Mesh Without Wires

May 17, 2011

Corporate Twitter for B2B: Who Should You Follow?

Filed under: Corporate Twitter,Social Media,Technology — kseniacoffman @ 9:48 am
Tags:

I’ve been asked a few times on whom corporate accounts should follow. The post below shares my thinking on a “Follow Policy” – hope that it’s helpful.

Follow Firetide on Twitter!

Follow Firetide on Twitter!

Early on, you have to follow people and hope they follow you back. So start slowly, follow industry folks who look like they follow back. Engage with them. Participate in industry specific hashtags, such as around events or #WirelessWednesday. (See: How to Use #WirelessWednesday to Connect with Wireless Industry on Twitter.)

Once your corporate account starts getting traction, you will mostly be following people back to reciprocate a follow. But, you may ask, why should corporate accounts follow anyone? Simple: (1) it shows respect and appreciation for the follow; (2) more importantly, it allows your follower to send you a direct message if they want to communicate something privately.

Here is @firetide’s “follow policy”:

We follow back:

  • Customers, consultants, end-users who are involved with Firetide, use our products, or are researching our solutions
  • Analysts, media and other ‘influencers’ (well, in most cases we had to follow them first).
  • Folks in our industries/verticals, as evidenced by who they follow or their Twitter timeline.
  • Accounts of our technology partners, potential partners or corporate accounts in adjacent markets (who knows when our paths may cross).
  • We also give benefit of the doubt to accounts with small follower counts – they may be just starting out, and our follow will be a nice gesture.

When in doubt, I check to see which accounts they follow – for example, if they follow physical security or wireless accounts that I recognize, they get a follow back.

We don’t follow back:

  • Social media consultants, news aggregators and other folks who already follow 3,000, 5,000 or more people. They are clearly fishing for followers. They may also be using automated follow software, so technically they don’t ‘follow’ follow you; something you posted might have tripped up the software’s algorithm.
  • People with protected accounts – if they want their accounts private, no reason to follow them back.
  • Spam accounts and twitter bots, for obvious reason.
  • Competitors – if they wish to follow us, fine, but don’t expect a follow from us (we do maintain a private “competitors” list)
  • Accounts that are clearly unrelated to anything with do, or that use Twitter as broadcasting medium only (often evidenced by all tweets being from Twitterfeed or another automated method).

Whom to unfollow:

  • Accounts that don’t follow you back or that unfollowed you (“how could they!”) Hurt feelings aside, Twitter is a non-reciprocal social network, so if our tweets are not interesting to them, it stands to reason that we should part ways. If you really need to follow someone who is not following you back, put them on a private list and follow their tweets that way.
  • Optional: unfollow “twitter-quitters” – accounts that have not posted in 1, 2 or 3 months, whatever seems right to you.
  • Accounts that excessively tweet their Foursquare check-ins. This is a pet peeve of mine, so this may lead to an unfollow or being relegated to a less-frequently-checked list.

Twitter lists is another great topic for discussion; I will cover them in a future post.

For more posts on social media, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

May 5, 2011

Corporate Twitter for B2B: How to Create an Event Archive or Chat Transcript

Filed under: B2B,Corporate Twitter — kseniacoffman @ 12:05 pm
Tags: ,

So you’ve attended, or managed, a conference, or participate in a Twitter chat, and want to save the tweets for archival purposes or to review them later. How do you capture the tweets in a user-friendly format?

With the demise of WTHashtag.com, I’ve been looking for a new tool to create Twitter transcripts. Of course you can use the built-in Twitter search, or http://search.twitter.com/ – but they only go back a few days, and also produce the results in reverse chronological order, so you’ll be reading the tweets backwards – from newest to oldest.

Of course, the answer came via a recommendation on Twitter – the new tool I’m using is TweetReports. The basic search, including generating transcripts, is free. Below is an example on how to filter results for an event hashtag. Same can be applied to Twitter chats, or any other time-based search you want to perform. When you export the results in HTML, they will be sorted from oldest to newest.

