Twitter for B2B Marketing just got harder with recent API rule changes
A week or so, twitter “clamped down” on what they consider to be companies abusing their APIs to create “spammy” auto-follow/unfollow services – overnight , it seems, and without any warning to those services affected.
Caught in this net was a service that we’ve using here at Artisan Southwest to support our social media clients for about three years now – a company and service called Crowdfire.
Twitter’s a noisy place..
If you’ve spent any time on twitter you’ll know it’s a noisy place with continued demands on your attention from tweets in your stream on a myriad of topics. This has undoubtedly become worse over recent years with the number of bots that have sprung up, both designed to inflate follower numbers though dubious “get followers fast” type services, as well as those designed to pump out content that pertains to key search terms and/or hashtags. Finding the real people, the real content and real conversations has become increasingly difficult.
Twitter for B2B Marketing is even trickier.
Now assume that, instead of being an individual or a consumer brand, where your interests or target followers are spread widely, instead you operate in a particular industry segment or technology space. Regardless of the quality of content you want to share, actually finding your audience, and them finding you, becomes harder still. If you’re trying to use twitter for B2B marketing this is exactly the challenge you face.
The good and bad of the “old” platforms.
Back at the beginning of the decade there were multiple services that would auto-follow and un-follow en masse for you based on some pretty specific rule sets. If you were principled and disciplined these tools could be really effective in finding those interested in your topic areas. They weren’t quite “set and forget”, but with a minimum of curation they could drive follower numbers upward, broadly delivering a reasonable “quality” of targeting. However, these tools were prone to abuse. Using the same rules could lead to some to some pretty unscrupulous behaviours by those just trying to build a following quickly or jump onto the back of trending topics. The last big crackdown removed these services.
Three options to proactively build your following
In the last few years there have really only been three options if you wanted to proactively reach out via twitter to build your following – seeking out new people that operate in your market space and share your interest in the topics your industry cares about;
- trawl through the followers and lists via the native twitter.com platform (or simialr) reading individual profiles and carefully selecting folks with the right kind of profile who would be interested in what you do
- use a service like Crowdfire (there are others too) to present you with profiles that match your search criteria, are talking (or hash tagging) the topics of particular interest so that you could then review them individually and decide, one by one, if they were a good match for you
- pay twitter to run ads for you with the objective of gaining followers matching your criteria
The first approach is clearly laborious and hugely time inefficient. If you are paying someone – either in-house or at an agency – to do this for you then the cost of growing your follower base will become prohibitively expensive. Paying twitter to run ads for you seems like a good idea but, even with access to enough budget to support this, the level of targeting available within the platform means that there is huge amount of potential wastage when it comes to using twitter for b2b marketing This means you pay for followers who really aren’t in your target demographic.
For us, a service like Crowdfire gave us just the right kind of interface to enable us to efficiently review profiles manually, targeting effectively and efficiently the very specific audiences that we try to reach for our clients. Ironically, in my opinion, this kind of service reduces rather than increases the amount of “spam” follows that might otherwise occur.
This recent move by twitter won’t solve the spam problem. Instead it will just make it harder for use twitter for B2B marketing.