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Reduce Marketing Time-To-Trust with Twitter

by Jennifer Beever on March 26, 2010

Twitter TrustPeople buy from people they know, like and trust. Using Twitter can help B2B marketers reduce “time-to-trust” with prospective customers.

When prospective customers follow you on Twitter, you are increasing your touch points with them. You may have met them face-to-face, talked on the phone, and exchanged email. Twitter extends your reach and puts you in front of prospects with value-add statements that support their buying cycle on a regular basis.

But, be careful as you use Twitter for B2B marketing. Your tweets should be strategic and represent your business marketing persona. Too many tweets and your prospects may get annoyed. Too few tweets and your prospects won’t be engaged. You want to appear human to build trust, but if you have too many diverse subjects in your tweets, you dilute your brand and marketing persona.

I’ve blogged before about David Maister et al’s book The Trusted Advisor, and his trust equation (see Trust: Get It, Measure It, Grow It Online or Offline). Let’s apply the elements of the equation to B2B marketing on Twitter.

Trust = (Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy) / Selfishness

Credibility. According to Maister et al, credibility is increased if we can anticipate our prospect’s needs and articulate them. On Twitter, what increases credibility? Careful analysis of leading industry information, retweeting quality tweets by colleagues, communicating transparently with followers, offering original research and studies that are relevant to prospects.

Reliability. How can you be reliable on Twitter? Show up and post tweets regularly, respond directly to as many followers as possible, retweet your prospects’ tweets, engage with them! You can set up a private list of prospects using Twitter’s list feature to make it easier to spend more quality time with prospects.

Intimacy. On Twitter you can increase intimacy with your prospects  by responding to their tweets, sending direct messages, and, per Chris Brogan and Julien Smith in the excellent book Trust Agents, communicating with them as humans, not as sales prospects.

Selfishness. A while back Chris Brogan advocated a 12 to 1 ration of tweets to add value for others versus self-promoting tweets. Come up with your own ratio that allows you to be credible, reliable, intimate but still accomplish your B2B marketing and sales goals without alienating the B2B prospects you’ve worked so hard to get. Inbound marketer Beth Dunn calls this the Self-Serving Ratio.

Do you have examples of how you reduced “time-to-trust” on Twitter? Please comment below.

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