Despite the ever-increasing popularity of new social media and communication apps like Snapchat, Instagram and others, Twitter remains one of the most effective tools that business owners can use to build brand awareness, engage with current and future customers and grow their businesses.
An active brand presence on Twitter can have a significant impact on the purchasing behaviors of online shoppers. As explained in a 2015 report from research firm Millward Brown:
"Whether they're learning about a new product or on the brink of buying, shoppers rely on Twitter for information and advice. Nearly half (49%) of female Twitter shoppers say Twitter content has influenced their purchase decisions, which makes the platform prime real estate for brands. These shoppers on Twitter are also engaged: they're 160% more likely to stay up-to-date on brand news and promotions, 120% more likely to search for deals and sales and 240% more likely to converse with a brand than retail shoppers on the average social network."
While enthusiasm for Twitter has been dimmed slightly by recent negative press, such behaviors are unlikely to have fallen away completely - Twitter remains a key platform to consider within your social media marketing plans.
This guide will provide you with some key insights, best practices and tools you'll need to understand how to best leverage Twitter to grow your eCommerce business.
Before diving into the strategies, best practices, and tools you can use to get more ROI from Twitter, it's important to understand the numbers.
Here are the most important statistics worth knowing about:
- As of their most recent earning report, Twitter has 319 million monthly active users
- 82% of users access Twitter via mobile device
- According to Pew Research, 36% of online adults in the US aged 18-29 are active on the platform
- Tweets reach more than a billion unique users per month, via the platform itself and embedded tweet content
Now that you've got some background on the audience you could potentially be tapping into by utilizing Twitter, it's helpful to understand its purpose for eCommerce. Before you can justify allocating whatever amount of time, energy, and money you ultimately decide to put into Twitter, you need to first understand the potential value it can bring to your business.
Here are five reasons why most eCommerce businesses use Twitter:
1. To Boost Brand Exposure
If your eCommerce business is fairly new, Twitter can be a great way to generate initial buzz around your brand and products.
As soon as you launch your website and shop, it's important that you make an effort to start participating in social media discussion, as doing so will help you build your reputation and connect with potential customers.
You can boost your brand exposure early on by answering questions, sharing your brand story, posting photos and videos of your products, and interacting with ideal customers (which you can locate via keyword and location tracking).
2. To Be Part of the Conversation
Your potential customers aren't just learning about you by going to your website alone anymore, they're also turning to social media sites like Twitter to find out what their friends and people they've never met or interacted with think about you.
Twitter gives you the opportunity to monitor these mentions, and engage in relevant conversations that people are having about you and your industry or business.
3. To Share Value and Drive More Traffic
Consumers today aren't always using the internet to search for specific brands and product, instead, they're using it to find answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. In order to ensure that your ideal customer is finding and interacting with your business and not your competitors', you need to establish yourself (and/or your business) as a helpful resource which they can turn to when they need help.
Twitter provides you with a platform to share value and gives you the opportunity to direct potential customers to your website to find the answers and solutions they're looking for.
4. To Advertise & Sell Products
Twitter's can also be powerful tool for advertising and selling products.
As an eCommerce business, you can easily build and launch a variety of paid campaigns that will ultimately help you achieve different goals - whether you want more website visitors, more social engagement, more exposure, more leads, or more sales.
There's no minimum spend with Twitter ads, and you can start and stop campaigns at any time. It takes some experimentation, but Twitter can be a great platform for connecting with interested buyers.
5. To Provide Support
Twitter has become a standard tool for businesses to interact with customers and provide support.
It's important to understand that once you do decide to create a presence for your brand on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, you're also opening the door for people to have direct conversations with you - whether those interactions are good or bad.
As an eCommerce business, you can either choose to ignore the messages you get from unhappy customers on Twitter who need your help, or you can address them publicly and use each interaction as an opportunity to show people that you care about serving the needs of your customers and that you're available when people need help.
If you're interested in learning more about how to start using Twitter as a customer service tool for your ecommerce business, explore this 100+ page free guide from Twitter. It'll give you everything you need to get started.
If you haven't spent much time using Twitter as a business before, there are a few best practices you should be aware of before getting started.
Here are ten tips to help you get the most out of Twitter as an eCommerce business:
Tip 1: Be consistent
As mentioned earlier, the only way you'll ever be able to get any sort of ROI from Twitter is by being consistent about when and how often you publish updates and engage with followers.
Tip 2: Be genuine
Twitter is about conversations. When interacting with followers and customers, try to have authentic, meaningful conversations. Don't make people feel like they're talking to a company - show people that there are actually caring people running your business.
Tip 3: Understand your audience
Know who you're trying to reach on Twitter. There are a lot of resources out there that can help you understand when and how to best interact with your audience (check out this one from Buffer). Leverage them whenever possible in order to boost your success.
Tip 4: Add value
Always go out of your way to help the people you interact with on Twitter, even if they don't end up becoming a customer.
Twitter isn't about sharing promotional coupons, it's about sharing content that other people might find useful. Think about how you can share more value with your followers through the tweets you publish and the content you share.
Tip 5: Be responsive.
Twitter users expect prompt responses when they reach out to brand and businesses. Make sure you're using tools that enable you to monitor and respond to messages directed at your brand in real-time.
ProTip: you should also make sure the direct messaging feature is turned on for your account. This will enable you to provide even better customer service to the people who reach out to you for help.
Tip 6: Leverage data and analytics
Tip 7: Don't be too promotional
You're going to want to share information about your products and company on Twitter - and that's fine, just don't overdo it.
Twitter users want authentic, real interactions with brands - they don't want to feel like you're shoving your products down their throats every time they see your tweets.
Tip 8: Test, test, test
To get the most out of Twitter for eCommerce, you have to be willing to test new campaign ideas, new strategies, new types of content, new publishing times, and anything else you can think of that might boost your success.
There are a number of tools you can use to boost productivity and success on Twitter as an eCommerce business. Here are nine worth checking out:
- Buy Now from Twitter - for selling your products on Twitter
- Mention - for tracking and responding to mentions of your brand
- Buzzsumo - for curating content and connecting with the right followers
- Buffer - for scheduling your updates ahead of time
- Canva - for easily creating compelling images to share with your followers
- Twitter Cards - for driving more engagement from your tweets
- Narrow - for building the right following
- Crowdfire - for growing your following
- Google Analytics - for testing and learning more about your audience
For even more Twitter tools, check out this list from Buffer.
What has your experience been using Twitter for eCommerce? Share your experience below.