Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that Twitter is a broadcast tool – it’s not. It’s a real-time interactive tool, which when used correctly can help a firm engage with customers, partners, influencers and potential new clients, as well as generate web traffic, boost PR efforts and improve brand awareness. Yet, while 72 per cent of companies are using social technologies in some way, very few are anywhere near to achieving the full potential benefit (McKinsey Global Institute report).

The continuing rise in social media use is changing the way in which people and organisations communicate, creating a demand for 24/7 engagement and greater transparency, particularly in B2B dialogues. As such, it is becoming increasingly important that firms ensure they are making the most out of Twitter as corporate tweeting alone won’t generate customer engagement. A successful approach therefore requires a deep understanding of target audience, a social media strategy and a way to measure results.

Time to engage

With over one billion tweets posted a week on Twitter, businesses need to find their own distinctive personality; it’s no use simply posting uninspiring corporate posts as these will not attract the attention of users. To capture a target audience, drive followers, increase retweets and amplify messaging, a brand first needs to think about how it can profile and position itself on Twitter and ensure that posts are engaging and thought provoking.

To differentiate a business’s Twitter personality, established PR consultants such as Whiteoaks have developed an expert tweet programme for firms to use. The programme locates and logs the most interesting thought leaders across a range of industries or those particularly related to a specific client. Experts are selected based on the range of engaging content they are posting. Once a specialist list is created it can be continually updated with new influencers.

Having built up a listing of expert tweeters, businesses can then easily view and choose the best online content to repurpose. For example, if an expert posts an interesting link, it can then be quickly repackaged with the firm’s thought leadership message on their own Twitter page.

It is recommended that businesses post 6 – 10 tweets a day, with each post set to target a different time zone to accommodate for the global audience. Repurposing the best online content in this way quickly builds up a high-value content stream for customers – captivating the audience.

The experts creating the original content benefit as traffic is driven to their sites, while the business gains followers and retweets. As the audience builds, at least two company-centric tweets can then be introduced into the stream, which helps to promote a firm’s specific key message without overloading the user with corporate information.

Whiteoaks has created evolving expert tweet lists for several clients, including a well-known telecoms company, a large computer services firm and an information security organisation. By deploying this technique, these businesses have improved their number of followers and rapidly increased retweets. Customers, analysts and employees also use the expert stream of content as a go to knowledge source. In fact, users are putting up links to downloadable material such as whitepapers. Working in this way, existing clients have already received a number of high-value leads.

Despite this, Twitteris not best used for keeping customers updated on product and services as users do not want to be bombarded with consistent commercial information. However, if customers follow a business on Twitter, the company has the opportunity to direct message (DM) them and these followers can be quickly located on an expert tweet list.

Measurable results 

Working with an expert technology PR company can also help a business to achieve Twitter success as it becomes easier to track results. For example, at PR agencies such as Whiteoaks, staff have subscribed to Radian6, a media monitoring platform, which measures the effectiveness of social campaigns, monitors competitor activity and helps identify key influencers. All staff are now trained in how to expertly use the tool to monitor Twitter activity as part of the agency’s digital task force.

Using a PR agency that tracks its Twitter results, ROI becomes a very straightforward equation as clients can instantly see the number of leads generated, followers added, retweets and downloadable gated material used. Having a transparent view of Twitter activity ensures that businesses can see where their PR budget is being spent and the quality of the activity they are receiving.

The trick to using Twitter successfully is to implement a suitable strategy now to stay ahead of the competition. After all, the quicker a brand starts to distinguish itself on Twitter and create an engaging profile the sooner it can interact with users.

Andy Black

Andy Black


Andy Black is Head of Digital at Whiteoaks.