How to create Twitter transcript

How to create Twitter event or chat transcript (click to enlarge)

TweetReports appears to use basic Twitter search functionality, so the tweets themselves do not go far back. Therefore you might want to create your transcript within a few days of the event. The resulting HTML export URL continues to be available, but if you want to save the transcripts for posterity (and avoid losing them as happened with WTHashtag), print the HTML page to PDF or save as a Word document.

For other posts on social media, see:

March 26, 2011

Making the Most of Conferences and Expos: #B2BChat Offers Advice and How-to’s

Filed under: B2B,Corporate Twitter,Social Media — kseniacoffman @ 10:08 am

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that I am one of the moderators of #B2Bchat – a weekly conversation for B2B marketers. If you are not familiar with Twitter chats, please see my post: Primer on Twitter Chats.

Follow #B2Bchat on Twitter

Follow #B2Bchat on Twitter

With the spring season of conferences and trade shows in full swing, the last #B2Bchat tackled the best practices on how to manage them (and survive). Panels, business meetings, speaking sessions, trade show floor, dinners, parties (those I skip, I swear) – how do you balance them all? Below are the tips and how-to’s that #B2Bchat participants shared.

Starting with the basics – Q1. On the trade show floor – How can you be most effective, whether or not you have a booth?

  • tracibrowne: Show up with quantifiable objectives so you can measure success (or failure)
  • skylineexhibits: If you have a booth, promote ur presence aggressively to get right people into it. Have talented staffers who want to be there.
  • donseamons: Engage, focus your message, qualify quickly, then move on.
  • kseniacoffman: Pre-schedule meetings; don’t show up w/ out an agenda
  • NickBianchi: It’s good to set up contacts in advance, but don’t overplan. Many valuable things can be spur of the moment.
  • Brandspiration: Try to get a list of exhibitors before attending – research who you want to network with in advance & then approach.
  • MaureenB2B: Staffers should have great consultative sales questions around likely pain versus info about “stuff”
  • b2bento: Pre-event networking is the key! RT @vasanthgan: A1: Pre-schedule meetings, spread your key messages
  • DWesterberg: So many things to accomplish at a conference.  Think: press, alliance partners, buzz @ conference, leads

There was a side conversation on ‘disinterested staffers.’ I honestly have not seen this on our booth ever, but here are a few pointers:

  • tracibrowne: How do you know a staffer doesn’t want to be there? They usually make it pretty obvious…rolling eyes first clue ;-)
  • skylineexhibits: They either tell you, you ask them, or their performance is so bad at a previous show.
  • donseamons: I was just at HIMSS11, a large health B2B show. Many examples of disinterested staffers: http://bit.ly/epliJD

Q1 summary: objectives, preparation, key messages & questions, + enthusiastic staffers = success!

Q2. If you have a speaking gig, how to best leverage it ? Pre-, post- and during the panel

Pre-session:

  • tracibrowne: If the event has an online community be active in it
  • ASegar: On event community, let it be known you’ll be around pre & post your session to chat & answer questions
  • skylineexhibits: Speak early in the show, then have a booth on the show floor. Attendees will talk business in your booth. Can’t mandate, but you can ask. Networking with the other speakers is awesome, too: go to the speaker room, attend speaker dinner (if there’s one)
  • ASegar: Offer organizers short pieces, written or video, about your session
  • donseamons: Lots of pre-show pub in mailers, emails, social media, etc. Schedule time for the speaker to be in the booth, and promote that, too.

During the panel:

  • b2bento: Present agnostic, useful and good content. Don’t try to oversell. Network (online) pre and post events – answer questions
  • skylineexhibits: Don’t sell your product, sell your expertise through credibility by doing a great, informative presentation. Offer to email something of value (such as a white paper) for attendees that they can get by giving you a business card.
  • kseniacoffman: It’s appropriate to invite ppl to your booth after the panel (soft sell)
  • vasanthgan: During the panel, focus on the future trends/solutions and not on what the audience already know about.
  • itsjustjana: Post session Q&A is sooo important. Huge pet peeve when I book a speaker who talks and runs.
  • DWesterberg: At events I like to have the most giveaways for largest audience – Not at $200 item/drawing but a $10 item for 20.

