Why Twitter Is Still Important For Your Business (Yes Twitter).

“Twitter is dead”

I have heard this countless times from friends and industry professionals, talking about how Twitter was good “back in the day” but now is about as useful as a butter ribbon dispenser.

And for a long-time, I agreed. Yeah, I enjoyed using Twitter when everyone used it but when all your friends stop using it — you tend to stop using it too (and according to your mom — jump off bridges too). But let’s stop talking about the personal application of Twitter and let’s start talking about the business application.

I actually didn’t restart using Twitter until recently — when I was listening to a Gary Vaynerchuck podcast where he described how he got a large B2B client for his $100+ million revenue ad agency. This had me thinking — if someone is getting multi-million dollar business clients from Twitter, what’s stopping me from trying this strategy on smaller businesses?

How Gary Did It

The interesting thing about this strategy is that you are essentially just using Twitter as a way of gaining intelligence which you can then leverage for your future communications. The problem is that people think that Twitter needs to be the medium for sales communications — and this isn’t going to work.

What Gary stresses is patience, people are too short-term focused and think they need to use every 280 character tweet as a sales pitch. Instead, what you should be doing is having meaningful conversations with the people you follow / your followers and bring value to each interaction.

He also describes the difference between push & pull marketing — where too many people use social media as a push mechanism. Again, by providing value and discovering insights about the people you follow, you can use Twitter to pull clients towards your business rather than blast them with sales tweets.

In his case, he knew noticed a particular CEO on his network was a massive fan of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team and would constantly tweet about every game. Luckily Gary had picked an up and coming rookie from the Cardinals for his Fantasy baseball team. So he waited until that particular player had a stellar game — sure enough, the CEO tweeted about the player’s performance and then Gary tweeted he had him on his fantasy baseball team. This started a dialogue between the two (exclusively about baseball) where Gary would pose a question to the CEO on Twitter about what his thoughts were about the game last night etc… Eventually, the CEO started to notice all the content that Gary was posting (about digital marketing and how he works with Fortune 500 companies, the various strategies he uses etc..) and asked Gary if he could help his company improve their digital marketing.

Now Gary probably would have never had this opportunity had he simply just DM’ed the CEO originally about how great his media company was. This is the key difference to push vs. pull marketing — but let’s define it a bit more.

Push vs. Pull Marketing

So what’s the difference between the two?

Push Marketing — Walmart Price Promos

Push marketing = short-term & immediate customer action. There are specific types of events in which push marketing makes sense:

  • Black Friday like events
  • In-store promotions — sales prices
  • Many B2C products that solve a very specific painpoint
  • And many other scenarios

All of these things fall under “push marketing” as you need to educate the consumer on why they should buy — they are also typically time sensitive offerings so if you don’t tell the customer the sale is going on they won’t be enticed to buy. In these types of circumstances blasting out sales tweets are fine as long as your followers are interested in the deals you are talking about. As well, if there is a specific pain point you are fixing (that may have never been fixed before) you need to generate awareness about your product. However, if your company is providing B2B services this may be more difficult.

Pull Marketing — Picking a Mercedes over a Honda

Think pull marketing = long-term & longer consumer decision-making process. For example, if you simply tweeted to someone saying, “hey you should buy our new Mercedes S-class because it is faster and more luxurious than your Honda Accord” it’s not going to work.

Pull marketing works best over the long-term and being patient with figuring out client information & then shaping that into your sales strategy. But let’s use an example to dive a bit deeper.

Example — Using Twitter For Pull Marketing

Okay so here’s an example where I have used Twitter to generate business in the form of pull marketing. But here’s a quick backstory.

It had been over a year since I last spoke with a prospect who was interested in setting up a group benefits plan for their company. At the time we didn’t proceed moving forward because it wasn’t the right timing for them to set-up the plan etc… This is usually where a lot of business opportunities end — the salesperson decides that “oh well that one didn’t work out” and moves onto the next deal. Maybe if they are diligent they will put a “follow-up reminder” in their outlook calendar for a month or two away (spoiler: things haven’t changed since they last spoke). But in this case, I did something different.

After we decided it wasn’t the right time — I searched and found the companies social media platforms (in this case they used Twitter & LinkedIn). I followed them on Twitter and just kept an eye on what was going on with their business. As I mentioned what Gary stresses is patience — wait until there is an opportunity in which you can engage with the prospect.

Opportunity

One day on Twitter I noticed that the company had recently been awarded recognition by an industry group — I knew this was the opportunity to re-engage.

However, instead of sending them a “tweet” I simply just referenced the tweet in the email (old-school right?) that I sent them. In the email I just put “congratulations on getting into X it’s nice to see the business is growing etc etc…” and then I concluded with, “it has been a year since we last spoke about group benefits, if this is a better time it would be great to re-open the conversation.”

That was it — very simple. Except I didn’t hear anything back.

So then I thought — okay that obviously didn’t work. I began to think they probably weren’t even interested to begin with and all the other self-doubt you get as a salesperson.

But then 2 months later I got a reply to the same email (amazing they kept emails that long I know) saying that it was a better time to restart conversations about the plan.

So from what was about 2 minutes of work (checking out Twitter and then sending a congratulatory email) changed what was an inactive → to an active deal.

Conclusion

Now people may say, “okay well that email was 2 months after you spoke, maybe they were going to email you anyways once it was a better time.” Yeah maybe, but probably not. More likely, they would have forgotten that I even existed and simply asked for a referral from another business or done a quick Google search instead.

However, by engaging with them — in a way that wasn’t pushing my services on them (just reminding them I existed) I showed them I cared about the business and kept them in the top of mind.

3 Use-Cases

In my opinion, this is how you should use social media if you are in the business of B2B selling. You should utilize social media for one of the 3 following cases:

  1. Engage with other businesses content over time (liking, commenting, sharing etc…) until you become familiar enough to send them a message noticing that you may be able to help them with X (this method isn’t ideal — but can work)
  2. Monitor & Engage their social media channels and wait for opportunities that arise from their daily business activities can prompt relevant conversations about how your businesses product or services can fit a particular problem
  3. Monitor & Follow-up for Inactive Leads this is the ideal method because you have hopefully already met with these people (so they know you are a real person) and have an understanding of what their needs are. Why this is better than just conducting an out-of-the-blue follow-up call or email is this: you now have a better understanding of what is going on with their business and you can add context to your message. This is important as business owners understand sales and they will know when you are conducting a scheduled follow-up, “Oh hey — hope you are doing well, if you are still interested it would be great to meet again” and they won’t give you credit for the work you are putting in. However, if you show that you have done your homework (by talking about something specific and relevant to their current business activities) they may recognize you for that effort and give you another shot.

The amount of information we can now get from our clients or potential clients is better than it ever has been. Now let’s start using these tools to make our business strategy smarter than ever.

If you are looking for some more specific business development strategies for your business around this concept send me an email at tate.morgan@outlook.com

Morgan Tate

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by 299,352+ people.

Subscribe to receive our top stories here.