Practical Ecommerce

11 Twitter Pointers for Ecommerce Merchants

Twitter is encouraging small businesses to use its service and has created a section on its website and a Twitter channel for that purpose.

There are good reasons for ecommerce merchants to use Twitter. It’s a place to share real-time information about the products you sell, engage with followers, provide proactive customer service and build awareness about your business. Plus, the growing use of hashtags makes Twitter a natural place to collate conversations around a specific topic.

Here are 11 tips that can help you use Twitter more effectively for your ecommerce business.

1. Set a Twitter Posting Schedule

Many people use Twitter only in real time. That’s the way the platform was originally intended. But posting in real time can be time consuming and demands that you monitor Twitter throughout the day.

Another option is to use social media management tools like HootSuite or SproutSocial to schedule a series of tweets in advance that you broadcast during the week. Twitter makes the following suggestions for what such a schedule could look like.

  • Monday: Offer exclusive promotions. Launch a promotion that is exclusive to Twitter. Use an offer code that customers can enter when they visit your website. If you have a physical location, tweet a discount code that customers can redeem at the register.

  • Tuesday: Go behind the scenes. Take followers behind the scenes of your business with photos or video.

  • Wednesday: Share helpful tips. Provide helpful information designed to benefit followers. Link to a blog post or how-to video to draw them into your website.

  • Thursday: Spotlight media mentions. Has your business received media attention or been blogged about? Share a link with your followers.

  • Friday: Focus on people. This could come in the form of a “Follow Friday” — #FF — tweet where you mention loyal customers or vendors. If you have an “employee of the month” program, highlight that person with a tweet.

2. Use Events to Engage with Followers

Retailers can use Twitter to offer special deals during holidays and seasonal events. You can also tie into current events, when appropriate, to use as a hook for product promotion.

3. Launch a Product

Use Twitter to build excitement about a new product several weeks in advance of its launch. Create a product-related hashtag to encourage others to spread the word.

4. Flock to Unlock

Pay followers to retweet your special offers and promotions, such as receiving exclusive content. Reveal the content only when the desired number of retweets has been reached.

5. Use Twitter Cards

Twitter Cards is a new feature in Twitter’s ever-growing marketing tool kit. Cards enable users to attach rich media experiences to Tweets that link to your content. Seven types of Cards are available, including those that display photos, app information and product content.

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Twitter Card showing product information.

Twitter Card showing product information.

A new Card designed to generate leads, such as mailing list subscriptions, has just been released. It is being tested with a small number of accounts at this time, but will soon be available to small businesses, according to Twitter.

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Twitter is testing Cards designed to generate leads.

Twitter is testing Cards designed to generate leads.

Assistance from a web developer may be needed to implement Cards as they require HTML code in the section of the web page. URLs containing the code have to be validated to be approved for use on Twitter.

6. Get creative with Vine

Vine is a mobile app for iOS and Android that lets you create short looping videos, which can be shared on Twitter and Facebook.

Businesses are experimenting with Vine to show new products, demonstrate how products are used, take viewers behind the scenes of the company, and run contests.

Read “Using Vine Videos for your Ecommerce Business,” my previous article, to learn more.

7. Express Appreciation

Acknowledge and thank followers who retweet your posts or mention you in their tweets. This simple act can result in followers paying more attention to your brand, which can lead to an even greater number of retweets and mentions.

8. Create Twitter Lists

Twitter lists are curated groups of users based on category. You can create lists or subscribe to lists created by others.

Twitter lists give you a quick snapshot of what users are talking about and provide an organized way to stay in touch with loyal customers, vendors, or others in your industry.

Practical eCommerce maintains a number of lists including one of ecommerce merchants.

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Twitter lists organize users by category.

Twitter lists organize users by category.

9. Advertise on Twitter

Twitter offers a self-service version of its advertising platform for small businesses. This includes:

  • Promoted tweets. Regular tweets that are “promoted” to the top of users’ feeds, to achieve greater reach and receive more attention.

  • Promoted accounts. Twitter accounts that are promoted to the top of users’ feeds in the same manner as tweets.

10. Optimize Engagement with Analytics

A number of social media management applications can be used to measure Twitter engagement activity. Among these are HootSuite, Sprout Social, SocialBro and Topsy. Analytics are also available for use with Twitter ads. Metrics include number of impressions, clicks, and the click rate.

11. Use Twitter Tools on your Website

Twitter offers a set of tools you can use to gain more followers, share website content such as blog posts or products, and call attention to your favorite tweets.

Wrap Up

Twitter is a real-time engagement platform that can bring you closer to your customers, promote your products, and help you stay on top of industry trends. These 11 tips can help you use Twitter smarter and increase the effectiveness of your tweeting activity.

Paul Chaney
Paul Chaney
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