After your panel:

  • ralaw33: Post show we’ve gotten the best response by using social media platforms to distribute slides and video. Extends use.
  • phylliskhare: I like that idea of creating a short video response right after the panel — that’s something to do right away!
  • ASegar: Try to get your session recorded; can use for post-conf PR

Q2 summary: Try to speak early; promote the session & booth presence; be active in online community pre-show; share your presentation socially.

Q3. If you blog or tweet from an event, what do you focus on?

Tweeting, live blogging, daily blog recaps and post-even long-form blogs are all useful, but immediacy is definitely with tweeting and live blogging:

  • cuferg: Focus on content: sessions of interest to your targets/audience, key messages coming out of the sessions, show floor happenings.
  • vasanthgan: Key Numbers (stats) of the business/market that is shared in events.
  • kseniacoffman: Think like a reporter – but put a company PoV on it (i.e. what you wish the press woud write about you) :-)
  • cuferg: I’ve noticed marketing presentations are providing easily “tweetable” content, key points in 140 or less lately. Any others doing this?
  • shotgunconcepts: @cuferg Just the new reality of an old axiom. You always need to leave audience with a few memorable points. They’re now 140 characters.
  • tricomb2b: Capturing the meaning behind the event and using information gained to educate and help others!
  • MarchellGillis: Interesting trends and sites from the event, I may reference folks that I meet
  • shotgunconcepts: Offer value in your event tweets & blog posts, don’t just be a self promoter
  • B2Bento: Good example of live blogging – @asuthosh did a great job of live blogging from SMWF – http://b2ben.to/btR5i9
  • asuthosh: Include relevant comments from the audience and reactions to those – that tends to be left out in conference material
  • skylineexhibits: I’ve shown a speaker after the event the Tweets I sent – they are grateful

Involving the on-line, virtual audience came up as a theme:

  • ralaw33: I focus on sessions so customers not attending can be part of discussion. I tweet before to find sessions they are interested in. I love soliciting questions from followers and asking during Q&A. Presenters like it since it means audience participation
  • itsjustjana: Key take aways from the conversation or sharing a problem identified and asking for more feedback or the agree/disagree
  • kseniacoffman: I had good feedback on live-tweeting tours – especially if a few go on simultaneously, or not all can attend. Take lots of photos – great for people following virtually

Daily recaps will be popular, both with virtual and live attendees:

  • kseniacoffman: Daily recaps are very popular – I get a lot of traffic to these; takes effort though
  • tricomb2b: Agreed! @itsjustjana Yes, when i can’t attend a daily recap is event gold!
  • CASUDI: I really like to see daily recaps ~ from others at a show ~ with good info clipped from all the noise

There were a few contrarians who do not do much live tweeting from the event:

  • tracibrowne: I have to sit this question out – I can’t tweet and pay attention to the event.  I take notes and blog later
  • ASegar: Frankly, the better the event (for me, that means the more I participate) the less I tweet. But If I’m at a presentation I’ll tweet more if there’s a backchannel conversation going on

Don’t forget your manners:

  • tracibrowne: If all you are tweeting is criticism you are going to look like a [not a very nice person]

And most importantly:

  • b2bento: Tweet with event hashtag – immediately creates a community around the event.

Q3 summary: Blog & tweet with key takeaways, buzz or audience reactions; Lots of photos; Solicit questions from followers; Don’t forget the virtual audience.

Q4. How do you ensure effective follow up?

