6 Reasons Why Tweet Chats Are Good for B2B

twitter platform popularity

Graphic Credit: B2B Marketing 2013 Social Media Infographic – What is the B2B social platform of choice for brands?

A Tweet Chat is a real-time chat, often scheduled on a regular day/time that are focused around a certain topic.  It started from the use of hashtags (the pound sign # plus a word, like #socialbusiness) which is how Twitter users signify the topics they are talking about.  Given that the most popular handle on Twitter today is Justin Bieber, why would you want to bother with a Tweet Chat as a professional?  Here are some of the key benefits.

1.  Right platform for B2B conversations

Facebook and YouTube may have the most users, but Twitter and LinkedIn rule the B2B space. While LinkedIn does offer forum type discussion posts within targeted business groups, it is a fairly limited with respect to live chat interactions. Twitter’s open platform makes it easy for businesses and marketers to host regular live chats on business topics to a broad audience (currently 500M+).  The openness of the platform also means there is a plethora of tools available to help you participate, host, promote, moderate, and track your Tweet Chats.  So if you have a business type topic, such as technology, marketing, career advice, leadership, Tweet Chats are your best bet for a live chat model.

2. Follow, not friend – public is the name of the game

On Twitter, you don’t have to ‘friend’ anyone to participate in the chat or reap any of the other benefits noted below.  Simply put, you’re on a social network that’s essentially public, so you can read anyone’s tweets by going to their profile, choose to follow them – or not, and participate in Tweet Chats on topics that interest you anytime without any participation barriers such as registration, approval by chat moderators, etc.  Twitter does provide a function whereby users can restrict their tweets only to an audience that they approve, but it is rarely used since it kind of defeats the purpose of being on Twitter, which is a public social network for all intents and purposes.

3.  Gain new insights

Tweet Chats done well will bring together influencers on a given topic space, so it’s a great opportunity to learn from other influencers, encounter new ideas, and gain insights on the major trends.  People often post links to valuable resources, such as white papers, infographics, and tools related to the topic as well, which can expand your thinking in new directions.  Tweet Chats are also one of the best ways to learn who the influencers in a topic space are.

4. Connect – build your network and extend your reach

Since a Tweet Chat is essentially a gathering of thought leaders on a given topic, it’s also a great way to expand your network and deepen relationships with your target audiences.  You may get new followers simply by showing up to Tweet Chats, but you certainly will gain new advocates if you contribute to the Tweet Chat in ways that are meaningful and relevant to the other participants.  The bonus here is that anytime someone else in the Tweet Chat likes what you say and re-tweets it during the chat, then you’ve also just been exposed to THEIR Twitter followers as well, potentially expanding your reach beyond just the Tweet Chat event.  You’ll come away with new followers who won’t just see your links and posts everyday in their Twitter feed, but they are more likely to re-tweet you after engaging with you in a Tweet Chat.

5. Learn how to stand out

Even if you just watch a Tweet Chat without participating, you’ll quickly learn what type of Tweets are picked up and re-tweeted multiple times.  You can test it yourself by seeing which of your 140 character attempts at insight, advice, factoids, or reference links gets picked up by the crowd.  If you take note of which of your tweets earns the best reactions and which are ignored, you’ll gain insight on how to make your tweets and content as eye-catching as possible.  As you apply this both to your regular Tweets and to any future Tweet Chats you participate in, you’ll start to build your realm of influence as people will see how often you are re-tweeted.

6. Build your authority and loyal advocates

Scientists have discovered that it really only takes 10% of the population to sway the popular opinion.  A Tweet Chat is a great way to share your expertise and thought leadership, build your authority and start engaging with that top 10% of influencers and thought leaders.  As you dialogue and build rapport with them, you will earn their respect and advocacy over time if you demonstrate consistent intelligence and expertise about your topic.  The more original and sound your insights are (as opposed to just re-tweeting others or pushing product), the more you will gain recognition as being a thought leader in your own right.  And, as you grow your network of loyal advocates, your own authority and expert status (influence) on the topic space will also grow because they will listen to what you have to say.

