Success in B2B social ultimately comes down to two things: The ability to acquire leads -- and quantify how you did it.
Most of us aren't there yet, though: Only 15 percent of CMOs say they can actually calculate their social ROI, according to research by The CMO Survey. That's a sobering stat.
But this week offered a huge glimmer of hope. On November 5, Twitter published its first-ever B2B case study featuring its new Lead Gen Cards (full disclosure: The case study features Webtrends, my employer). For those of you who aren't familiar with the product, Twitter Lead Gen cards are the latest evolution in Twitter's family of promoted tweets. Officially, they're ads. In reality, they're social lead gen on steroids.
Check it out -- the results speak for themselves. Over a four-week period, Webtrends used Twitter Lead Gen cards to drive a:
It gets even better when you dive deeper. Cost-per-leads in individual campaigns dropped as low as $4. Cost-per-engagement plummeted to $0.70. And for everyone trying to figure out which social platform works best, consider this: the ROI from Twitter tripled the return from both LinkedIn and Facebook.
The takeaway: Twitter Lead Gen Cards are an emerging product B2B marketers absolutely need to pay attention to. But they're not magic; you can't just turn them on and expect a deluge of leads. Read on for the four things you need to know to succeed with Twitter Lead Gen cards:
1. Embrace simplicity.
The true value of Twitter Lead Gen Cards lies in what they don't make you do: click away from a tweet.
Here's what I mean: Until now, B2B social generation has been a two-step process. First, brands have to get users to click on a tweet. That's a challenge in itself. But then we also need them to take an additional action on the subsequent landing page -- most often a form fill -- in order to complete a conversion. That takes precious seconds that our users -- distracted, busy and mobile -- simply aren't willing to spare.
Lead Gen Cards, on the other hand, dramatically simplify the experience. Take a look at the before-and-after example below. Previously, brands only had 140 characters to compel action. Now? We're able to deliver the landing page in the tweet itself. That's right. No click-through needed.
Be smart with the additional real estate, though. Maintain a simple, clean, easy user experience; don't clutter the extra space with marketing messages or a hard sell. It's still social, after all.
2. Test your visuals.
According to Twitter, tweets with photos get 3 to 4x more engagement than those without. Lead Gen Cards take full advantage of this fact, allowing you to brand a 150 x 600px image -- a clear nod to the power of social-visual content.
This image can also make or break your Lead Gen Card. Three quick tips:
3. The key to social is...email.
Here's the thing nobody tells you about Lead Gen Cards. When a user clicks your call-to-action button, the payoff isn't immediate. Rather than the desired asset popping up, a quick message appears saying the brand will be in touch shortly.
Don't get discouraged, though. The key to success here lies in aligning your Lead Gen Cards to your marketing automation and email programs so that the user experience is as seamless as possible. Specifically, create rules in your automation software so the asset will be emailed as soon as a user clicks on your call-to-action button. This delivery needs to be instantaneous, so that users don't feel like they've been bait-and-switched.
4. Explain the user experience.
This one is directly connected to Point 3. Users are expecting immediate gratification, so it's incredibly important you tell them what to expect.
Here's how you do it: Lead Gen Cards allow you to customize a text field of 50 characters directly above the image. Use this space to explain exactly how and when the asset will be delivered. If an email will be triggered immediately, make that clear. If delivery will be delayed, or you have a different user experience mapped out, say so.
Still to Come: Part II
Twitter Cards might get rid of landing pages, but that doesn't mean your job ends with the click. The next -- and most valuable -- step is to mature that initial interest into a meaningful relationship.
Fortunately, that's where Lead Gen Cards really made an impact in this case study. Specifically, the Cards opened a window where users, having just experienced a new, positive social experience, were incredibly open to additional offers. In fact, subsequent email offers to Lead Gen Cards leads achieved a 200 percent increase in open rates and a 400 percent increase in click-through rates.
In Part 2, we'll walk through how to make this type of accelerated lead nurture work for you. Stay tuned -- this is a pivotal time in B2B social lead gen and the first-movers will be poised to cash in.
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Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
John Lee is Manager, Brand and Social Marketing at Webtrends. In 2012, he was recognized by PR Daily for creating both the year's "Best Branding Campaign" and "Event of the Year." Follow him on Twitter @lee_john.
March 19, 2014