatively new feature on Twitter for you to try if you want to boost your brand’s visibility: Fleets.

Fleets are basically Twitter’s versions of Stories. They appear for only 24 hours, and they’re in the same vertical format as Stories on Instagram or Facebook.

Here are some other things to know about Fleets:

  • People can’t retweet or like a Fleet.
  • Fleets can include text, videos, GIFs, or photos – and you can even embed a regular tweet in them.
  • People can reply to your Fleet by tapping on “Send a Message” or the emoji icon at the bottom of your Fleet.
  • If you have open DMs, anyone can react to your Fleets. If you’ve set your DMs to be closed, only people you follow can respond to your Fleets.
  • People with access to your Fleets can see them either in the “new” bar across the top of their Home timeline or from your profile by tapping on your profile photo.

Fleets are ideal for one-day promotions or if you want to make sure everyone sees a particular message from you – like the announcement of a merger or a webinar you’re hosting tomorrow.

Fleets are still enough of a novelty to get people’s attention, and Twitter is trying to boost the format a bit, so Fleets are definitely a way to amplify a message in a way that a regular tweet can’t.

Twitter for lead generation.

Twitter’s short-form nature may not lend itself to long reads, but quick, interactive content can do well. Assessments and quizzes fit the profile for this sort of content, and they can all be excellent lead generation devices.

Not only can you get leads from interactive content, but you can also learn an enormous amount about a prospect as they fill out an interactive quiz or assessment. Then your lead nurturing can be personalized to reflect what they told you in the assessment.

This promoted quiz looks like it’s purely for fun until you realize it’s being run by a wine company. Most B2B firms don’t have products quite as alluring as wine… at least until you start talking about the raises people might get as a result of working with your company.

An example of interactive content

Quizzes and assessments are one way to get leads, but plain old email newsletters are also seeing new life on Twitter.

Twitter recently purchased Revue, a newsletter tool originally designed for content curation. Twitter views it as a first step toward “making Twitter a better home for writers,” in the coming months.

Screenshot of Revue, Twitter's latest purchase

There have been content curation tools available for Twitter for years, of course, and some of those tools incorporated a newsletter-style content “container.” But Twitter seems to be taking this all one step further with their plans for Revue.

Twitter’s blog post about the purchase explains, “Revue will accelerate our work to help people stay informed about their interests while giving all types of writers a way to monetize their audience – whether it’s through the one they built at a publication, their website, on Twitter, or elsewhere.”

If you’re a B2B marketer with a vault of great content, I bet you’re already plotting how to use this.

While there has always been a sea of free B2B content available, I’m probably not the only one who can remember all the way back to the 90s, when there were still printed and emailed newsletters with super-niche and super-high value content. Those B2B publishers were very quietly charging hundreds of dollars a year to their subscribers.

The paid model may not work for B2B marketers who want to promote their own content, but consider this: All these newsletters could become a new channel for advertisers. Newsletter advertising has always been a niche undertaking, but if you find the right newsletter, it can be an extremely good use of ad dollars. If Twitter can figure out a way to scale newsletter ads, they could have a goldmine on their hands.

One last thing here: Have you noticed LinkedIn’s new “newsletter” feature, too? Interesting how both of these platforms are refreshing the email newsletter concept and fusing it with social media.

Twitter for community building.

Community building has become a core aspect of digital marketing – even for B2B marketers.

According to a recent study, “32% of B2B marketers said their organization has established an online community. Among those who have not, 27% say they are likely to within the next 12 months, while another 48% say they are unlikely.”

building an online community is a priority for many B2B marketers

This speaks to how much social media has evolved over the last decade. We are truly moving away from the “one to many” blasts that dominated social content. One-to-one conversations, whether they’re via comments or DMs, have taken hold.

Many social media marketers now report that most of the sales and real business that gets done is via these one-to-one communications. The one-to-many social posts are important, sure. But if one-to-many is all you’re doing on social media in 2021, it’s time to evolve.

Twitter is evolving in this direction, too.

Twitter’s new Communities feature was announced at roughly the same time as “Super Follows” – the ability to charge people to see your tweets. Unfortunately, Super Follows got all the attention. But Communities (billed as “Twitter’s version of Groups”) could end up being a bigger deal. At least for B2B marketers.

Communities allows Twitter to build on the central idea of conversations, and to reimagine itself as a platform of conversations. Communities also lets Twitter make it easier for people to find “their tribe” on the platform, and the new feature allows Twitter to give its users a way to define the conversation they want to have with their audiences.

All this may remind you of Topics, which was Twitter’s earlier (failed) attempt at this. Hopefully Communities ends up with a different fate.

Before You Leap Into Tactics, Develop a Twitter B2B Marketing Strategy

Each one of these new features and the goals behind them are classic B2B marketing functions. But while they’re worth doing, no one should just blindly leap into action to implement them.

Any social media tactic you take up must be aligned with your overall social media marketing strategy, no matter how cool it is.

Let’s face it: B2B marketers are incredibly busy people. We often have a dozen or more fronts to manage all at once, and rarely have enough resources to manage everything the way we’d like.

Pressure like that demands discernment. Sure, many B2B marketers really like Twitter, especially B2B content marketers. But just because you’re personally fond of a platform does not automatically mean your company should be there, or be particularly active there.

Also, if you don’t know what your strategic goals are for each marketing channel are, it’s easy to put in work that does not drive the numbers that really matter: The MQLs and SQLs and revenue that many B2B marketers are increasingly responsible for.

So head back to your big, strategic goals and the metrics you use to track them. Then ask yourself how Twitter can support those targets.

Once your tactics are aligned with your targets, consider applying the old Coca-Cola marketing formula, also known as “the 70–20–10 framework.”

the 70–20–10 framework marketing mix

Here’s how it would work: You can take what’s been working for you on Twitter, and make that 70% of your content, or 70% of the resources you allocate to the platform (whichever you have less of).

Then take 20% of your content or resources and pivot it into some of the new features we’ve mentioned here. Things like Fleets, or testing out a Revue newsletter.

Then set aside 10% of your resources or content for truly cutting-edge, experimental stuff, like Communities. The worst that will happen is that your high-risk tactic will fail. But if it does, you now know what didn’t work. That’s good for focus – you have one less shiny object to distract you or to wonder about..

But maybe your experimental new marketing tactic will work, or it will work with a couple of small adjustments. Then… congratulations! You have a new way to get results from your social media marketing. You’ve proved once again that B2B marketing doesn’t have to be dull.

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