A Week in Digital – 25th May 2012

Is Twitter going to become more marketing friendly?

Twitter Screen

This week I have avoided the temptation to talk about the first week of the Facebook IPO (although you can still read my blog from last week on it here). Instead, I’m going to have a look into the future for Twitter, the world’s second largest social network – and it is as complex as that of Facebook.

In the week, Twitter announced that they are going to make the social network more attractive to marketers, although the details of how this is going to happen, and how Twitter will be truly monetised, is not yet clear. There are some great examples of B2C organisations engaging consumers on Twitter, and using hash-tags and discount codes to drive online or offline sales. But what about B2B organisations?

One of the challenges of marketing on Twitter is being able to cut through all of the noise. I follow around 450 Twitter accounts and will receive around 500 tweets an hour – 500!!

I have worked with B2B clients over the recent months, and I question the value of Twitter for these businesses, although there will be some exceptions. Even if you are able to find your prospect organisation on Twitter, it is extremely unlikely that they will read your message (due to the vast amount of messages in the tweetosphere), and if they do read the message, that the person tweeting for the organisation will be in a position to help out.

I have had discussions with clients about the value of targeting individuals who work for the organisation, but I am firmly against this, particularly if you have not met in ‘real life’. People are in different mind-sets when they are on different social networks, and if someone has a personal Twitter account, then its unlikely that they will want to talk shop on it – that’s what email and LinkedIn are for!

So, is it a useful tool for B2B organisations? I think that it can certainly contribute towards portraying a personality about an organisation, or as an authoritative source of news from the specific industry (The Drum’s Twitter account is a good example of this). Being able to share links, photos and videos can create engagement within your industry (assuming that you have well targeted followers), but it is not a tool for lead generation.

Twitter is great at what it does – very, very fast moving news stories, trends with a short shelf-life and messages with an even shorter life (50% of a tweets clicks happen in the first 10 mins) make it an exciting network. But B2B organisations will need to set clear and realistic objectives for this network to be successful within it. Don’t expect too much from such a complex social network.

What are your thoughts on B2B and Twitter? Had any success stories? Let me know!

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