How effective could Twitter be in the B2B IT channel? Are tweets nothing more than digital vanity and self-promotion, or do they have tangible sales benefit for vendors and resellers?
I think the success that Twitter has brought in the consumer world can be readily duplicated in the channel by remembering that not everyone is accessible in the same way.
Twitter has been used consistently by several high street brands to provide instant boosts to flagging sales in the business-to-consumer world.
For example, Twitter can be used to inform followers of any particular brand that there is a time-dependent deal on a particular item or items which they can access by presenting their phones displaying the tweet.
I believe that Topshop, Tesco and John Lewis have done well offering discounts, distributing promotional messages, and encouraging consumer reviews through Twitter.
If monthly or quarterly sales figures for a given product are low, an instant push, with rapid results, is sought.
Vendors may email and call various resellers, urging them to push sales or re-approach tentative prospects, perhaps also offering the reseller a discount or incentive that can be passed on in whole or in part to the customer.
However, not everyone can be reached the same way, and now there is a rising proportion of professionals who are best reached via Twitter. So if you need to ensure a message is seen and read, including this medium in the mix of customer communication is crucial.
Through Twitter, resellers may push one-to-many messages to their network instantly, direct them to online resources or particular websites, and also track uptake, just like they might do with an email campaign.
And where confidentiality is required, direct one-to-one messages can be sent via Twitter too.
The preferences of certain individuals should be noted and appreciated, so Twitter-based communications should be included alongside other existing methods as part of a catch-all strategy of contacting partners and customers quickly.
By announcing some offers or promotions only via Twitter, high street brands have encouraged retail customers to sign up immediately and become avid brand followers through a medium they did not previously value or use.
In the same way, B2B resellers can make their customers aware of exclusive Twitter-based incentives that will encourage them not only to become followers in the first instance, but remain tuned in to discover the latest deals.
Twitter is a channel tool waiting to happen, in my opinion.
Bob Dearsley is chairman of ITPR
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