As the co-founder of Chirr App, we’re faced with the sticky problem of having to market a marketing tool. Most of the Twitter marketing advice out there is aimed at individual creators targetting individual consumers. We wanted to know what the best principles are for organizations using Twitter to market to other businesses on Twitter. This post explores what we learned.
The key difference in B2B marketing is that the sales decisions are longer and typically involve more people than it does in B2C marketing. An effective B2B marketing campaign will likely be less focused on direct sales through Twitter and more focused on building up credibility as an authority in the domain and gradually moving people into a more elaborate sales funnel.
B2B offerings are generally more expensive, take longer to close and often involve more decision-makers than products and services aimed directly at consumers. While B2C Twitter marketing campaigns can result in sales, B2B marketing efforts tend to focus on moving people into a more elaborate sales funnel where they have more time to make a more complex sale.
Claire Diaz-Ortiz, the woman who got the Pope on Twitter, draws an important distinction between two types of social content: brand marketing and direct marketing. The point of direct-response marketing is to make a sale. Brand marketing, on the other hand, lays the groundwork for direct marketing. The problem with direct marketing is that you can't only bludgeon people with offers and calls-to-action. Effective direct marketing is based on the goodwill and interest accumulated by great brand marketing.
Twitter might serve as your entire marketing funnel for a B2C offering, like some informational products. Brand marketing tweets helps build credibility and authority and then direct marketing tweets or ad direct people to a landing page. Every product will have a different optimum balance of brand to direct marketing tweets. For a sensible place to start, Claire recommends an 80/20 split. For every 10 pieces of content created, limit yourself to 2 promotional posts, then calibrate from there based on your results.
The main difference for B2B marketing is that the direct marketing tweets won’t be aimed at a sales page but rather a workshop, a consultation, or perhaps an email course. The purpose of a more complex sales funnel is to identify the people who actually have the authority to make purchasing decisions, understand how urgent the decision is, and then gradually provide the information and education necessary to become the obvious choice when the purchase decision becomes urgent.
The best metaphor I’ve found for all of this is to think of social media as a cocktail party.
You don't want to be the person rushing up to your friend’s coworker, who's just trying to unwind after a long day, and backs them into a corner to close a sale on your new whatever-your-thing-is.
The point of a cocktail party is to meet people in a low-pressure environment, have a little fun, and potentially exchange information to follow up on later if you’re both interested.
Much like a cocktail party, there is no formula for what you should talk about. Claire recommends starting with the following 3 categories of non-promotional content:
◻️ Tell great stories
◻️ Provide useful information
◻️ Ask questions
Tell great stories
In the context of a business, effective stories clarify the change your business helps people make (through your origin story or brand story), or they are customer’s stories of transformation (reviews, testimonials, case studies, or richer stories about the kinds of changes your product has helped them make).
Provide useful information
The simplest way to be helpful online is to answer people's questions. Amy Hoy's 30x500 program has this great concept called 'painstorming', where you harvest questions to answer by listening for them in subreddits, forums related to your business, similar social media accounts, online course group discussions, and anywhere else people ask questions online. The beauty of this approach is that you don't create original content. You can just curate it instead. Summarizing the best answer to a question or stewarding someone to a useful resource is just as useful to the person asking the question. And the best bit is that reposting actual responses to specific questions helps snap you out of corporate-marketing-robot-mode and helps you sound like a human being again.
Asking questions on a regular basis is an important aspect of non-promotional content because, if done genuinely, leads to terrific engagement. Direct response content can be easily measured in terms of sales or conversions. But brand marketing isn't as clear-cut, and engagement is the best proxy we have for whether our content is resonating or not.
These categories are not prescriptive solutions. Stories, helpful info, and questions are just sensible defaults. Claire calls these "content envelopes". Think of them as the pillars of your content strategy. Once you've established a baseline with these three envelopes, you should start experimenting with different kinds of content envelopes that could work better for your business. Maybe memes and silly jokes make a whole bunch of sense for your business. Maybe check out what categories of content are working for similar businesses and play with variations of envelopes that resonate.
How to set up content envelopes on Chirr App
At Chirr App, we have a folder feature for drafts that makes it really easy to set up different content envelopes.
The draft section of the App has a subheader for your folders.
If you’ve never used folders before, there will be three different example folders set up for you. You can use, rename or delete these folders and set up as many new folders as you want by clicking on the dropdown next to the folder button in the subheader.
You could set up a folder for each of the content envelopes you want to experiment with. These folders will then house all of the tweets and threads related to that theme.
You can start creating new content from within a folder, or you can add a draft to a folder while you’re writing it. To add a draft to a folder from the editor, you just need to click on the dropdown by the ‘draft saved’ label in the editor footer. This will let you add the draft to an existing folder, or it will let you create and save your content to a new folder.
Folders can be used in any way that makes for your team. The content envelop approach makes sense if you are exploring what themes to focus on for your brand. If these have largely been decided, then you might want to create folders for different writers on the team so that everyone has their own workspace. You can create folders for different months of the year or separate out different holiday campaigns that you're planning. There really is no correct way to organize your folders.
Now you have a high-level understanding of the main differences between Twitter marketing for businesses and consumers and how to think about putting a social content calendar for your business. You have two types of content, brand marketing, and direct response marketing. Start with an 80/20 split between the two and calibrate from there. Stories, helpful info, and questions are sensible envelopes of non-promotional content to start with, but the idea is to gradually find the exact envelopes that resonate with your audience and work for your business.