A major ecommerce solutions benchmark research report published last month by dotCommerce found that of the 100 online retailers sampled, only 26% had a Twitter account – slightly more than the number that had Facebook accounts (24%).
What’s more, of those with a Twitter account, only 23% provided a link to the account on their website (all those who did were larger retailers).
So it looks like in many cases online retailers and marketers are proving slow if not reluctant to build Twitter into their marketing mix.
Our Star Example
Check out the eSpares Twitter account for a great example of how a retailer can build up a following and really connect with its customers and prospects in a natural and engaging way.
The tweets are a mixture of offers, competitions, product information, customer service, and general advice and chit chat.
This approach helps to create a human face for the brand and keep followers engaged. The result is a follower base of over 761 to date – not bad for a retailer selling spare parts!
Top 10 tips for retailers using Twitter:
1. Make sure you register your brand name ASAP! – with the popularity of Twitter increasing at a phenomenal rate, it’s vital to claim your ID before someone else gets in first.
2. Write a biography – think carefully about what you want to write in the biography section; this is your opportunity to sell yourself.
3. Add your logo and design a background – creating a customer Twitter background and featuring your branding and logo will help to strengthen your online identity and encourage recognition in the busy Twitter ‘market place’.
4. Use hash tags in your tweets – users can track tagged keywords (eg #iPad), so if you use a relevant tag that is trending you will increase the likelihood of people coming across your content.
5. Encourage ‘retweeting’– getting your followers to retweet your posts is a great way to spread your influence. Keep your tweets short and engaging to maximise retweet potential and don’t be afraid to ask followers to retweet a post.
6. Engage – rather than using Twitter solely as a broadcast tool, don’t be afraid to engage with followers.
7. Use @replies to respond publicly (this will notify the original poster of your response and thread it so other users can follow the conversation), or direct messaging to respond to something privately, for example if you receive a complaint or query about a specific order.
8. Get ready for customer service enquiries – it’s highly likely you will be contacted via Twitter with customer service questions. These shouldn’t be ignored. Be prepared for your reader to tell you how best to communicate with them.
9. Special offers work – Dell generated $6.5m of revenue on Twitter alone by using offers! We all love a discount and what better way to spread the news of your offer than on a social network.
10. Be generous – retweet or comment on tweets by other people and show them you’re not just interested in what your brand has to say.
11. Monitor – make sure you monitor what tweeters are saying about your brand or your industry so you can pick up the positives and negatives and handle them effectively. Twitter search or Tweetbeep are great applications for this.
And a word of caution…
Be aware of Twitter ‘follow bots’ – some companies use bots to automatically follow users (sometimes randomly, sometimes targeted to demographic data or use of key words) in the hope that users will follow them back.
This may have some small value in increasing your base of followers, but is seen as annoying and intrusive by most users and may earn you a poor reputation.
Click here to download your copy of the full 25 page social media in ecommerce solutions report.