Optimizing Twitter for Lead Generation

Demand Generation


Think of Twitter as the water cooler for marketing professionals: It’s a vibrant community where businesses can prospect leads and congregate as thought leaders to discuss relevant industry topics. Marketers are always striving to provide good content in an easily digestible and timely format. On Twitter, it is easy to quickly compose Tweets and messages aimed at those interested in your company or product. (Caveat: words of caution about this to follow.)

At Marketo, we are always seeking marketing avenues that allow for continuous, real-time engagement with our customers and prospects. Twitter happens to be one of our most effective prospecting channels. We use it to get the word out to customers about specific product offerings and as a forum for potential customers to discover and learn more about us and what we offer.

Promoted Tweets in Timelines

A Twitter strategy we have used with great success was launching Promoted Tweets in timelines targeted to followers and users who were similar to our followers. Our Promoted Tweets contain timely and engaging content like contests for trips to industry events and links to thought-leadership pieces. Every promoted Tweet that we run goes to a gated resource page. We set up a series of three tweets per campaign and rotate them accordingly. For timelines, we run three tweets on one campaign for three days at a time.

Promoted Tweets in Search

For search Tweets, we run two offers every two weeks with three different tweets focusing on fifteen keywords and five countries. We have found through trial and error that it’s more about the offer than about the money spent. Fresh relevant content offers with the right messaging yields CTRs of up to 17% with a cost-per-prospect coming in at around $14 each. This, of course, will vary based on your offer and the relevancy of your content.

We always see significant spikes in relevant Tweets during industry events. We decided to capitalize on that and use Promoted Tweets in search results during key B2B conference dates. This allowed us to be part of relevant conversations when the conversations are hot. By targeting event-specific hashtags and relevant keywords like “B2B” and “lead management,” we are where we need to be at prime lead-generating moments. Being a part of real-time conversations means pouncing on real-time opportunities.


To some, this may sound backwards or surprising, but do not use Twitter to only promote your company. Sure, calling out your company’s new ebook or webcast is an important part of your tweeting. But if you never contribute to the conversations taking place, if you never offer something personal or fun or funny, you are missing the prime opportunity unique to Twitter. Twitter is about building relationships; it is about reciprocity. Engage and be engaged. Be a part of the flow of information. Don’t be a broken record repeatedly rattling off the company’s tagline. It’s in your best interests to pay attention to what your customers’ and prospective customers are tweeting about and to respond accordingly.

Remember, your content should create value and ultimately, be helpful to your network. In B2B marketing, retweeting material that will be helpful to your network is good, but writing your own informational material is even better. If your network (specifically, customers and prospective buyers) benefit from something you tweet about, they will remember you and your business.

Here is that word of caution mentioned earlier: As with anything, a little self promotion is good for business but if your entire tweet history is only about you and your company, you’ve got it wrong. Keep in mind these two rules:

  • The 80/20 rule says to post 80% helpful or entertaining content and save 20% for self-promotion.
  • The 9:1 rule says for every 9 tweets about your industry, topics of interest, or network, tweet 1 time about your company or its products.

Tracking & Results

When people choose to follow you on Twitter, you are notified and you can review their conversations in dedicated streams. This helps you identify opportunities to engage.

Our Twitter strategy has allowed us to see immediate results from our efforts. Our average lead-conversion rate from emails and online campaigns is between 2-3%. Some of our Twitter campaigns have yielded conversion rates as high as 14%. And the cost-per-prospect is six times lower than that associated with some of our other marketing programs.

In our business, we can’t afford to wait for a customer to land on our website to begin the lead acquisition and nurturing process. Being proactive in the process of meeting the right people at the right time is essential. For us, Twitter is an extremely powerful channel to participate in organic B2B conversations and to continuously engage with customers and prospects.

Want to learn more about using social media for lead generation? Check out the whitepaper How to Optimize Your Social Channels for Lead Generation.