  • MaureenB2B: Key is to define, before the event, what your follow-up goals are. Do we want names or warm leads or other?
  • cuferg: Based on pre-show goals, segment booth visitors, cold/warm/hot and have plan in place to address each group.
  • fearlesscomp: Agree on lead definition. Gently nurture. Score for handoff. And provide sale with content too.
  • skylineexhibits: Improved follow-up starts at the show: Write down what attendees said so sales know & are motivated to follow up. Plan in advance the fulfillment, the team, and who is responsible. Blog post on this: http://bit.ly/cuSLM2
  • itsjustjana: Document your conversations. Who, where, what, when, why. All of it. Remind me why I was engaged and then sell me
  • kseniacoffman: Note on the back of biz cards what you talked about, what follow up is needed
  • ralaw33: Never thought of using phone to scan. Awesome! @itsjustjana: With business cards i either scan with my phone or text the info
  • tricomb2b: Have a desired outcome in mind and steer the conversation towards the goal
  • tracibrowne: Ask the visitor how they prefer to be contacted…then honor that
  • shotgunconcepts: Event hashtag is not just for the time of the conference. Continuing using in the days afterward to follow up without clutter

Q4 summary: Document everything – follow-up needed, when & where you met, photo/scan card with your phone!

Q5. Tips for staying sane and avoiding burn-out?

  • shotgunconcepts: Two conference essentials that most people don’t get enough of: water and sleep
  • tricomb2b: Know your limits and what you need to recuperate before getting back into the heat of things!
  • tracibrowne: Stock protein bars in the booth for your staff for a quick pick-me-up
  • ASegar: Yoga too! RT @KseniaCoffman: If you can, find time to exercise!
  • kpainc: Hydrate well before show; limit parties; eat right; plan meetings & specific booths to see; don’t walk exhibit floor to explore
  • Brandspiration: Schedule breaks, know where to find coffee & water, keep a positive attitude & have fun meeting ppl.

But all this “healthy living” and “balance” discussion was countered by the “work hard, play hard” camp:

  • AitchesonS: Boring! :) RT @phylliskhare: No parties. Go back to room, drink good water, eat something healthy, blog, and sleep.
  • skylineexhibits: Tough to avoid all the parties when that’s when some of the best networking happens
  • Edgemon72: I would say get 7 hours sleep and keep attentive! Great data available at parties if your not drunk or tired.

I will leave you with these words of wisdom as a summary:

tracibrowne: I tell people the day starts when coffee shop opens and ends when the last attendee leaves the bar. There’s plenty of time for rest and sleep when you get home. Squeeze every second you can out of the three or four days.

Does #b2bchat sound interesting? Join us for a lively discussion on B2B topics every Thursday at 8pm Eastern. Follow @B2B_chat for updates.

For other posts on social media topics, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

November 17, 2010

How to Use #WirelessWednesday to Connect with Wireless Industry on Twitter

#WirelessWednesday holds as special place in my Twitter experience since this was how @firetide got its first @ mention when the account was just starting out. We probably had a dozen followers at that time, so it was new and exciting to see the Firetide name mentioned (please excuse the sentimentality).

What is #WirelessWednesday?

WirelessWoman

WirelessWoman, founder of #WirelessWednesday - follow her!

#WirelessWednesday hash tag was started by @WirelessWoman, aka Kent Huffman, CMO of Bearcom. Bearcom is a long standing channel partner of Firetide’s; they are the integrator behind the Dallas PD video mesh project which I extensively covered on this blog. (See: Dallas Police Department Tour at ASIS 2010 and ASIS 2010 Dallas PD Tour Goes Mainstream, among others.) The hash tag is used much as #FollowFriday, but focuses on the wireless and mobile industry.

Why participate in #WirelessWednesday?

#WirelessWednesday is a great way to connect with other industry folks, see who is active on Twitter and find new people to follow who are interactive and are in the same industry that you are in. Firetide wireless list is up to 140 accounts, and that’s one of my core lists that I check on regular basis. You can find out interesting things that you might not pick up otherwise: who is getting acquired, what wireless events are going on, what interesting articles people are sharing, and more.

