Top Five to Follow for Industrial Marketers
While many B2B organizations struggle with thinking of Twitter as a viable marketing tool, the platform has become an essential tool for connecting with customers, business partners, and industry in general.
In a 2015 B2B marketing study by the Content Marketing Institute, 63% of marketers still rated LinkedIn as effective or very effective. However, Twitter and YouTube came in second and third at 55% and 48% respectively.
B2B marketers traditionally leverage Twitter for one of two major purposes: to connect with current customers in customer service or feedback situations and to (hopefully) connect with new customers by publishing articles or other pieces of information that position their organizations as industry thought leaders.
Regardless of your end goals as an industrial marketer, the quality of your “following” network on Twitter is crucial. Many marketers make the mistake of simply following current customers, local and national news organizations, or any other accounts they feel will gain their organizations instant credibility.
To quickly grow an informed base of Twitter followers, look to your competitors’ accounts and those of other industry thought leaders and focus on the following categories:
The most obvious business partners for your organization to follow are those that co-market complementary products and services. However, also identify any and all suppliers who may affect your awareness and lead generation efforts.
Do you partner with organizations that promote sustainability or community-based philanthropy initiatives? Do you deal with equipment suppliers in other countries, implying that you market products globally? Business partnerships quickly expand your sales channels and help you reach industries.
Popular industry research firms such as Gartner, Inc., Forrester Research, and IDC list their analysts by the major research categories they cover. More niche-based industry verticals may employ industry thought leaders who also scan the Twitter landscape for interesting content.
Get to know the analysts who cover your industries and, potentially, create targeted content offers to gain their attention. Analysts can become the source for customer referrals when an organization is evaluating multiple purchase options.
Traditional & Electronic Publications:
Marketers are known to receive a mailbox full of print and online communications targeted at the industries they support. A single print-based magazine can publish several corresponding online publications, each supporting its own Twitter account.
Pay specific attention to publication editors and content contributors. Personal accounts are more likely to follow you back and may provide more focused “eyes on the street” as you publish your content. You may choose to reach out to these editorial professionals directly as your content offerings evolve.
Industrial OEMs and their suppliers belong to a wide range of organizations based on the verticals they support or their specific job functions. Since these organizations offer premium content to their members, they are ripe for “opt-in” marketing offers from vendors.
Research and contact the industry associations that are most well known in your industry or function. You may find the organizations already have established rate cards and offer print-based advertising, online sponsorship’s, email marketing, or social media packages. Your organization may even qualify for in-kind services or other creative pricing discounts.
Governmental, Educational, & Regulatory Agencies:
As the needs of today’s industrial manufactures evolve, new government and educational initiatives grow to support them. For example, groups such as I Make America, and com aggregate online resources manufacturers and provide a mechanism for affecting governmental policy. Public and private universities maintain Twitter accounts to connect students with research information and jobs.
Although most of these organizations are non-profit in nature, they can become influencers and recommend to manufacturers looking to build their supply chains. Additionally, their associated Twitter accounts offer a wealth of information ready for re-tweeting and re-publishing on your own industry marketing sites.
Overall, Twitter’s most effective uses in B2B marketing definitely fall into the category of “quality versus quantity.” Set weekly and monthly goals for the number of followers you hope to reach in each of the categories above. Then, use the categories as a basis for developing your content marketing strategy.
Given a bit of time and focus on building a targeted Twitter following, this simple social media tool can become one of your biggest awareness and lead generation allies.