Are B2B Marketers Not Using Twitter Correctly?

Posted on December 15th 2011

A recent study revealed that while 91% of business to business marketers are using Twitter as part of their integrated social media campaign only 15% state they generate leads from it compared to LinkedIn where nearly 1/3 of B2B marketers report generating a lead.

When I first read the findings from the study conducted by Pardot, a B2B cloud marketing automation software provider, I immediately was reminded of something I wrote earlier this year Even Though It's Called B2B, There's Still A "C" On The Other End. In that post I offered a not-so-subtle reminder for all business to business marketers out there that just because it's called "business to business" there is still a live, breathing person on the other end of that line... and that line now comes in the form of not just a telephone or email but in the form of a slew of social media accounts. 

How else to explain such a wide disparity between the number of B2B marketers using Twitter (91%) vs. the number of B2B marketers saying they are able to generate leads via Twitter (15%). 

Are there a whole bunch of B2B folks, be they brand managers, product managers and so on who simply don't realize there is in fact a human being on the other ends of that Twitter stream? 

Or do these same folks not know how to engage and interact with that they perceive to be a faceless, nameless business or entity?

For those who love charts... and really, who doesn't love charts? - here's the chart provided by Pardot to help those like me who need visual aid...




















As you can see LinkedIn is not that far behind Twitter in the popularity field but comes in a distant third after blogging in the generating leads category. 

I find it interesting, too, that more B2B marketers are not using LinkedIn, like say to the tune of all them. Why wouldn't you use LinkedIn to generate leads? 

But let's get back to Twitter and why so many business to business marketers are not generating leads via this particular social network.

The great thing about Twitter and all of social media really is that it truly levels the playing field for everyone... social media is about people and Twitter makes it incredibly easy for businesses of any size to interact and engage with their clients AND prospects in a highly personalized and genuine manner. 

Of course the bottom line in all of this is commitment. 

Are these marketers committed enough to social media, be it ANY platform?

Are they committing enough time - the time necessary and required to get something out of it or are they on auto pilot, to put it bluntly? 

Of the 91% who are using Twitter, what kind of Tweets are they sending?

Are they retweeting potential clients? 

Are they even following them in the first place?

And for those B2B folks who simply set up a Twitter account to only Tweet when they feel like it and/or rarely engage anyone...

I can't believe I have to write these words but I will... Social media is not a fad. It's not a Pet Rock or a Cabbage Patch Doll or a Rubik's Cube. It's not going away... EVER. 

My point is marketers - be they B2B marketers, B2C marketers, brand managers, product managers and on down the line - need to realize that social media takes time and effort and patience. 

And in the context of B2B folks specifically, you need to realize that Twitter is not unlike any other social media platform in that there's always a person on the other end of that line. You're not trying to engage a one-dimensional building or product or brand... you're trying to engage a real, living, breathing human being.

How are you using Twitter to generate leads or engage your customers and prospects?

What other ways can a B2B marketer use Twitter to generate leads?

And conversely how can a B2C marketer use LinkedIn to generate leads or in their context, sales? 

Look forward to your thoughts... 

Sources: Pardot, Google Images, The Star Group, Are B2B Marketers Not Using Twitter Correctly?

Steve Olenski is the Creative Director of Digital Services for The Star Group, a marketing communications firm dedicated to driving engagement with B2B and B2C brands operating in today's hyper-competitive, rapidly evolving digital marketplace. 

steve olenski

Steve Olenski

A regular contributor to Forbes, among other publications, Steve was named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred. He is a also a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing and co-author of the book StumbleUpon For Dummies. Follow him on Twitter@steveolenski or at the nearest coffee shop.The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle Marketing Cloud.

See Full Profile >


Kelvin KC Claveria
Posted on December 15th 2011 at 4:40PM

Steve, this is an excellent post. Good point about social media taking time.

In addition to re-tweeting, another way  B2B companies can use Twitter to generate sales leads is by replying to clients. I think the potential to connect with journalists and bloggers on Twitter also provides B2B companies with PR opportunities. PR could eventually result to sales leads.

Posted on December 16th 2011 at 2:50AM

I personally find B2B social media such a challenge but an exciting one. We've been using both Facebook and Twitter. Between the two, Twitter has helped us more in terms of sparking new partnerships with others in the industry. I also observe much more activity in the latter with RTs and replies, compared to the likes and shares I get on Facebook.

Should B2B marketers really expect more from Twitter and less engagement on Facebook?

Thanks so much for the helpful blog post :)