Five i-Factors That Can Ensure Every Business Tweet Counts

In the B2B world, Twitter has the potential of becoming the launching pad of choice for all sorts of business communications beyond traditional PR and marketing to include sales, financial, engineering, operations, customer relationship management, et al.  Given the fact that a tweet can be used to initiate several different types of business communications, never has a tweet’s 140 characters seemed more valuable to the enterprise.  The Marketing Id has previously written about “The Art & Science of the B2B Tweet and Strategic Intent!”  In that post, we had discussed strategic intent and its tactical implications on the actual construction of a 140-character tweet.  Here we will take a more holistic view about the desired psychological effects of a business tweet.

The Marketing Id believes that every tweet, regardless of which business function it pertains to, must conform to a behavior-inducing pattern that runs as follows: Interrupt, Inform, Interact, Investigate and Inquire.   The sequence in this “I” pattern is important, in that, the more of these behavioral characteristics that a tweet induces, the more empowering its effect.  So let us consider the relevance of each one of these “i-Factors” in the proper sequence and their attendant impact on the composition of a tweet.

We begin by assuming that a typical B2B is active in the social media realm and its brand equity has been built to a level where its corporate brand and/or its desired line(s) of business have generated a substantial number of Twitter followers.  So its primary challenge when trying to engage followers, who in turn might be following a significant number of other Twitter accounts, is how to grab their attention with a periodic tweet –which in most cases amounts to them (the followers) looking for a needle-in-a-haystack?

Interrupt.  Despite the identification of tweets by monitoring services, lists and hashtags, it is still difficult for a tweet to make the desired impression.  Therefore the guiding principle for any business tweet must be to interrupt the thought processes of as many as of its followers as possible.  This is a tall order that requires marketing acumen. As followers scan their monitored tweets, lists and hashtags of choice for ones that they might actually pause to read and digest, your company’s tweet must necessarily interrupt their scanning process and get them to pause for that critical second look.  Thus your tweet must not only have a pertinent objective, but also have been constructed using the AIDA principles that have been discussed previously in the above-referenced blog.  It is vitally important to remember that the very first purpose of a tweet is to interrupt a follower’s thought processes.

Inform.  Once a follower’s thought processes have been interrupted, your tweet has but a few seconds to engage and captivate the reader.  In the business world this does not imply sensationalism, which in fact could cause an adverse reaction and affect a follower’s future behavior towards your company’s tweets.  The business tweet must always seek to inform followers in a manner that will peak their curiosity, prompting them to instantly seek more information than what your tweet has to offer.  So it is key for a tweet to inform an interrupted follower just enough to push them towards taking the next step, which is typically solicited within the tweet via an embedded link or hashtag.

Interact.  A follower interrupted, now feeling insufficiently informed, seeks to instantaneously learn more.  Your tweet offers either an embedded link or a hashtag(s) that a curious follower can click on.  The tweet must necessarily enable interested followers by allowing them to interact – when your tweet initiates a click through, it then succeeds in its secondary objective, which is to direct interrupted followers to go where you want them to.  This is no mean achievement because interrupted followers have now acquiesced to instantly finding out more about what your company intended to convey than what was available in your cryptic tweet.

Investigate.  In a non-hashtag click through, followers exit Twitter and land on an external page, where they must be able to satisfactorily investigate what they assumed they came looking for. In a typical B2B marketing scenario, a follower that clicks on an embedded link within your tweet is likely seeking specific subject matter expertise or thought leadership, which your company must be able to provide.  So it is imperative that this landing page empowers the follower to further investigate the subject matter that had been referenced in your original tweet.

Inquire.  If the landing page is intended to create a sales enablement opportunity for your company, it must provide an inquiry form for the curious follower to volunteer contact information.  Form completion is often driven by a need to acquire additional non-public information that followers desire based on their preliminary investigation of your landing page data.  So this additional non-public information must offer substantial value to your followers, such that they feel compelled to complete your inquiry form.

Any tweet that accomplishes the complete “I” journey from Interrupt to Inquire for a follower has successfully transformed that follower into a future business prospect.  The Marketing Id believes that this i-Factor value chain is integral to inducing the required behavioral pattern in a typical B2B’s follower base.  The further along a follower is prompted in your B2B tweet’s value chain, the greater the likelihood of engaging that follower into a more meaningful relationship with your company. And, speaking of relationships, a tweet is like a pickup line–if it is good, followers read it; if it is great, they click on its embedded link; if the ensuing landing page rocks, they offer you their contact information!  So B2B marketers go forth and tweet your best pickup lines – your company is bound to benefit from them in the long run!

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About Jack Nargundkar

High-tech marketing is always a constant compromise between logical left-brain analytics and creative right-brain activities. Jack has been living this struggle his entire working career, which he began as a software geek after graduating with a BSEE degree from Bombay University. To hone his marketing skills, Jack went on to pursue an MBA degree from Columbia Business School in New York City. Jack has since gained wide-ranging marketing experience from working at start-ups to Fortune 500 companies in the global IT, Defense & Space, and Telecommunications industries. In the past few years, Jack has focused on developing integrated marketing strategies and plans that incorporate a judicious mix of inbound and outbound marketing techniques. In addition to being a self-published author, Jack has been recognized for outstanding analytical and communications skills, authoring technical articles (self and ghosted) in numerous trade publications and editorial opinions in Business Week, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.
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