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Attention B2B Marketers: Are Your Twitter Followers Worthless?

Have you ever had the sneaking suspicion that something was wrong, but were afraid to investigate further and find out? Sure you have, and so have we. Well, you can’t hide under the covers any longer, it’s time to come out and face the truth. 

Big, Worthless Numbers

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If you’re a B2B marketer, chances are good that your Twitter followers are pretty much worthless.

Yes, we know that your company has hundreds or thousands, or maybe even tens of thousands of Twitter followers and that you take pride in increasing that number day in and day out. That’s the metric for success on social media right? Having lots of Twitter followers.

That doesn’t change the fact that your Twitter followers are probably worthless — sorry!

What do we mean by worthless?

In our work with B2B companies, we've found that 90 to 99 percent of their Twitter followers are irrelevant, not real and even potentially harmful. These are not folks your sales team will want to talk to (ever). They aren't qualified prospects, don’t influence the buying process, can’t share information within your target audience. In short — worthless.

Why are B2B Twitter audiences of such poor quality?

Here are six reasons:

  1. Marketers focus on the number of Twitter followers as the metric for success.
  2. Social media managers follow back irrelevant people (and bots) that follow the company, which in turn attracts more low quality followers.
  3. Marketing struggles to consistently create and share quality content that attracts the target audience.
  4. All Twitter followers are treated the same (would you even know if a prospect, customer or industry influencer started following your account today?).
  5. No one reviews, categorizes and prunes who is following (and who the company follows).
  6. There is no outreach strategy to directly engage the company’s target audience.

Just to be clear, your company doesn't need to be guilty of all six — even one reason is enough to hurt the quality of your Twitter followers.

Now for the good news: here are five things you can do to make sure your Twitter audience grows over time to be chock-full of prospects, customers and key influencers.

  1. Change the Twitter success metric to be about quality not quantity. At minimum, exclude any employees, vendors, competitors, Twitter bots and other non-qualified followers when calculating “growth” in followers.
  2. Set up different processes based on who is following. For example, if a prospect starts following, then follow back. Also, thank them for following and offer them a link to relevant content while you’re at it. And make it a point to retweet them from time to time.
  3. Ramp up the content marketing. Content is the fuel of any successful social media program. Consistently curating, customizing, and creating relevant and helpful content will go a long way to attracting the kinds of followers you want.
  4. Make it a priority to find and engage prospects and customers active on Twitter. This includes decision makers, key influencers, and the company handles for prospects and customers. Over time, this will result in many of them following back (and attracting others like them!)
  5. Track and measure the performance of your Twitter audience. How is Twitter helping with your B2B social marketing metrics — website traffic, white paper downloads, webinar registrations, etc. And how is this changing over time?

So are your Twitter followers worthless … or the rare exception?

There’s only one way to find out. Turn on your flashlight and go take a look!

Image courtesy of Pigdevil Photo (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: To get more of Carter's perspective on B2B Social Marketing, read Why You Don’t Want an Agency Managing Your B2B Social Marketing

About the Author

Carter is the Founder and CEO of Leadtail, a marketing agency that focuses on online marketing and social media for B2B companies. Carter and his team have developed and implemented social marketing programs and campaigns for leading consumer and business brands including Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent, British Telecom, Symantec and TiVo.

 
 
 
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