Twitter has come a long way since it’s official launch in March of 2006, coming in as the 2nd most highly used platform for B2B marketing in the 2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends report. While LinkedIn is still the golden child, B2B companies are finally grasping how to utilize and leverage Twitter not only in their own digital marketing strategy, but also in their sales prospecting as well. However, B2B lead generation can be overwhelming, especially in the fast-paced world of Twitter. As I’ve been using this powerful platform to supplement my own business development strategy, I’ve picked up a few pointers to help you land your next lead on Twitter with you below:

  1. Have a Professional Photo: No, Twitter is not LinkedIn, but it’s still important to keep a consistent image for both you and the brand your representing. Therefore, you want to have a professional photo of yourself or your company logo as your profile photo to help prospects remember your face and your company as they interact with you through various channels outside of social media. The recommended size is 400 x 400 pixels in JPEG, PNG or GIF format with the file size no larger than 10MB. Also, it’s a good idea to upload your own background image to make your page inviting and engaging. Twitter recommends the size for this image as 1500 x 500 pixels.
  2. Post Valuable Content: You want potential prospects to be impressed by your tweets enough to follow you. Like any social media network, the content you share with your followers should contain relevant and valuable content about your industry as well the industries your prospects serve. And try not to be so vanilla! Give your content some life. People don’t want to read dry tweets.
  3. Be Educational (and not so promotional!): While Twitter is another platform to leverage your message, don’t be too quick to use it only as a vehicle to promote, promote, promote. Your followers know what you do, they want to know why they need what your offering and how it can benefit their business. Do so by educating your followers on the “whys” and “hows” and support your claims with outside content from already trusted sources. This will help not only to position you as a thought leader personally, but search engines will thank you by ranking your content higher as well.
  4. Use Images: Tweets with images get more views because people love eye candy. A recent Social Bakers study highlighted that content containing images is retweeted 35% more than content without. And size matters so that your photo displays correctly. The recommended size to post a photo in your Twitter content is 440 x 220 pixels or a ratio of 2:1 with the file size no larger than 5MB or 3MB for animated GIFs.
  5. Schedule Your Tweets: If your tweets aren’t scheduled by now, it’s time to get with the times! Take some time each morning and evening to browse articles that you think your audience will enjoy and appreciate. And when inspiration strikes, schedule a personal thought, question or insight to bring more personality into your content. This will save you time and energy during the day that can be used towards engaging with prospects, rather than researching new articles. I personally use Buffer, but there are many great tools to add to your Social Media Toolkit to help you find and schedule content for your tweets. It is also very helpful to have a content curator, such as Feedly, to have plenty of content to browse through. Thanks to browser extensions and apps for cellphones and tablets, you can easily streamline your social media scheduling no matter where you are or what you are doing. When scheduling your tweets, keep in mind that not everyone is in your time zone – this gives you more opportunity to share your content again and increase engagement. Another quick side note: (most) everyone in this day in age knows most social media updates are scheduled, but there is no need to make it obvious! Be mindful of your automation and don’t forget to throw in some personal insights and thoughts throughout the day, too!
  6. Create Lists: Twitter lists are a great way to keep organized. Once you begin to gain more followers, Twitter’s newsfeed can be fast and overwhelming. I find that it helps to create lists by subject, that way you can add people to the appropriate lists and see their feed when you choose to. Also, if you aren’t following someone, you can still add him or her to a list. This allows you to still read their tweets and interact with them (which hopefully will get them to follow you). If you don’t want everyone to know what list you’ve placed them on, you can keep your Twitter lists private.
  7. Engage: “I don’t want to follow them because they won’t follow me back” is a popular mindset when it comes to Twitter. Well, you can change that. The best way to get relevant followers in your industry is to engage with them. An established industry “guru” is not going to follow you back for the sake of just following you. They want relevant content and interaction. When a voice in your industry tweets something that you find interesting, don’t just retweet it. Leave a comment, thank them for sharing or ask a question to keep the conversation going. It is easy for a person to ignore the fact you’re tweeting their content or retweeting their tweets, but they are more likely to react to a direct mention, which can lead to a direct conversation.
  8. Participate in Twitter Chats: Twitter Chats are live discussions moderated by a host centered on a particular topic in the form of a hashtag. Anyone that is interested in the topic can follow, participate or simply listen to the insights by following the live feed curated from that particular twitter chat hashtag. I’ve personally seen the benefits from Twitter Chats as we’ve started to incorporate our own #DigiHealthChat into emagine’s social media strategy. It’s a great way to network with others, demonstrate my own expertise on a specific topic and learn more insights straight from those in that industry. As the audience of twitter chats increases, you may find it helpful to use a site such as TWUBS to keep up with the high volume of tweets. Another personal tip: If you are running a popular chat with a lot of people, it is helpful to turn off the retweets option while you are reading and tweeting.
  9. Use Hashtags #: Hashtags have almost become their own form of language, but it’s crucial to remember the quality over quantity rule here. Don’t overuse hashtags! Using a hashtag for every twitter post and using too many hastags in one tweet makes you appear desperate. Guy Kawasaki’s book, The Art of Social Media, states that 3-4 hashtags per tweet is appropriate. If you create your own branded hashtag for an event or twitter chat, keep it simple, relevant and easy to understand.
  10. Mind Your Manners: There is such thing as social media etiquette, and it is just as important as your etiquette in an in-person professional setting. Remembering the rules of the Social Media Cocktail Party will help keep your virtual manners in check.

The B2B Twitter scene is alive, active and FULL of conversation. Have you used Twitter in your B2B sales and marketing efforts? Share your insights in the comments below!