Twitter is now 5 years old – Long Live Twitter! With an estimated user base that is now double that of LinkedIn at more than 200 million users, Twitter is less about what we are doing now and more about becoming a channel for customer service, consumer campaigns, and big brands to engage with their present and potential customers. Needless to say, with the mass usage and attention to tweeting on the Internet, many businesses have taken advantage of the site for its marketing potential. This has become such a popular and fruitful business tactic that Twitter have included an entire section on how businesses can use Twitter to share information with interested potential customers, gather product feedback and build relationships with consumers, partners and influential people. Many businesses have already taken the liberty of tweeting to their advantage to increase sales opportunities and have been succeeding at doing so. Apparently, Charlie Sheen is not the only one “winning” on Twitter.
We often see the Twitter icon on the websites of most big consumer brand websites now, but the question at hand is: How can B2B marketers use Twitter as part of their social media marketing strategy? Continuing from my recent social media B2B blog case studies post, let’s take a look at 4 successful case studies of how B2B business is developed on Twitter:
Avaya – The Listener
My favorite example of how one tweet set up a 6 figure deal for a B2B company is this one:
shoretel or avaya? Time for a new phone system very soon
The fascinating thing about Twitter, when compared to a LinkedIn or Facebook, is that 1) there are an incredible amount of conversations going on at any given time and 2) for the most part, the information is public. That’s why social media monitoring tools are so important because you simply can’t humanly monitor what is being said out there. While most companies focus on the reputation management side of social media monitoring, I believe that monitoring conversations can lead to business opportunities.
Getting back to the above tweet, Avaya was listening, and within 15 minutes responded effectively.
The Bottom Line: 13 days later Avaya closed a $250,000 sale.
B-Co Communications – The Answerer
You don’t have to be a huge B2B enterprise to reap the benefits of Twitter. Even small, single-person owned companies that are targeting other businesses can take advantage of the same platform. The beauty of tweeting and social media in general is that it not only levels the playing field for all, it was also made for people, making it easier for smaller businesses to engage with potential clients in a personable and authentic way.
Because Twitter is a public conversation, and there are many media outlets on Twitter, tweeting can indirectly lead to business by receiving media coverage. This is exactly what happened B-Co Communications, a Canadian PR firm. Here’s what happened in their words:
…thanks to the power of Twitter, b*co [B-Co Communications] appeared in the Globe & Mail this week! Matt Hartley at the Globe put out a question on Twitter, asking if anyone knew any small businesses that were focused on the Olympics, and if there were any interesting stories…I contacted Matt right away, telling him I thought b*co had a pretty good story. And apparently he agreed!
The Bottom Line: The media coverage that came from that single tweet has allowed B-Co to develop several potential business leads.
Neenah Paper – The Engager
Let’s face it: B2B clients are as distracted by the Internet and social media as anyone else. People have less time to deal with sales calls, and Neenah Paper found that their target client base of small business owners who were designers, graphic artists, and printers simply were not returning their calls nor agreeing to in-person meetings.
Neenah Paper analyzed the situation and realized that their target customer base was sitting behind a computer the whole day, so why not try to influence them from within the Internet? This brought Neenah Paper’s marketing into social media, but is was the sales team who took the baton from there and realized that they could easily engage with their potential customers on Twitter and develop business through tweets.
The Bottom Line: Today there are 10 sales reps. who are using their personal Twitter accounts to close new Neenah Paper business.
Windmills Marketing – The Tweeter
If you didn’t know, Windmills Marketing is the name of my social media strategy consulting practice. And, yes, I have my own B2B success story to share. I received an email from someone I had never heard of that was interested in my consulting services. After connecting on the phone, it turned out that the president of a music company had been following my tweets on social media for some time and had finally reached out to me. “I see from your tweets that you know what you’re talking about, so how can we work together?”
The Bottom Line: One week later I closed the deal for my own social media strategy consulting, and add-on business thereafter has made this client my biggest so far in 2011.
There are endless stories of B2C success stories, but I hope the above case studies give you a sense of the many ways in which business can and is being developed on Twitter from a B2B perspective.
Do you have other examples to share with us or want to showcase how your B2B business leverages Twitter as part of your marketing efforts? Please chime in and share your B2B case studies with us!