How to join in

Starting with #WirelessWednesday is easy: just recommend your favorite wireless accounts. I try to participate every Wednesday; occasionally I use both the corporate account @firetide and my personal account @kseniacoffman. I check the stream in the wireless list in my Tweetdeck client, and select the accounts which (1) tweeted recently (nobody wants to follow ‘twitter-quitters” who have not posted in weeks; (2) tweet predominantly on wireless topics; (3) are sharing useful information. Then I assemble my list of recommendations, which is very easy to do in Tweetdeck. Don’t forget to use add the #WirelessWednesday hash tag!

I also check on who I recently added to Firetide’s or my wireless list, pick a few most recent ones, and add a link to the lists themselves, as a way to offer more suggestions for people to follow.

Here’s the sampling of #WirelessWednesday tweets from today:

From @kseniacoffman:

From @firetide:

Recommendations from the personal account tend to me more ‘personal’ (wireless folks I know on twitter), while recommendations from the corporate account tend to include distributors, partners, media and analysts.

Convinced yet in the power of #WirelessWednesday? Join today!

For other posts on social media for B2B, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

October 13, 2010

Social Media For Crisis Communications, Presented at ASIS 2010

Filed under: B2B,Corporate Twitter,Physical Security,Social Media — kseniacoffman @ 9:11 am
Tags: ,

It was interesting to be at a physical security conference, but presenting on social media. As a brief background, we at Firetide started our social media efforts about a year ago around ASIS 2009, in part thanks to my co-presenters Shawn Flaugher (@shawnf on Twitter) and Steve Surfaro (@stevesurf), both physical security pros.) But I found out that in physical security space, we were the early adopters and are now considered social media experts!

I focused my part of the presentation on the business side of things, specifically deploying social media for crisis communications. Using three examples of recent events (PG&E’s social media communications in the aftermath of San Bruno Fire, “TSA took my son” incident, and University of Texas Austin active shooter response), I illustrate how to use social media to respond to emergencies, to address criticism and to supplement mass notification systems.

For any business, it’s important to be prepared for a crisis, and social media must be part of you crisis communication plans. Plus, it’s one of the ways to justify spending time and effort on social media, if the higher-ups don’t see the benefits (yet).

View the presentation on SlideShare:

http://www.slideshare.net/firetideinc/social-media-for-crisis-communications-asis10

(Hope you were following my tweets on Monday and Tue from the ASIS 2010 conference and the Dallas PD tour. Follow #ASIS10 hash tag for tweets from Dallas!)

For more posts on ASIS 2010, see:

For more posts on social media for business, see:

By: Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

May 27, 2010

Next #B2Bchat: Professional and Corporate Twitter for B2B – Best Practices

Filed under: B2B,Corporate Twitter — kseniacoffman @ 12:26 pm

(This post also appeared on B2Bbloggers.com web site. For all posts on #B2Bchat, search for #b2bchat tag on B2Bbloggers, or visit http://www.b2bbloggers.com/blog/tag/b2bchat/).

Follow #B2Bchat on TwitterTwitter is one of the pillars of social media communications, or so we are told, along with corporate blogging, Facebook, and web. The reasons for being on Twitter are numerous:

  • Competitive and industry intelligence
  • Brand monitoring and “listening” to the conversation about your industry and your brand
  • Interaction with industry influencers: editors, bloggers, analysts
  • Learning new trends in the industry, in the marketing discipline, and what the movers and shakers are up to
  • Catching up with other B2B marketers (which #b2bchat is part of)

So assuming that B2B companies need to be on Twitter, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of managing corporate (brand) and professional (yours) Twitter accounts:

  • How do you set your Twitter objectives? What are you looking to accomplish?
  • If you manage a corporate Twitter account, do you also maintain a separate “professional you” account? How do you balance the two?
  • How much do you know about your followers? Do they engage with your brand?
  • Who should and should not corporate accounts follow?
  • How to avoid a Twitter burnout? Or is some time away a good thing?

Join fellow B2B marketers for a discussion on Twitter best practices, tips and advice. Follow #B2Bchat on Twitter for more details and participate on Thursday May 27 at 8 pm Eastern!

