How to use Twitter to build B2B thought leadership

Best practices

Brands focusing on B2B marketing typically do more than capture search traffic or increase conversions. Instead, B2B companies also focus marketing spend on developing thought leadership content that positions the company and its leaders as experts in its field. This content can then be used to fuel lead generation campaigns or to help educate buyers as they move through the sales funnel.

With 96% of B2B buyers saying they want content from industry thought leaders, using Twitter to build your organization’s thought leadership should be a priority. By talking about the topics that are important to your customers and your industry, you can easily start a conversation directly with prospects that might be otherwise impossible to have. 

Define your thought leaders

While the marketing team can work to make your brand an overall thought leader, some of the most powerful thought leadership can come from your company experts. This includes not only your CEO, CMO, or CIO, but also your designers, engineers, division leaders, and project leads. All of these people should be considered subject matter experts who can provide a unique perspective about your industry. Empower and encourage them to Tweet under their names about their areas of interest and expertise. You can then use your brand Twitter feed to curate and amplify Tweets that your larger audience may find valuable.

Educate, don’t sell

Thought leadership is not sales content. Instead of selling a product, your thought leadership content should seek to educate followers about the issues and opportunity your solution solves for. By establishing yourself as an expert in the topic, followers will automatically associate that expertise with the quality and capability of your product. At the same time, make sure your thought leadership topics and themes are focused on the value your company provides. The more your Twitter feed is known as the place for information or insight about X, with X being however tight you define your niche of expertise, the better.

Engage in the conversation

For B2B organizations with a long lead-to-conversion timeline, Twitter isn’t the place to try and close the sale. Instead, have your thought leaders use Twitter to engage in conversations with followers about the industry topics near and dear to their hearts. Make sure they don’t just wait for someone to comment on their Tweets; instead, your thought leaders should monitor hashtags, browse curated industry Lists, and engage with other thought leaders in your industry, to join the conversation in progress. This will allow them to proactively identify prospects along the way. 

Be original or be opinionated

The most valuable thought leadership content tells the reader something they don’t know. Don’t be afraid to have your subject matter experts geek-out and get technical. While it might not appeal or even be understood by everyone, it provides readers with the confidence that this person (and your company) knows their stuff. If you have the bandwidth to create original content, that's an even greater bonus: Original research gives you news to report that can power hundreds of Tweets, infographics, blog posts, ebooks, press releases, and more.

If you don’t have original content to share, at least share a perspective. There are very few subjects in any industry that are cut and dry. Don’t be afraid to take a firm stance on why one way is better than another. By having a robust and thoughtful opinion, it shows that you can evaluate the options and come to the right conclusion–exactly the skill your customers are looking for.

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