Practical Ecommerce

Using Twitter to Promote Your Ecommerce Products

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.

Paul Chaney

Paul Chaney

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  1. Aaron Gerry May 2, 2012 Reply

    Hi Paul,

    Good morning! Useful overview of how companies can utilize Twitter to enhance promotion of their ecommerce products.

    I would also add that Twitter is excellent for monitoring (ie., you can track keywords, trends, what your customers are talking about) which allows for a company to be timely and conversational. One reason that Google Ads is so effective is because of relevancy. Twitter encourages you to engage in a more personal manner and you can provide assistance by being relevant to a potential customers needs.

    Lastly, thank you for referencing our Social Commerce infographic, we truly appreciate it! I look forward to reading more of your articles, have a great day!


    Community Manager, Argyle Social

  2. Andy Beal May 2, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for the Trackur shout out! :-)

  3. Christine Saunders May 2, 2012 Reply

    Twitter is a largely untapped market and for retailers can be an even greater source of traffic than Facebook. Great post. Thanks for the Venpop mention.

  4. Paul Chaney May 3, 2012 Reply

    Aaron, thank you for the additional insights. They are much appreciated. Andy and Christine, I almost always try to share tools that small ecommerce merchants can benefit from using. Trackur and Venpop both qualify from the standpoint of affordability without sacrificing functionality.

  5. Profitero July 17, 2012 Reply

    Should retailers and manufacturers be tweeting like football clubs? A spokesperson for Twitter suggested that businesses should take inspiration from how football clubs use Twitter and "tweet in their own voice" to give fans unique access to their brands. Football clubs are using the Twitter platforn to grow fans in locations where they have not traditionally had a notable fan base. Retweeting fans’ comments helps as fans feel that they have a personal connection with a firm.

  6. Jane November 20, 2013 Reply

    Hi Paul, thanks for this article, did you try maybe to promote your website and get visitors by using some profitable phrases/keywords on your website (title, headlines, content). By using good niche keywords you can position your page in the first results of Google and get many new visitors. There are even some tools which help to find such keywords like Metrics11