Follow B2Bchat on Twitter

For other posts on social media topics, see:

April 25, 2010

Practical Social Measurement for B2B: #B2Bchat Recap

Filed under: B2B,Corporate Twitter,Social Media — kseniacoffman @ 8:05 am

#B2BChat Thursday 8 PM(This post originally appeared on B2Bbloggers.com web site. For all posts on #B2Bchat, search for #b2bchat tag on B2Bbloggers, or visit http://www.b2bbloggers.com/blog/tag/b2bchat/).

B2B companies, especially those that are not web-based businesses, tend to be late adopters of social media. This has been my personal experience, as Firetide’s social media efforts started less than a year ago (although I had participated in LinkedIn groups for longer than that).

Many companies only have perfunctory efforts – they have twitter accounts, for example, but update infrequently or don’t engage with their followers. Given that we are early adopters (funny to say that given that social media been the rage for years, it seems) we still have to justify the time and effort allocated to social media efforts.

So the Social Media Measurement #B2Bchat was in part exchange of tips and insights, and in part a venting session – which everyone needs every now and then.

Some highlights from the session.

As a B2B marketer, how do you justify time spent on social media? Are there any detractors within your organization?

I was surprised to hear from one participant that “Day of having to justify SM to anyone is over.” This has not been my experience. I suspect that in many B2B companies social media is still flying under the radar, and needs to “come out of the shadows.” So there will still be adjustments as social media gets fully integrated into marketing plans, and stops being a skunk works project. Many comments confirmed my impression:

  • I just make the time for it. There are a few detractors in my company, but most support our SM efforts.
  • Some are quick to be detractors: tend to be expecting too much, or not taking time to understand.
  • I view SM as an extension of ‘traditional’ communications – advertizing/PR, so weaving it into our regular mark. programs
  • I have spoken to some, who do see fear of unknown and lack on control to be concern.
  • B2B is all about relationship building during long sales cycle. Social media is a great way to build relationships.
  • I can link revenue directly back to my social media contacts/time. Dramatic increase year to year.

What are social media’s practical benefits, even for companies who do not monetize their web sites?

The responses varied from lead conversion metrics (from those lucky enough to have a closed-loop lead tracking system), to better understanding he industry landscape and listening to conversations, market intelligence and building personas.

  • SM gives the users a chance to interact with you as a business/product. It’s a big plus.
  • Looking at SM as extension of PR, I track mentions, engagement, as well as briefings & other PR opps secured through SM
  • Maintaining/monitoring brand perception in real time is an advantage, awareness of enthusiasts/critics comments = opportunity
  • A step above brand monitoring is establishing credibility as an industry expert.
  • Competitive/market intelligence is a huge advantage that SM brings; gets rid of ‘tunnel vision’
  • SM for a small biz helps to level the playing field; leads to interaction with industry pros – as long as you provide quality content

The last observation was especially interesting to me; you don’t need to have a huge PR or ad budget to know what is happening in the industry, and you can engage with the influencers directly. In addition, having the first-mover advantage, you can establish a position in social media and stand apart from the crowd.

Do you know the impact social media activities have on your brand awareness?

There was no easy answer to this question yet, so many of us have to rely on qualitative feedback.

  • You do if you set GSOT (goals, strategies, objectives & tactics) at start & keep scorecard two track progress.
  • Awareness is a measure of total reach and increase in reach online. So yes through analytics that can be determined
  • Brand awareness can be measured and tracked to some extent; but crucial to establish a baseline from which to measure
  • It can be difficult to measure, particularly for small businesses without resources and access to high powered apps or 3rd party software
  • Social Media ROI question is tough. BUT, what’s the ROI of having a telephone? Or email?
  • Without question, SM lets small companies and startups compete with vastly larger firms.

Do you generate leads with social media? If yes, how do you track them?

