Twitter is possibly the least understood of all social networks used by smaller businesses. It is not unusual to hear business owners say that they just don’t “get” how to effectively communicate marketing messages in 140 characters.
In an effort to better educate users, Twitter recently launched a new version of its business website and is kicking off a series of digital training events later this month, to prepare retailers for the upcoming holiday shopping season.
Twitter Business Website
The new version of Twitter’s business site contains a mix of educational resources, research studies, advertising solutions, and real-life case studies.
Content is organized into four sections.
- Basics. A getting started guide that helps businesses to begin using Twitter. It includes an explanation of what Twitter is, how to set up a profile, build a content strategy, grow a follower base, and measure results.
- Solutions. This section outlines Twitter’s advertising options and shows businesses how to use ads to accomplish five objectives: develop followers, find leads on Twitter, drive website clicks and conversions, boost Tweet engagements, and drive app installs or engagements.
- Success stories. A series of case studies on how businesses use Twitter to achieve marketing goals. Most are from larger companies, but smaller businesses can apply the lessons, as well. One example that has particular relevance to ecommerce merchants is Pact Coffee. This case study addresses the question of how online retailers can gain more customers and create a thriving online community inside Twitter.
- Resources. A list of guides, research, videos, and event programming.
Also included are links to Twitter’s small business and advertising blogs, which provide additional educational information.
The site’s home page directs users to six areas, each of which links to corresponding sections within the site. These are:
- Create or manage a Twitter presence;
- Grow a follower base;
- Drive website clicks or conversions;
- Increase Tweet engagements;
- Drive app installs or engagements;
- Find leads on Twitter.
Part of Twitter’s strategy with the site is to promote its advertising options, but that should not dissuade small businesses from taking advantage of everything else it has to offer.
Both Basics and Resources, for example, contain information that has little to do with advertising. Three pieces of information that I found helpful are:
- A list of tips on creating a content strategy designed to engage followers, something with which small businesses often struggle;
- A downloadable Marketing Kickstart toolkit, which has Tweet templates along with a content calendar to help companies plan and execute their Twitter strategy;
- A measurement plan tied to business goals and objectives.
Holiday Promotion Training Series
In addition to the new business site, Twitter has partnered with Google Small Business Community, Square, HubSpot, Hootsuite and Sprout Social to host a series of live digital training events. These started on Tuesday, October 28, and are designated by the hashtag #SmallGoesBig. The series will help small businesses plan for the upcoming holiday shopping season.
Representatives from each company will share practical advice on topics like how to create compelling content, effective campaign strategies, and customer service best practices.
The events are free. Businesses can sign up for individual sessions or the entire series by clicking here.
Twitter Impacts Holiday Purchase Decisions
A study from research firm DB5, which surveyed 2,000 U.S. holiday shoppers, found that:
- 30 percent of Twitter users start talking about holiday shopping before October;
- 64 percent rely on Twitter for product consideration, discovery, and purchases;
- 53 percent say that Twitter plays a key role in how and where they shop.
Based on those results, Twitter influences customer purchase decisions to some degree. Therefore, in preparation for the holiday season it makes sense for businesses to take advantage of the educational opportunities Twitter has made available, including both the website and training events.