On Thursday January 27th, while attending the #B2BChat on Twitter, I was honored and amazed to learn that I won the B2B Twitterer Of The Year award in the “Boss Tweet” category. While I am truly humbled by the experience, I thought I should take my moment in the spotlight to describe how I think I got here: my “Twitter tips and tricks” if you will.
Now there’s some irony here. Because Twitter is a social platform and no one is anything without the connections we form and the strength of those relationships. So I really owe this award to all my Twitter friends. And the real answer on how to be successful on Twitter is to focus on those relationships. But there is a method to my madness that I will try to explain here…
First a little Background.
What is the “B2B Twitterer of The Year” award?
The tag line for the award is “each year we recognize individuals and organizations who make outstanding contributions to business through Twitter.” Joe Zuccaro (aka @joezuc) is the President and CEO of Marketing and Sales Automation company Allinio and Founder and Chairman of the award. When I asked him about the genesis of the idea, he sent me this blog post describing the B2B Twitterer of the Year ”founding moment” where he announces the 2008 winner United Linen aka @UnitedLinen. Now in it’s 3rd year, the awards have grown to 10 categories. According to Joe:
This year with the pivotal help of Jeremy Victor of Make Good Media and Billy Mitchell of MLT Creative, we put up an even better website, got more sponsors, established a Steering Committee of notable B2B personalities, in addition to committee chairs and another judging panel.
What criteria was used to select the winners?
First, Joe and the team built an amazing website for the award where you could nominate and vote on individuals and organizations within the 10 categories. The site also tweeted out each nominee and vote. The vote tallies determined the list of finalists. Final winners were selected by a committee of judges. Joe explains the final winner selection process:
[We] got Andrew Spoeth (aka @AndrewSpoeth) of Marketo to be the Chair and run that function. He instituted a process where the judges scored each candidate’s use of Twitter, evaluated the answers to the publicly posted questions on our website, and then we used analytic tools to measure Twitter authority and influence to add to that score.
Not Just A Popularity Contest
Finally, I asked Joe about the growth of the award and what made this year special:
I would say this year was one of fantastic growth for the program – because of Billy and Jeremy, we had a new logo, new trophy, new website. Those were critical elements. Especially with the website, because by nominating a candidate or filling out a questionnaire if you were nominated, we integrated Twitter into the whole process so it would get tweeted and become viral.
We also doubled the number of categories to reflect the many aspects of the B2B world, and across all 10 had over 350 nominations.
Obviously instituting a steering committee of B2B and Twitter luminaries like Joe Pulizzi (@juntajoe), Ardath Albee (@ardath421), and Laura Fitton (@pistachio) helped raise the visibility of the program. And including other B2B folks to work on nominations, sponsorships, and judging really brought a professional, competitive element to the program.
My vision was not to have a B2B version of the Shorty or Mashable awards, which detractors say are just popularity contests. While our nomination process is viral and may have some perception of “popularity,” it was used to get the word out so the judges could do the real work of evaluation. Having been in B2B most of my career, I want the program to really recognize B2B companies and individuals.
10 B2B Twitterer of The Year Tips For Success
- I have written before on Finding The Time To Tweet or Blog? where I explain how I built Twitter and social sharing into my routine as we all have done with email.
- In Why Do You Tweet? Social Media And Your Personal Brand I explain how I believe we owe it to our companies to be brand ambassadors and that we also owe it to ourselves as marketers to have a voice in the market. What else? Here are some more simple guidelines I follow:
- Become a voracious consumer of the news and share anything you find interesting or relevant or fun.
- Be persistence and find your voice. I do not “pimp” for my company but I do share things we do that are cool, fun or just well done.
- Mix it up. I mostly comment on other people’s posts and share news, tips or advice. I mix in some personal stuff, and some authentic company news amplification. I try hard to keep it real.
- Be nice. I thank or respond to everyone who mentions or ReTweet’s me. I never attack anyone and leave the controversy for others.
- Add something to the conversation. Sometimes I just ReTweet stuff. But I also try to add some commentary. Sometimes the commentary is in the tweet and other times it is in a blog. As a blogger I know that ReTweets and comments are gold and provide an opportunity to create what you could call “social equity.”
- Nurture relationships. Comment on your connections’ blogs, ReTweet those who ReTweet you. Send an occasional “hey, how are you?” This can help to take your relationships to deeper levels and that is what this is all about.
- Learn from others. As I said at the top of this article, the most important thing that has helped me is following in the footsteps of some amazing Tweeps that I admire. There are really too many to mention here but I feel like I owe a special thanks to the #B2BChat folks. Some of my favorite Tweeps are from this tweetchat. And there are so many so if you are reading this: thank you! In addition to those already mentioned I have to add Margie Claymen (@MargieClayman) who has inspired me with her amazing blog posts and musings on the social media journey we are all traveling on. Also I need to mention Ksenia Coffman (@KseniaCoffman) and Anol Bhattacharya (@B2Bento) co-moderators of #B2BChat who along with Andrew Spoeth have inadvertently mentored me on the many ways of Twitter.
- Forget the numbers. Whether it’s Klout scores or your follower count, just focus on the relationships and the conversation and the rest will follow.
I want to extend a special congratulations out to my new friend and fellow “B2B Twitterer Of The Year” Award Winner Stephanie Tilton (@StephanieTilton). Together we are considering a collaboration on Twitter Tips that will allow us to combine our thoughts and go on a little longer. A special thanks to Joe for founding the award and all the sponsors, judges and the Steering Committee of the B2BTOTY.
And of course thanks to all of you who voted for me and who tweet with me. It is our connection and the tidbits and musings we share that I value the most. Now I know I missed some great tips for Tweeting success. What would you add?