  • We track leads from SM by using Google Analytics and unique URLs.
  • We do a lot of content registration: Webinars + white papers through Facebook & Twitter. 5-10% of registrations come from SM.
  • SM for our company has been key for building awareness. Our web analytics show SM as top referrer.
  • We assign a unique URL to each tweet and then track inbound clicks all the way to a lead or other success event.

What are the tools that even companies without social media budgets can use to track impact of their social media presence?

  • Trackur; Google Alerts; even Tweetdeck are great measurement tools (or combination thereof)
  • For tracking twitter engagement over time: @twitalyzer & @klout
  • PostRank is a great way to tie social media with blog performance.
  • Great SM measurement tools being mentioned: PostRank, Twitalyzer, Klout, Rowfeeder, Trackur, Radian6 (although a later commenter said “Radian6 is a great sm product, but I don’t have $’s for it.”)
  • If you are using an existing web analytics package, you can use APIs like the Twitter search/REST API to grab data on buzz.

What are the objections you encounter regarding social media initiatives? Any tips for overcoming them?

This was more of a venting session as I mentioned early. It surely felt good!

  • Biggest obstacle I hear about is security and inertia
  • The age old challenge in B2B = tying SM to revenue. Yes, it’s a cliché at this point.
  • Do I have the resources in time, $ & people to make it work? It is a relevant concern.
  • Ah, the famous question: ‘What if they say something bad about us?’ Answer: ‘Then you have a prime opportunity for conversion.’
  • Internal objections when starting SM initiatives? “Our clients don’t use SM.” “It’s a time trap.”
  • I have a client that would love to tweet if they could do so to a controlled audience. [Classic!]
  • “We don’t have time to do SM right.” “Our B2B customers aren’t using SM.” “CEO won’t like negative feedback.”
  • Another challenge is the perception that social media is cheap and does not require any specific knowledge and expertise.

So, even as it may seem that social media is a given, many B2B companies are still in the early adoption phase, and are grappling with associated challenges. The dialog helped bring them to light.

As one of the participants said: “Social media is an amplification of the conversations that are happening anyway.” With social media you have the opportunity to participate, rather than staying on the sidelines. Jump right in!

For other posts on social media topics, see:

February 19, 2010

Corporate Twitter for B2B: 12 Types of Compelling Content for Your Feed

Filed under: B2B,Corporate Twitter,Social Media — kseniacoffman @ 11:56 am
Tags: , ,

In Part 1 of this series on corporate twitter, I shared insights and ideas for getting started. If you followed the steps, you probably have some ‘early followers’ and a handful of tweets. Sadly, many corporate accounts abandon Twitter at this point, or begin to post very infrequently. The key here is to be consistent and keep your followers engaged. But how do you come up with content for your tweets? For me, getting the 1 to 3 daily tweets that I promised in the email to the company was daunting. I even posted links to new datasheets – lame, I know.

To help you keep your ‘Twitter momentum,’ here are 12 types of content that will be useful to your followers, will keep them engaged, and will draw new followers in (and they may be even paying attention, rather than filtering you out with 3rd party Twitter clients.)

Here’s the list, mostly in order of impact this content will have on your twitter presence. Items 11 and 12 may have most impact if you already have a substantial amount of followers, but it’s never too early to get started.

