In my corner of the B2B marketing universe, I often hear clients assume that LinkedIn is the best place to invest for lead generation online. Despite the hard-line cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-lead (CPL) numbers being much higher than that of Twitter and Facebook, it can be difficult to steer B2B marketers away from the perception that LinkedIn is the best network for them.
A recent study published on Mediabistro's All Twitter found 82 percent of leads generated through social media are referred from Twitter. That same study found that Twitter outperforms LinkedIn and Facebook 9 to 1 for lead generation.
But everyone knows quality is more important quantity. Lucky for Twitter, their audience is highly relevant as well. In another recent study conducted by Twitter, 30 percent of Twitter users searched for B2B tech brands, compared to 12 percent of average Internet users.
The same study found that 11 percent of Twitter users who saw a tweet from a B2B tech brand went on to convert on the company's website by completing a sign-up form for downloadable content or demo, compared to only 4 percent of average Internet users.
How do I get results from Twitter advertising?
Twitter has several promoted product lines - promoted accounts (typically used to gain new followers), promoted tweets in search and promoted tweets in timeline.
If your brand is already up to date with the latest content marketing and social media best practices, then you can see an increase in lead generation just by joining Twitter's premium advertising program.
Before you start advertising, make sure you have these components in place to get the most out of Twitter advertising:
Content best practices: You will have a harder time driving leads through social media without great content. Work with an agency or your internal marketing team to get some thought leadership content published before you take off with your advertising campaign. In B2B, it's a good idea to start your campaign with a white paper, infographic and webinar on the same topic so you have something of quality to drive all of your newfound traffic to.
Landing page best practices: If you hide all of that new, quality content behind an outdated landing page, visitors will be disengaged-on-arrival (DOA - marketing is not life or death) and you'll lose valuable potential conversions. Study landing page best practices or use a tool like Hubspot to get your online presence up to tip-top shape.
Mobile experience: If your content and landing pages are not optimized for mobile, make sure you opt out of delivering mobile impressions on Twitter advertising.
Social content: If your social media properties sit dormant right now - it might not be the best time to start a social media advertising campaign. It looks a little phony, don't you think? To advertise to users on a platform that you don't actively participate in? Take 30 days and use an editorial calendar to get your properties looking their best and get in a cycle of regular content promotion so it doesn't shock your followers to see sudden advertisements from your brand.
Branding alignment: Regardless of whether or not you run a promoted accounts campaign, it's safe to say that a Twitter advertising campaign will draw more viewers to your actually Twitter account page than usual. If your properties are not fully branded (background, avatar, description, color palette, and header image), take the time to make them look their best before they're in the spotlight.
How do I measure lead generation driven through social media?
Twitter's analytics dashboard is pretty exhaustive for social media-specific metrics. You'll have an easy time tracking impressions, clicks, new followers, and more. What you will have a harder time proving is direct conversions from your Twitter campaign. There are several tools you can use to track lead generation referrals from social on your site - whether you launch a Twitter campaign or not.
Argyle Social: I'm a big fan of the tool Argyle Social. Their tool lets you create campaign codes and track all signups with cookies while crediting each of the touchpoints they had with your brand on their way to convert. Cost: If this was a Yelp review, I would mark it as ($$) in the range of "free" to "full-service marketing automation suite."
Google Analytics: If you're an analytics whiz, set up goals and campaigns within Google to monitor referral traffic that lead to conversions. Cost: $ (Can be free if you can manage this yourself).
Remarketing campaigns: Remarketing provider ReTargeter offers a service called ShortTag that allows you to retarget through shortened URLs that you can combine with your Twitter advertising program. Conversions are measured through ReTargeter analytics. Cost: $$$
Marketing Automation Suite: If you use a tool like Hubspot or Marketo and integrate with Salesforce, you can monitor conversions from all stages of the inbound marketing funnel. Cost: $$$$
Whatever tools you use to monitor conversions, I hope you invest in a Twitter advertising campaign to see the results for yourself. In the survey cited above conducted by Twitter, B2B brands who invested in Twitter ads saw an average of $14 CPL (cost-per-lead) for quality conversions. That's effective advertising in my book.