Graphic Credit:  MotiveQuest (based on

Graphic Credit: MotiveQuest (based on study ‘Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities’)

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Related:

- By Julie Yamamoto

How the Internet Has Outdated Your BtoB Sales Process

by professional speaker, chief strategist, and best-selling author Mike Moran, in Biznology.com

I’m old. 30 years ago, I learned how IBM qualified leads for sales. At the time, I know now, it was unusual to even have a process for such a thing, but that is how IBM worked (and still does). Most B2B businesses did not have such a process and the ones who did probably did not follow them as religiously as IBM did, but even if you don’t know you have a process, you do. Whatever you do is your process. And unless you have seriously revisited it the last few years, the Internet has broken your B2B sales process.

Les étapes que vous devez définir pour l’enton...

Image by eric.delcroix

All this was brought to mind as I prepared for a session I am doing Monday in Copenhagen for the IAA on using social media for sales leads. (Please sign up if you are in town.) As I thought back to the old IBM process, I am not sure any of it works anymore.

IBM had its own names for it, but the process closely resembles one that many B2B marketers use called BANT, which stands for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline. Basically, what it says is that a well-qualified lead has all of those qualities–the budget to make the purchase, the authority to do so, a proven need for what your product or service does, and a timeline in which to take action.

As someone who still speaks to clients every day about the services they need to succeed in Internet marketing, I wonder how anyone qualifies a lead anymore. First off, I am never talking to the person who has the authority to make the purchase–often it takes three people (including one in purchasing) to sign off, so no one person has the authority. I am not sure if the Internet screwed that up, but it screwed up everything else.

Budget, Need, and Timeline can’t really be looked at as separate items anymore. In the digital age, no one knows in October of 2012 what they will need in November of 2013, but that is when the budget is set for it–if “set” is even the right word. Budgets whipsaw back and forth as results as reported, because everyone knows immediately how they are doing and make rapid course corrections, in part because the Internet has raised stick price speculations to a high art. Everyone is taking corrective action with budgets before anyone even knows there is a problem.

So budgets emerge only after people think there is a need. And, as with budgets, how can you know there is a need when things are changing so fast? You don’t have a need that you spend a year fulfilling–you discover something (from surfing on the Web, or searching, or hearing from a colleague) that would make your business better and then, voila! You get the budget and set the timeline.

Things move too fast for it to be any other way.

So, what is the real way to qualify leads? I am  not sure, but remember that the goal is not to qualify leads–it is to sell stuff. And I think I do know how to sell stuff. You must educate your customer–you must create the need. If you do, the authority, budget, and timeline will fall into place and you will have a sale.

And, although the Internet bollixed up the sales qualification process, it didn’t mess up selling stuff. Use the Internet to create the need with content marketing. Put together the deep, persuasive content that explains the problem and explains the options for solving it, including yours. Then share it everywhere and make it discoverable by searchers and wait for the leads to come in. I bet they will be qualified after they’ve read that much about you.

Then, get your sales teams to focus on social media to engage with potential clients. Use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook–whatever works–to help nudge the clients through the last few stages. It isn’t just phone calls and e-mails anymore.

It might not sound like fancy process, but I bet it will sound good when you ring the cash register.

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About the author:

mikemoran-photo

Author of Do It Wrong Quickly, on Internet marketing, and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc., Mike Moran led many initiatives on IBM’s site for eight years, including IBM’s original search marketing strategy. He holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing, is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and regularly teaches at Rutgers, UC Irvine, and UCLA. In addition to his contributions to Biznology, Mike is a regular columnist for Search Engine Guide. He also frequently keynotes conferences worldwide on digital marketing for marketers, public relations specialists, market researchers, and technologists, and serves as Chief Strategist for Converseon, a leading digital media marketing agency. Prior to joining Converseon, Mike worked for IBM for 30 years, rising to the level of Distinguished Engineer.

Mike can be reached through his Web site (mikemoran.com). Follow him on Twitter at @MikeMoran.

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Posted by Regan Kelly