I used to be big into Twitter.
I like the micro bits of information, the ability to see what’s trending, and it’s (mostly) fun meeting and engaging people online.
But Twitter is definitely dying a slow death.
And it’s not because the company isn’t adding enough new users, or because people are moving to SnapChat and Instagram – it’s because people aren’t engaging on Twitter anymore – especially businesses.
The latest evidence comes via TrackMaven and their 2016 Social Media Strategy Report: B2B Edition.
Take a look at the illustration below. By B2B industry, it shows the engagement ratio by social media platform (the bigger the dot, the more the engagement).
As you can see, Twitter has the lowest levels of engagement for B2B companies, followed very closely by LinkedIn.
In fairness to Twitter and LinkedIn, Instagram hasn’t been around as long, and I’d bet in a couple years you’ll see much lower engagement.
Too much “media”, not enough “social”.
B2B companies have gotten into the bad habit of using social media to over promote their content, their company, and themselves.
They see Twitter as a way to create brand awareness instead of creating engagement.
But without the “social”, it’s just “media”…and plummeting engagement is the death knell of any social platform.
How Do We Reverse this Trend?
It’s simple, we promote less, we engage more.
Thus, I give you…
The 10 Twitter Commandments for Better B2B Engagement
1. Thou Shall Promote Others 5x as Much as Yourself
Possibly the hardest thing for brands to do: promote others. That doesn’t necessarily mean promoting competitors, but spotlighting people who wrote a great post, posted a video that you learned from, or simply delivered outstanding customer service. As a general rule, promote others about 5x as much as you promote yourself.
2. Thou Shall Say “Thank You”
I know it’s a tired cliche on social media, but “be human”. Say thank you to people who comment on your blogs, share your posts, or give you valuable feedback. And when you address them, use their names and talk about things other than business once in a while.
3. Thou Shall Follow Back
You don’t need to follow back everyone who follows you, but don’t be that Tweeter who has thousands of followers and only follows a few people. Follow back those who are credible and relevant to your Twitter strategy.
4. Thou Shall Not Just Retweet…But Add Insight Too
Twitter is a firehose of information, so instead of just redistributing information to your followers with a retweet, add your insight. If news breaks about Microsoft buying LinkedIn, or Google is dropping its paid ads on right hand side, don’t just hit RT, add your opinion. People will more likely respond to an opinion than a piece of news.
5. Thou Shall Not Just Schedule Posts…But Participate
Call it the Buffer or Hootsuite syndrome: brands that do little more than schedule posts to go out over the day or week. I think it’s okay to schedule posts, but don’t overdo it. More importantly, check-in and engage every hour (if possible) to engage with others, and comment on their tweets and posts. Balance the “social” with the “media”.
6. Thou Shall Comment on Others’ Tweets
Just like above, Twitter isn’t just about pushing out links, stats, news, and information – it’s about being social. 99.9% of tweets get zero response, so take time each day to comment on someone else’s tweets. They’ll appreciate your thoughts and insights.
7. Thou Shall Join Tweet Chats
There’s probably a Tweetchat taking place right now that you’d be interested in, whether it’s to learn, ask questions, meet others, or to even host a chat. Engage!
8. Thou Shall Not Content Spam
There are 6000 tweets that are published every second. Yes, every second. So if you’re just using Twitter for sole purpose of pushing out content, you need to stop using Twitter (and most B2B companies fall into this category). Follow the “everybody matters on social media except me” rule, and take the “me” out of media.
9. Thou Shall Tweet Without Links
Take a look at your last 50 tweets. How many of them have links in them? If it’s more than 30, you need to focus less on content distribution, and more on social engagement.
10. Thou Shall Meet in Real Life
For businesses, social media is all about building meaningful professional relationships. There’s no better way to do that than to actual meet the people you engage with on Twitter. Meet at an event, attend a Twitter meetup, or invite your followers for a cup of coffee.
Now that’s putting the “social” in social media.