Twitter is a largely untapped promotional channel for ecommerce merchants.
According to social commerce company ArgyleSocial, only 26 percent of retailers include calls to action such as “visit a website” or “purchase a product” in their tweets — here’s ArgyleSocial’s infographic. In addition, only 23 percent have used Twitter to promote a social-only deal, such as a coupon or discount.
In short, Twitter has much potential for ecommerce companies. With that in mind, here are six ideas for how to use Twitter to market your products.
1. Furnish Exclusive Offers and Deals
Computer manufacturer Dell set the stage for Twitter commerce some years ago through its Dell Outlet Twitter channel, which provides exclusive offers and inventory announcements on refurbished merchandise.
This particular account is setup to provide only special offers, so you will see little, if any, interaction between consumers and the company. However, Dell provides a separate Twitter account — @ChrisCBAtDel — for customers to ask questions or make comments.
The lesson for smaller ecommerce merchants is to establish a Twitter account solely for special offers, discounts and deals. That way you appeal only to those interested. To make it easier, two companies — Venpop and Offerpop — have apps starting at just $15 per month that do much of the work for you.
2. Include Calls to Action in Your Tweets
Regardless of whether you offer products through an exclusive Twitter account, include calls to action in your tweets. If someone is interested in a particular product, he or she would presumably click the link associated with the tweet — assuming one is provided — but that is not always the case. Sometimes, a little prompting is needed.
3. Integrate Twitter Social Sharing Buttons
This a simple and effective way to extend the conversation about your products beyond your website. It costs nothing other than the time it takes to implement.
Twitter offers four options: Share, Follow, Hashtag, and Mention. But the first, “Share,” is the one you want. Setting up the button is easy and requires only a couple of minutes. Then, it’s a matter of copying and pasting the HTML code into your website.
4. Curate Content
People use Twitter as an information network, not a social one. If you supply content that interests consumers, your tweets will be given the attention they deserve.
Unless the Twitter account is designated exclusively for special offers and deals, include any type of content that would attract attention, such as links to interesting blog posts, videos, or Facebook Page updates. And it doesn’t always have to be strictly business related. Throw a little fun your followers’ way, too, if only to get some extra attention through retweets.
5. Provide Customer Service
According to a 2011 Burson-Marsteller survey, 19 percent of Twitter users seek customer support each month. It also found that 42 percent want to learn about products and services, 41 percent provide opinions about products and services, and 31 percent ask others for advice about products and services. That means opportunity for the ecommerce merchant who is willing to reach out to these consumers.
Not every customer is going to approach you directly. So it’s important to listen to the conversation within social media, using tools designed for that purpose. Inexpensive options include Trackur, Brandseye and Sprout Social. You can also take a do-it-yourself approach using Google Alerts and Twitter Search.
When you come across a mention of your brand or product that demands attention — especially those that are negative — be proactive and offer help quickly, within 24 hours if possible.
6. Pay Using Twitter
Twitter is not only a promotional channel. Users can now directly pay for products there, too. One company, Chirpify, has developed a solution for consumers to purchase product directly through Twitter. Another, Twitpay, has a similar solution that is expected to launch in the next few months.
Merchants who register with Chirpify simply tweet a listing accompanied by a product image. Purchasers reply to the tweet with the word “buy.” The transaction is processed through PayPal and a receipt with shipping information is sent both to the merchant and buyer via email.
With Twitpay, consumers receive daily deals; any business can offer a deal. Users only need to retweet the message and confirm via a direct message to complete the purchase.