LinkedIn has dominated the world of B2B social sales and marketing for some time now. However a new study reported on the Forbes website suggests that Twitter has become every bit as important, especially from a sales point of view.
According to Vanessa Di Mauro, CEO and chief digital officer of Leader Networks, Twitter offers something that LinkedIn can't: "Professionals are more protective over their LinkedIn connections than their twitter exchanges," she explained. "I like to describe Twitter as the bar after work, where you keep your tie on but loosen it a bit, and LinkedIn is the conference room in the corporate office."
I like that analogy. There's a time and a place for 'corporate' speak, and LinkedIn is a great way to form connections with those in your industry, we know that clients and customers like to see the personal side of brands; and Twitter often provides a more natural platform for starting up a casual conversation.
Jon Ferrara, CEO of Nimble and founder of CRM software GoldMine, said that if he had to choose one social media platform it would be Twitter, as "it's the most relevantly natural way to authentically connect in a human personal way."
So why does Twitter work so well for B2Bs? For one thing, it's easy to start a conversation with just about anybody - unlike on LinkedIn where you have to be connected first (or pay for premium access). And casual tweets and conversations can often reveal far more about a person - or a brand - than the lengthier, more structured interactions that tend to take place on LinkedIn.
To my mind the power of Twitter can best be summed up in a single word: ‘serendipity’. The Oxford Dictionary defines serendipity as ‘the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way”. For me, that’s what makes Twitter irreplaceable as a B2B business tool and explains how it has opened up countless great new connections over the years, including some of my best clients.
And the beauty of serendipity Twitter-style is that success doesn’t just have to come down to dumb luck. As legendary golfer Gary Player once said, ‘the harder I practise, the luckier I get’, and this applies every bit as much to social media marketing as it does to sporting success.
The good news, of course, is that you don’t have to choose between LinkedIn and Twitter. So if you work in B2B but have ignored Twitter until now on the basis that it’s not worth your time and effort, isn't it high time you had a rethink? Once you do, I’ll be astonished if it doesn’t start bringing you the same sort of ‘lucky’ breaks that Twitter fans like me have been enjoying for years.