Does Twitter, the social network of microbloggers – up to 140 characters – offer any benefits to B2B firms? Yes. To prove it, we set out to quantify it by using our Twitter account, twitter.com/eboostconsults, during a four-week trial. We tweeted updates and tracked the results to answer to questions:
1. What types of tweets gets us the most (a) followers and (b) click-throughs.
2. What times of tweets gets us the most (a) followers and (b) click-throughs.
Here’s approach and what we found:
First, we needed to determine what we’d post about. Across all of Twitter, most tweets can be divided into two categories: “current activities” — such as “I’m eating lunch” — and “sharing information,” which often includes a link to an article. For this experiment, we took both approaches. We wanted eBoost Consulting to be both approachable (with our current activity tweets) and professional and knowledgeable (with our informational tweets about seven areas of practice). Next, we faced logistical obstacles: How do we tweet while maintaining somewhat productive? In other words, we were answering a common question from our clients: how can we do this in 5-10 minutes a day? So, we actually limited our total time to 10 minutes a day and used TweetLater to schedule them.
Time is crucial. Writing a 140-character tweet may seem easy, but finding something of value to add to the Twitter community required additional thought — and time. One solution was to follow emails that were floating within our Rockstar account, extracting comments on new gadgets or tools we were experimenting with. Again, time was a major factor: During the experiment several new client projects cropped up that demanded people’s attention, and those emails dried up. In any case, 10 minutes was our commitment and that was easy to follow. Each post ended with initials for the area of practice it relates to (i.e. EMA for email, CD for conversion design, SEO for search engine optimization, SMM for social media marketing). We like things simple.
To try and increase our posting frequency, we scheduled our tweets in 30 minute increments. These tweets were pre-selected each morning, save for the current activity tweets which were scheduled in advance as well. Since this was our first real concerted effort to market via Twitter, the sharp upward trend we saw in twitter.com/eboostconsults was rewarding and motivating.
Followers came pretty easily. How did we get them? It was easier than we imagined. We found blog posts with listings of 150 top marketing professionals and we followed them — and guess what? They followed right back. The Follow Friday mentions of eboostconsults would spike our followers. The second way we gained followers was by replying to tweets. Our reply was not only visible on our main Twitter page, it was also visible to all the followers of the original poster. If their followers liked our reply, they would start to follow us too. The downside to responding to tweets and actively looking for new individuals was, again, finding the time to do it. We only did this once we got our process down to 6 minutes. Then we allotted 4 minutes for replies and retweets.
Now, onto the results. To gather our data we used BudURL to track who clicked on our URLs within the tweets and Google Analytics to watch our website traffic. Here is a selection of our tweets and the number clicks they generated:
Number of Tweets per Type
Here are the time range data.
per time frame
At the end of the four-week experiment, we received 187 clicks from conversion design tweets. That’s 14.2 clicks per tweet. We got the most followers social media marketing tweets at a clip of 17 followers or (~2 followers per tweet). Again, all in 10 minutes a day.
As for whether Twitter offers any benefits to businesses, though we cannot directly connect a new client lead to our four-week experiment, we did gain visibility and additional traffic to our website. In addition, we learned how we can offer those clients interested in using Twitter a measurable way to test results. Therefore, if a simple test reveals whether Twitter is a great place to convert customers using social media, then yes, it does have a business purpose.