Anyone who wants to start a successful Ecommerce business needs to have a presence on Twitter. It’s what your customers will expect, and it’s also a great way to drive traffic to your store, because the likelihood is that there’s a large number of potential customers already there.
A whole industry has evolved around social media with thousands of experts offering their advice. The truth is though, using Twitter isn’t rocket science. We’re not going to go into the basics of what an @reply or retweet is, because if you want to learn the basics of using it, sign up and have a go and you’ll get the hang of it soon enough.
As an ecommerce entrepreneur however, you will want to dig a little deeper and put a few strategies in place in order to maximize the potential of your Twitter profile.
1. Hone your brand
It’s not enough to just use a random Twitter username and hope for the best. Your ecommerce store’s Twitter account should be branded in the same way as your store, from the name down to photos and background colors. It’s also not difficult for anyone with Photoshop or a similar picture editing software to create a nifty custom background with your store’s logo on it.
Make sure you include the url to your store in your profile details. It may sound like obvious advice, but I’m amazed by how many people on Twitter don’t have a link to their site. If people are looking at your profile, it means they’re already curious, so capitalize on this by making it easy for them to visit your store!
You also only have 160 words for your Twitter bio, so make it count. Something too dry will turn people off immediately, so try to reflect your brand’s unique tone of voice (it does have one, right?), for example by adding a dash of humor.
2. Know your niche
Whether you’re a total Twitter newbie or a seasoned veteran of the 140 word update, there are always ways to improve your results and one of the best is to take a sneaky peek at what your competitors are up to. Take some time out to really look at what they are sending out, and use Twitter’s built-in search function to see who is responding to them and what they’re saying.
This way you can get a good idea of what works and what doesn’t – because the last thing you want to do is blindly copy a competitor who may seem to know what they’re doing, but may in actual reality be clueless.
You can also search for keywords and hashtags that relate to your niche to see who is showing up frequently about those topics, and what issues come up regularly, and then you can ensure your own tweets (and other communications) reflect them.
It’s also crucial to understand that not everyone on Twitter who is involved in your niche is a competitor. One of the richest veins to tap on Twitter is that of the popular influencers. Twitter allows unprecedented access to the big names in your business area, and you can build relationships that may pay off down the road, or you could even approach them directly and suggest ways to work together and leverage each other’s communities.
3. Demonstrate your expertise
By getting to know your niche better, you have a good idea of what topics and angles are getting the most engagement from Twitter users. Now you can build on that by sharing useful content on those and related topics. It’s best to focus on one to four clear areas of expertise, and try to stick to those, or you will be in danger of seeming unfocused to your followers.
Twitter is not the best medium for detailed discussion, so if you want to delve more deeply into a particular topic, write a blog post and then share the link on Twitter. If you have a good, intriguing headline then your followers will be happy to follow the link. Do this regularly, and you’ll be driving a constant flow of traffic to your site, where people will have ample opportunities to buy something.
4. Join the conversation
Avoid the temptation to spam your followers with aut0-DMs, constant product updates and other overly sales-orientated updates – this does not tend to go down well with the Twitterati.
Twitter is more like a modern-day watercooler, allowing conversations to take place between people around the world, whether they work in an office, from home or from a coffee shop. Of course you will want to retain a professional presence, given that we are talking about a business account rather than a personal one.
Most people however, still relate best to a human being, and this is your opportunity to show the human side to your business and engage with customers. That’s how you turn casual followers into fans for life. Even small things like thanking fans for retweeting you can help.
You can also encourage your followers to engage with your brand by asking questions or holding competitions that reward them for sharing your tweets, and also creating your own hashtag that customers can use to help you promote your brand.
Finally, despite what I’ve said about spamming your followers, don’t forget to share special offers that you are offering for your products on Twitter. Your followers will want to know about what you’re selling, but just ensure this is only a small percentage of your overall tweets and they won’t feel like you’re ramming it down their throats.
5. Set a schedule
We all get busy, and some days it’s unlikely you’ll have time to tweet. That’s fine, but if you disappear for too long, your followers will forget about you and you’ll also be missing out on multiple opportunities to drive traffic to your store.
It’s important to see your Twitter presence as a crucial element of your store’s communication strategy, and the best way to ensure this is to create a repeatable system that anyone can follow, whether it’s you, an employee, an intern, or possibly even your wife/husband in the early days of your business.
A good way of doing this is to set a different type of tweet for every day of the week, such as, special offers on a Monday, a question for the community on Tuesday, a new blog post every Wednesday, etc.
You can even preschedule your Tweets using services like Hootsuite or Buffer – just bear in mind that there are optimum times to tweet to reach different customers, e.g. If you are selling worldwide you will want to repeat certain updates at different times throughout the day and night.
6. Monitor Your results
As with SEO, or in fact any activity related to your business, all of this effort will be wasted if you don’t know whether it’s driving traffic or increasing sales. That’s why you need to monitor the results of your Twitter activity from the very beginning.
I already mentioned Hootsuite and Buffer, both of which include stats about the response to your updates, or you could use a link-shortening service like bit.ly to see how many times your followers have clicked on your links to your site.
You can also monitor how influential you are by using services like Klout, which list the main keywords you are best known for. Klout isn’t always 100% accurate but it does give you a good idea of how you’re doing.
It’s particularly important to look at your site’s traffic statistics before you employ your new Twitter strategy to see how much traffic is coming from the service already. Now you can get a good idea whether your efforts are having any impact on traffic.
As I said, Twitter isn’t rocket science, but if you want to drive traffic to your ecommerce store on a regular basis, it does take consistent effort and some serious research and preparation.
There’s no doubt that social media can be overwhelming at times, and may seem like an extra task that you just don’t have time for.
However just think about the opportunities Twitter provides s to both build better relationships with current customers and reach new ones, on a daily basis. That’s what you’ll be missing out on if you don’t include Twitter in your marketing strategy.
Do you have any tips for driving traffic to online stores using Twitter? Let us know in the comments.