As Facebook continues its decline, it creates a vacuum in the ecommerce world for a new far-reaching social media platform to connect with customers and garner more conversions. And while the newer platforms seem to come and go, we find a more stable alternative right under our noses this whole time: Twitter.
Twitter can be an excellent sales tool for online retailers who know how to use it, but its unique setup gives it a bit of a learning curve. In this guide, we explain the 5 best ways to use Twitter for ecommerce, both for your business and your customers.
The most direct way to use Twitter for ecommerce conversions is with advertising. There are a few different options for promoting tweets, some of which we talk about below, but here we’ll talk about traditional advertising with website cards.
Basically, Twitter offers compact media within tweets called cards. These cards can display an image or video and, more to the point, link straight to a product page. So one of the most popular advertising strategies is to post a tweet with all the appropriate sales copy and hashtags and include a card leading to your product page, then promoting that tweet.
Twitter uses a cost-per-click (CPC) model, so you only have to pay every time people click on your tweet.
As a public forum, Twitter offers a unique insight into how your customers think and feel — and in their own words, nonetheless. Just by searching for the right keywords or hashtags, businesses can research:
- Brand status — What do customers like and dislike about you?
- Interest in a new product — If you’re thinking about adding a new product, you can gauge how well your target customers would receive it.
- Market viability — You can analyze whether or not there’s room to break into an existing market, or discover the perfect angle to do-so.
- Competition — Keep a close eye on your competitors by checking their feeds.
- Customer pain points — Learn what shoppers are bothered by to offer them a solution.
Don’t forget that, at its core, Twitter is a place for everyday people to talk. That simple concept is one of its greatest advantages.
3. Building a Community
People like following their favorite brands on social media, not just for the promotional discounts, but also because it creates a personal connection. By nurturing this personal connection, you can encourage greater customer loyalty and build your own community.
Building a community on Twitter is a two-step process: you need to first attract followers, and second reward them for following.
Although you can feasibly attract a widespread following using your charisma alone, a more surefire approach is to use promoted tweets. We explained above that you can pay to promote tweets for product pages, but you can also use them for non-promotional tweets.
For example, you could pose a question in a tweet to jumpstart a conversation, and then promote it to be seen by new people. Or, if you tweet something especially clever and relevant, you can promote it to entice people to follow you. Of course promoted tweets cost money, so use them sparingly.
Once you have followers, you should engage them regularly and reward them for following you. Offering exclusive deals only for followers is one way to do it, but you can also take a more human approach: chit-chatting, joking around, or sharing funny posts.
It’s also recommended to address customer service complaints on Twitter. As long as you handle them appropriately, doing so in a public forum reflects well on you as a brand.
4. Engaging New Customers
Want to take a more hands-on approach to customer acquisition? By searching for specific keywords or hashtags, you can pinpoint individual people who could use your products, a practice known as micromarketing.
Essentially, you find tweets about people with a pain point, and then directly offer them your products as a solution. That’s the idea, but there’s a little nuance to consider. For one thing, many people would find it invasive if a company tweets them out of the blue with a solicitation.
This strategy requires tact and finesse, so it’s best done by more advanced Twitter users. A safer approach is to only respond to questions relevant to your products. To speed along your searches, don’t just look up what people are saying about specific products, but also complaints about competitors or the industry as a whole.
SEO may not seem like a big concern for Twitter, but they actually go hand-in-hand. For one thing, the more followers and likes your Twitter account has, the more it appears in search feeds. And to attract more followers and likes, you can use SEO within Twitter to appear in more of their internal searches.
The principle is the same as with all SEO: use popular keywords in your tweets to appear in searches for those keywords. However, with Twitter you also have to pay attention to hashtags, which users also search for.
You always want to be aware of the most popular hashtags in your market, governed by your target customers. Not only will using them help you appear in more feeds, but it also tells you what topics your customers are interested in.
As a secondary gain, you can use the keywords for your own website on Twitter for a synergy effect. For example, if the target keyword phrase for your own website is “retro souvenir snowglobes,” you should use the phrase “retro souvenir snowglobes” in your tweets; then, your brand name is associated with that phrase on multiple sites This strategy works exponentially in conjunction with tweets including a website card.
The Big Picture
Twitter may dance to the beat of its own drum, but it still follows in line with many of the other recommendations for digital marketing. If you’d like more advice on how to use social media for ecommerce, including Twitter, you can read expert tips from our guide, Ecommerce Social Media Best Practices.
If you’re specifically interested in building a community and loyalty programs, you can find more helpful pointers in our 5 Ways Social Media Improves Ecommerce Loyalty Programs.
Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published April 2015 and was updated in September 2020 to reflect more accurate and relevant information.