BtoB and Twitter: Marketing Strategy or Channel

BtoB marketers are using Twitter. But not everyone agrees on the value of the microblogging tool. The opinions of the nearly 400 companies represented in BtoB Online’s recent survey about Twitter ranged from extremely positive to somewhat doubtful.

About 70% of these businesses say they spend less than half an hour daily on Twitter. While almost half of BtoB marketers are disappointed with the ‘returns on tweets’,  the survey also revealed that the more time a company commits to Twitter, the more revenue it generates from this effort. About 20% of companies say they can point to revenue derived as a result of their Twitter activity.

Here’s how often BtoB marketers are Tweeting:

  • Every other day: About 50%
  • Weekly or less: About 50%

Successful use of Twitter requires a targeted approach. Businesses with position Twitter results often concentrate message releases around important events. In addition, they maintain a schedule for releasing tweets and attempt to make these releases during “optimal visibility” times.

The positive attributes of Twitter for  BtoB marketers include:

  • Twitter is an inexpensive form of marketing.
  • Using Twitter shows that a company is leading edge.
  • A B2B marketer who uses Twitter can stand out from the crowd.

But Twitter poses challenges as well. Marketers who want to track ROI on time or money spent can’t figure out how to make these calculations work with Twitter. Some companies don’t care. For example, Patrick Kusior, social media manager at Analog Devices says, “We're building the image of Analog as a responsible organization,” and he believes that matching dollar sales to Twitter isn’t the point. Other business leaders such as Mike Neumeier, Arketi Group calls Twitter a “single communications channel,” not a marketing tool.

For now, BtoB operators are still sorting out how to use Twitter. Those marketers who use a tactical and organized approach seem to have the best return on their investment and may eventually prove Twitter’s worth as an important tool in new media campaigns.

[Source:  Gillin, Paul. B‑to‑B Marketers still looking for return on tweets. BtoBOnline. 14 Jun. 2010. Web. 14 Jul. 2010] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.