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How To Use Twitter for Business Effectively: Tips and Ideas

Written by Shopster eCommerce

Twitter is a deceptively simple application that asks users to answer one question: What are you doing? Membership to Twitter is free, and has exploded to include bloggers and companies alike, all entering micro blogs sent to their “followers”.

We have been asked frequently by Shopster Merchants whether Twitter is a good avenue to drive sales, and whether it’s worth investing the effort to create a following. Shopster has recently started its own Twitter profile, and we’ll share with you what we’ve found.

Companies who attract a large amount of followers have a tremendous opportunity to get real time promotional messages and drive new traffic to their sites, which is what most businesses are hoping for from their Twitter participation. However, customers don’t want to follow companies that are just blasting out promotional material – and brands can turn people off by projecting all sales all the time.

Alternately, if the primary Twitter goal is to create a sense of community and keep in touch with your customer base, offering topics of mutual interest will keep your business top of mind with your customers. When they finally do need to make a purchase, your business is in a good position to make the sale.

Keeping your customers interested in following your “tweets” requires great content. When determining your content, consider the following questions:

- What is your customer’s compelling reason to follow your tweets?
Example: Great information, new, unique and different insights to common interests or issues

- What information can you provide about your product(s) that will reinforce and validate your customer’s buying decision?
Examples: Comparison studies, product information, customer survey results that support your product’s claims

- How can you create a profile that gives customers a sense of community?
Examples: Common sentiments, and reinforcing shared values creates trust bonds and lends these characteristics to your brand

- How is following your profile going to improve your customer’s day?

So, now you have some ideas for content, but how do you create a following? The best way to attract your own customers to follow is to add a Follow Me link to the bottom of all customer pages on your site and any customer communications. Instructions on how to do this are available through Twitter’s help or through free online resources you can find by searching Google for “Twitter Buttons”.

Attracting new customers through the Twitter channel requires more creativity. One way to make sure you are found is to put words your customers may search on right in your name. For example, our name is listed as Shopster eCommerce. So, anyone searching for eCommerce will find Shopster. It’s also important to fill out your profile so that anyone who finds you during a search can see exactly what you offer. Another technique is to search out groups or individuals that you want following you, and start to follow them. Many Twitter followers will follow you back. However, be aware that Twitter discourages “aggressive following”, and may shut you down temporarily if you try to follow too many people at once.

At Shopster, we have embraced the tool as a way to keep our community in touch with eCommerce trends (as well as to communicate the odd promotion, of course!). Our Twitter posts will be balanced to provide education/information on running your business, keep you up to date on what’s happening in the eCommerce world, and to communicate changes at Shopster or promotions exclusive to our Twitter following.

About Shopster: Shopster offers an end-to-end solution for the online entrepreneur that starts with sourcing products, includes tools to make sales, and ends with our customers making money.