  1. Your media coverage: This is the best type of content for your twitter stream. I’m surprised not a lot of corporate twitter accounts make it a priority to tweet out their media coverage, given the amount of time and effort that goes into “getting ink.” Not only the articles mention you, your solution and/or your customers, they also come from an impartial 3rd party. Bonus points if the publication that ran the story has a twitter presence and you can reference them as “via @thisawesomepub.” Double bonus points if the editor or the publication put the article on their twitter stream, so that you can retweet them. (“Look, I’m not trying to self promote, it’s just an RT.”)
  2. Your digital media: Upload and link to your videos on YouTube, photos on Flikr, presentations on SlideShare, and blog posts. People want to know what you are about, and this digital content provides an additional window into your company. Deployment photos work very well; people like to see your gear in action. One of our early tweets was “@firetide:  Cool night-time photo of Firetide wireless video surveillance install http://bit.ly/RqDpQ” (it even got retweeted.) Production values do not need to be outstanding as you are just getting started; there will be room for improvement down the road.
  3. Events you are attending (planning to attend, have attended): Events are a great source of content for Twitter, with the added benefit that you can tweet about various aspects of them over time. When tweeting about / at an event, use the event’s hash tag, so that others can find you in the twittersphere. Bonus points if you have joint activities with other people and companies, and can reference them. For example, we ‘milked’ our joint demo at ASIS 2009 with Exacq, IQinVision and Pivot3 multiple times. This was a good exercise not just in interoperability, but also being able to reference the partners on social media.
  4. Local news coverage: Our deployments tend to get covered in local news if a municipality is launching its public surveillance system. Sadly, the local news crews do not get into the technical nitty-gritty of the project, and rarely even mention that the cameras are connected over wireless, let alone our name. I set up Google alerts around our larger deployments that tend to get covered in the local news. So whenever the system gets covered, I put the link on our twitter stream. Not only I’m linking to a positive story about crime reduction, community benefits, etc, in the eyes of my twitter followers I ‘created’ Firetide coverage by co-opting the story: “Hey, we did this!
  5. Your web updates: If you added new product information, case studies, white papers, webinar replays, put a note on Twitter. Be creative: for example, whenever we add a company to our Technology Partner page, we tweet it out, showcasing our partners, while sending traffic to our web site. You can also post links to press releases: don’t overdo this, and you may need to copyedit the headline into a compelling tweet.
  6. Retweeting others: Follow a few people influential in your industry (these may be publications, editors, analysts, bloggers), and occasionally retweet them if you think that their post or content they are linking to will be useful and relevant to your followers. You may even be followed back by said influencers. Also consider retweeting your partners or any other interesting people you follow; they will appreciate it and may return the favor down the road. Before retweeting, I make sure the content I’m about to link to is not about a competitor, contributed by a competitor, or present our technology / industry in a negative light. (Hey, this is a corporate account, so a certain amount of filtering and spin is permitted). Nor do I retweet links if they lead to ‘premium’ content that you have to pay for, or which may be available only to clients (analyst firms occasionally do that).
  7. Industry news and developments: Set up Google alerts for keywords relevant to your industry. I don’t source a lot of content this way in our core specialty – wireless mesh – since these articles are either about us (see # 1) or about our competitors. However, this can be useful if you want to get associated with a new industry or vertical you want to enter – smart Grid and transportation/ITS for us. So I occasionally tweet articles on these topics.
  8. Replying to others: If you see a question posed by someone you follow, or an interesting topic they are referencing and you have something to say, don’t hesitate to respond with an @ reply. People like to know they are being listened to. If someone follows both you and the recipient, they will see your tweet and maybe even engage in the discussion.
  9. Replying to @ messages directed at you: As a new account, unless you are widely known brand, you may not get any @ messages for a while. But if you do, be sure to respond promptly.
  10. Follow Friday: Twitter denizens recommend their favorite accounts on Fridays. Participate – even though it may seem cheesy at first. This is a way to be ‘nice’ on Twitter, and also show that you are actively listening to the people you are recommending. You can use your lists in conjunction with follow Friday, so each recommendation tweet is themed – be it wireless, physical security, etc.
  11. Asking questions of your network: You may not get a lot of replies if you are just starting out and your follower count is low. But it’s an excellent way to engage with your twitter community, and maybe even get your question answered.
  12. Building and promoting your twitter lists: List functionality has been a great addition to Twitter in many ways (I will cover lists separately). One way to get noticed on twitter is to (1) put people on relevant lists (they will likely notice and appreciate it); (2) promote your lists. Others who are looking to expand their presence on Twitter will be grateful that you put in the work, and it will also establish you as an authority of sorts, especially if your list is comprehensive. If you tweet out your lists, you may even see a few retweets.

What has worked for you? Please comment!

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