Launching a new B2B presence on social networks with zero budget and no existing web presence on a Friday night? Requires tons of patience and you won’t really see results for months, right?
Not necessarily. On September 19 2014 we launched the @b2bnewsnetwork Twitter account. We kicked off (somewhat unintentionally) at the worst time of the week in terms of B2B attention: Friday night at 730pm.
Our plan was to soft launch this site on November 1 2014. We wanted to kick off with a critical mass of followers and basic awareness on Twitter from some of our key constituencies. Two weeks in we had nearly 400 targeted followers and, despite starting on day one with exactly one follower, had generated over 45,000 impressions. How were we able to get in front of so many people in such a short time beginning without a single follower? What did engagement numbers look like? How were we able to get such a healthy number of targeted followers? And, most importantly, what did we learn and what lessons can we pass along to other SMBs?
Our goals for the six weeks pre-launch were visibility, followers and content performance insight. We took a three-headed strategy: hashtags, influencers, and lots of content. With an angle. hashtags and influencers worked extremely well. We participated in hashtags via tweet commentary and people saw our tweets instream, and two weeks in, 400 of them in our target industries (marketing, tech, professional services) and geographies (Canada, US, UK) began following our commentary.
We developed a follow approach; we followed influencers and retweeted and @d them with insight or commentary on something they’d shared. And sometimes they retweeted us, giving us our single biggest traffic spikes. An @rwang0 retweet was responsible for more impressions than the rest if the day combined; RebelMouse generated triple that. So the lesson here is try to get retweeted by those two. (Kidding aside, while you can reach out to influencers directly, content is generally your best ambassador. If you do make contact, then go to DM/email.)
The final piece of the triangle was great content and lots of it. We focused on commentary on news and trends in tech and marketing news and tested business lifestyle travel markets, tips and insights, and money management. Most popular was marketing content, followed closely behind by tech and startups. There are a lot of marketers in Twitter, but there is also an obsession with B2B marketing and social media among execs in all disciplines. We are testing and already noticing popularity is different on other platforms: Google+ is for techies and Facebook and Pinterest are for moms, and LinkedIn is now very crowded with content and difficult to get attention.
We also came up with interesting ways to brand and structure the content, with picks of the day, conference hashtags, and commentary right in the tweet. The content approach is apparently resonating.
So how did we do? Ninety-five percent targeted followership, nearly a thousand interactions, 15 email subscriptions and 42k impressions in our first 14 days. Not a bad start.
Want more? Here’s where we ended up on November 1: