Here is the second installment of the the “Effective Use of Social Media for eCommerce” series, Twitter Edition.

We’ve created this series to highlight the key differences between Social Media platforms and offer tips specific to each platform.

Twitter started out as the breaking news source of the Social Media world and people expect current content and rapid response. It has also become a popular source for consumers to quickly learn about a company, receive coupons and other deals from marketing, fashions tips, and entertainment updates. Increasingly retailers, consumer goods manufacturers, and brands use it to communicate with their potential and current customers.

Here are 10 tips for utilizing Twitter to it’s full potential and getting the best return on your investment.

1. Make Twitter-Specific Offers, Promotions, and Giveaways

Many users follow businesses on Twitter specifically to get discounts and promotions. Providing them through promoted Tweets can boost sales as can offering Twitter-specific specials people only learn about by following you. Such offers encourage customers to buy and those transactions can be easily traced, allowing you to quickly gauge the success of your Twitter campaigns.

2. Avoid “Clocking Out” on Friday Afternoons

Twitter functions much like the 24-hour news cycle, in that it never quits. The highest online exposure for retailers typically falls outside standard business hours. In fact, an analysis of top clothing retailers found that 4 to 5 p.m. on Fridays was when the biggest number of followers were online. It’s important your Twitter campaign accounts for this schedule to engage consumers when they are most likely to see your tweets.

3. Turn Employees Into Brand Ambassadors on Twitter

A retailer’s own staff can be extremely valuable on Twitter, connecting, finding new customers, and building brand awareness more authentically than official “brand” communications. People appreciate the authenticity of a real person instead of a faceless company. Doing this successfully requires choosing brand ambassadors carefully, training them properly, and monitoring analytics to ensure their Twitter activity adds value.

4. Interact With Customers Regularly

If all you do is Tweet, you’re missing out. People want to engage on Social Media, and they’ll unfollow brands that are unresponsive or that use the platform solely as a corporate soapbox. In fact, only about 20% of your postings should directly promote your brand, while 80% should be content that educates, entertains, and engages your audience. Don’t just rely on using Twitter as a microphone. Employ Twitter to establish a two-way street of communication; start a conversation, answer your customers questions and concerns, and build your brand loyalty.

5. Retweet Positive Reviews

Never miss an opportunity to retweet a satisfied customer’s review. They’ll like the attention, and you’ll increase the reach of their comment. Replying to positive Tweets about your brand shows you’re listening and you value your customers feedback. It builds brand loyalty by allowing your customers to see your brand on a personal level instead of  a removed corporate entity that’s disconnected from its consumers.

6. Consider Hiring Experts for Product Reviews for Twitter

A 2014 retail study by Twitter found that 45% of users want to see expert product reviews on Twitter. By building relationships with influencers and inviting them to try your products and services and review them on Twitter, you can spread positive customer influence rapidly and provide content that Twitter users want. A great example of an expert, is a blogger whose audience fits your consumer base. Not only is their influence and reach already established, they can lend credibility to your brand.

7. Make Tweets Informative, Engaging, and Media-Rich

It’s not easy to jam a lot of information into 140 characters, but the more informative, memorable, and media-rich you can make your Tweets, the better the response you’ll get from them. Twitter cards let you automatically attach rich media to Tweets with a few lines of HTML added to your website.

8. Use Hashtags Effectively

Brand-specific hashtags, content hashtags, and trending hashtags are three main types of hashtags retailers use. Once you develop your hashtags, using them effectively requires testing, timing, and monitoring them to ensure they’re adding value to your brand image. Don’t just use hashtags to drive traffic, make sure they are relevant to your tweet.

9. Make Twitter Sharing Buttons Easy to Find on Web Properties

On your website, make Twitter sharing buttons easy for shoppers to find so they can Tweet information about products they like or plan to buy. If you have a blog, adding share buttons next to each post allows your fans to quickly share important information about your brand, helping you extend your reach.

10. Respond Appropriately to Negative Twitter comments

Responding effectively to negative Tweets requires that you stay positive, keep a cool head, and use the opportunity to highlight your brand’s great qualities. Being defensive, or ignoring negative Tweets reflects poorly on the brand and can leave a lasting impression that is difficult to undo.

As a retailer, you ignore Twitter to the detriment of your business. While Social Media strategies involve commitment and hard work, Twitter offers your brand a tremendous opportunity to build brand awareness, engage with customers, deliver special offers, and easily track the success of those offers. These ideas can help you make the most of Twitter in tandem with your social commerce strategy.

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