Is Twitter an Ecommerce Tool?

I hear it a lot. People say they know they should use Twitter for marketing purposes, but the idea of “Twittering” doesn’t sit well with them. On a personal level, I have no interest in letting the world know what I’m doing hour-to-hour, much less moment-to-moment. But Twittering on behalf of a company, ecommerce websites included, can make a lot of sense, and it can be done without the openness that one might assume.

So, why Twitter? First off, let’s define exactly what “Twittering” is. A Twitter post is a miniature blog that is restricted to 140 characters. The act of Twittering is the process of posting (quickly and easily) these petite, text-only blog entries. The significance and value lies in the same marketing tributary as regular blogs; if you’re good at it, you’ll build a community of followers who want to read your stuff. And these readers, by definition of their choice to follow you, likely share your interests.

Keep in mind, then, that you control the stream; while daily activity is needed to retain interest, a business entity does not have to post constantly throughout the day. An ecommerce company can use Twitter as a marketing tool in many capacities without ten or twenty posts a day. While more activity is always better on Twitter, in many cases, one post a day is enough.

Customer Service, Too

Online businesses like the Dell and Zappos use Twitter to respond to customer questions and to announce special deals. H&R Block uses Twitter as a countdown to tax days, while Southwest Airlines uses it as a customer service vehicle. Ask yourself, does my company have an angle for Twitter? It’s not a matter of coming up with witty Twitter posts each day; it’s about finding a slant for your particular industry or business.

Consider these angles for your ecommerce business:

  • Adding “brand personality” to your not-so-personable sales site.
  • Feedback on products or services.
  • Managing online reputation (putting out fires and augmenting gold stars).
  • Announcing sales, specials, and deals.
  • Building old-fashioned buzz about your company or website.
  • Augmenting your traditional blog as mini-blogs driving traffic to general blogs.
  • Create micro press releases.
  • Cast nets for potential partners.
  • Just make friends.

No matter how you purpose your Twitter account, it is likely to pay dividends. The traffic on Twitter, as you’ve likely heard, is increasing dramatically, and missing out on it isn’t a good idea. Sign up for an account and give it a try. Dedicate ten minutes a day for a month and see what it garners.

Jeff Muendel
Jeff Muendel
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