}

The 6 Most Common B2B Questions about Twitter

by Jennifer Beever on November 24, 2014

Social MediaLearning to use Twitter can be perplexing, because it has it’s own language and coding. In this blog post I provide answers and how-to’s for the six most common questions B2B companies have about getting started on Twitter.

1. What is the difference between a # (hashtag) and the @ (at) signs?

The answer is that hashtags are used to tag your tweet with a keyword that clues readers in to the topic of your tweet. Hashtags are also used to search for discussions on certain events and topics. They are especially popular for conferences, allowing attendees to communicate to each other about conference sessions and exhibits as well as to others in their industry that may not be able to attend the conference.

The @ sign is used to designate a Twitter user’s name. In the tweet below about the Search Marketing Expo conference, the user names are for the sponsors of the event @sengineland (Search Engine Land) and @marketingland. #SMX is the hashtag for the conferences. They have many, so if you want to follow the stream you can search by the hashtag #SMX to see what attendees are saying.

Twitter Hashtag and Username example

2. How do I begin to learn how to use Twitter?

A good way to learn about Twitter is to follow some hashtags and people and read their tweets for a while before you start Tweeting. To do this, you need to set up a Twitter profile. During setup Twitter will prompt you to follow at least five people. Follow some of your suppliers, customers and some industry media writers and their publications. You can find their Twitter accounts by going to their website and clicking on the Twitter social media icon or on the Twitter follow button.

Twitter Icon

Twitter Icon

Twitter Follow Button

Go to your profile to read Tweets from the Twitter accounts you are following. You can reply to each Tweet using the arrow icon below the Tweet, retweet using the square icon, favorite their tweet using the star, or click on the dots for additional options.

Twitter Newsfeed

3. How do I search Twitter by keywords or hashtags?

You can search by keyword or hashtag to follow the conversation about a topic or an event. In this example I used the Search field and entered hashtag #SMX to view the stream of Tweets from a recent conference.

Twitter Hashtag Search

4. How do I start writing Tweets?

Now you’re ready to start writing your own Tweets. A common question here is “How long should/can my Tweets be?” You are allowed 140 characters for your Tweet, and it’s best to use less than that to have room for others to comment if the retweet (RT) your Tweet. Also remember that the best Tweets include a link to some valuable information or a full article, video or blog post, so you need to leave room for the link (see below for how to shorten links). Oh, and if you want to accelerate getting found and followed on Twitter, save room for some keyword hashtags that are common for your industry. I recommend that you try to write a Tweet that uses 130 characters or less.

5. What’s the best way to shorten the URL for links in my Tweet?

Many URLs are long and full of gobbledygook. You don’t want these long URLs eating up most or all of the 140 characters you have in each Tweet! The good news is that when you submit your Tweet, Twitter automatically shortens your URL.

Tweet with original URL

Tweet with original URL

Tweet with shortened URL

Tweet with shortened URL

For the more advanced Twitter users, you can use a dashboard for Twitter such as Hootsuite or Buffer that automatically shortens your URL or other URL shortening utilities that have additional features. For more information about this, read the blog post by Amanda MacArthur, Tiny Twitter: What’s the Best URL Shortener for Twitter?.

6. How do I “talk” to other Twitter users?

The best way to talk to other Twitter users is to use the Reply arrow and type a comment or response to their Tweet.

Reply to a Tweet

You can also just Retweet others’ tweets to your followers. Retweet the Tweets that include great links to content, great quotes or other Tweets of those people (customers, prospects, associates, etc.) whom you want to promote. The Retweet below was done using the Hootsuite dashboard, and their Pro version allows you to add a comment.

Retweet using Hootsuite.com

I hope this post has been helpful for understanding how to get started on Twitter. I have seen fantastic results for B2B businesses who establish a presence on Twitter and engage their community. So, what are you waiting for?

Do you have more questions about Twitter? Contact Jennifer Beever at New Incite today. We provide social media set up, strategic planning and training for B2B companies that want to create more awareness, generate more leads and grow faster.

Photo from Flickr by FindYourSearch, Some rights reserved.

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Is Your B2B Marketing Provider Showing Jazz Hands or Results?

by Jennifer Beever on November 21, 2014

Jazz HandsIf you’re not getting analytical reports on your marketing results, it’s time to re-evaluate your marketing provider.

I saw the greatest expression recently while reading an article by Kate Kaye in AdAge, “This ad industry is awash in agencies doing jazz hands.” What the author means is that still, in this day of big data and analytics, too many agencies are still just doing a dog and pony show when it comes to talking about results.

It’s always been important to track and report marketing results. Before we were able to track behavior on the Internet with websites and social media platforms, it was more difficult to track how prospective customers heard about your company, product or services. Many marketers including me relied on manual capture and input of marketing sources and hours spent calculating cost per lead, conversion rates, return on investment (ROI) and analyzing the reports.

Now we have dashboards for just about every marketing software we use. The dashboards help manage the technology and then activity is captured in analytical data, graphics and reports. Google Analytics is free and relatively easy to use, and there are many other free and fee based software that can be used (some are listed in the article links below this post).

So, there’s little excuse for your marketing department, marketing consultant, or agency to skip over results reporting. If your provider is just showing you jazz hands with vague statements like, “You’re getting great results with our campaign!” or “Your new brand is creating more awareness!” just add the words, “And all… …that… …jazz…!”

Reviews of marketing analytic tools:

Web Analytics Review by TopTenReviews

10 Great Social and Web Analytics Tools by Search Engine Journal

Forrester Web Analytics Report for Enterprise from WebTrends

Do you want or need marketing results analytics and reports? Contact Jennifer Beever at New Incite today. We’ve been reporting marketing results for over twenty years, in all types of B2B industries.

Photo on Flickr by Joe Goldberg. Some Rights Reserved.

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How to Do Competitive Analysis in a Crowded Industry

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3 Tips for Creating Great Posts on LinkedIn and Facebook

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Why B2B Marketers Need to Market Like a Bunch of Babies

I was just reading an article about SEO, and it hit me. B2B marketers (any marketers, for that matter) need to market like a bunch of babies. We need to market like babies, because after a few years, we can begin to think we know it all. Dave Davies makes this point about SEO “experts” […]

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6 Ways Competitive Analysis Benefits Your B2B Marketing

In today’s fast-moving business-to-business world, competitive analyses can yield surprising benefits. Here are some of the ways a competitive analysis can help your B2B marketing. 1. Identify what kind of marketplace your business competes in Is your industry new and fragmented? Growing with increasing competition? Mature with larger companies acquiring smaller businesses? Or declining? The […]

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4 Surprising Ways B2B Marketing Campaigns Benefit Business

When a business invests (or re-invests) in great B2B marketing campaigns, it gets invigorated. That has big benefits. Here are four surprising ways marketing campaigns benefit your business. In talking to several businesses recently, I realized an important benefit of investing in effective, creative B2B marketing campaigns. The campaigns we’ve done for clients generated leads […]

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So I’m going to say it again. If you want your marketing to work, you have to first plan it, and then you have to execute the plan. Simple, right? You’d be surprised how many businesses fail to write a marketing plan. Or, if they write one or hire someone to write it, they end […]

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Why Lack of Strategy Will Kill Your B2B Blog

Blogging drives traffic to websites and generates leads. So, hey, let’s jump in and do this. Right? Wrong. To succeed in blogging (and in the bigger universe of content marketing), you need a strategy. Your strategy must identify your target audience(s), your topics, your target keywords, the tone or voice of the blog, frequency of […]

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