Guest Post: Using Twitter in B2B Marketing
by Emma Gibb
Are you using Twitter as part of your business to business (B2B) marketing strategy? For Williamson Foodservice, Twitter is an essential component in their relationships with both suppliers and customers. Selling around 3,000 product lines that represents a number of suppliers and manufacturers, and serving hundreds of customers from hotels, restaurants and cafés to caterers and retailers, Twitter has become an important business communications tool. Marketing Manager and guest blogger, Simon Stewart, shares how Twitter can be used to develop B2B relationships in the food and drink industry.
Sharing customer success
We estimate about 25 per cent of our customers occupy the Twitter space and we regularly monitor their accounts. This helps us celebrate and share their successes from awards won, media recognition, positive reviews from customers or bloggers/critics etc to their involvement in wider campaigns like the North Coast 500. Dishes they are proud of or business growth or expansion projects like new kitchens, extensions or plans for growth also offer great opportunities to shout about it on Twitter and for their businesses to gain from this increased exposure.
The growth in food and drink enthusiasts has also mushroomed in recent years and many of these ‘influencers’ have incredibly large numbers of people following them, usually on platforms like Twitter. They are constantly looking for new businesses like yours to tweet about, visit and/or review.
Suppliers to Williamson’s on the other hand launch new products, update existing ones, provide customer support like recipes or new ideas for using their products as well as promoting their own successes. We in turn help share that news to customers through our own Twitter posts. We know that many of our suppliers follow our Twitter account and we know that they like to see how their products are being used by customers too.
Top food and drink information 24/7
Twitter is the mechanism that can bring customer and supplier communications together in a common space that could only otherwise have happened at a trade show or some other similar personal gathering. Whilst many of us may be able to devote a couple of visits a year to such activities (and these are in fact enormously valuable to both sides when they take place as is evidenced by our popular Walkabout events), Twitter allows this free flow of information at whatever time you want it!
Williamson Foodservice also employ techniques that bring the best food and drink news to us and we share this through Twitter too. So, if you are a north chef who is looking for ingredient inspiration or new ideas for menus, then we’re usually tweeting about something you’ll be interested in. Twitter is in fact a great place for chefs to showcase their skills and we regularly communicate and promote their creations – although this is usually late at night when they eventually get out of their kitchens!
Don’t worry too much about terminology
Yes, there’s a bit of getting used to terminology like retweets and hashtags etc and there’s a bit of a learning curve on how you can post to the masses but also speak personally and privately to individuals, but it’s a powerful beast when you get the hang of the basics.
Twitter enables Williamson Foodservice to support the brands that they sell and helps to improve their relationships with both suppliers and customer. As they have found, Twitter gives you an extra, and cost effective, business tool that can be used alongside other promotional activities, and it can help to put your business under the radar of others. Read the blog post in full here and follow them @williamsonfood.