Video

Twitter for Ecommerce: How to Market your Brand on Twitter

Tweeting is a breeze, but tweeting relevant content about your business can be a bit tricker. But fret not! Our social media gurus will walk through getting started, page development, and how to engage with your customers in a meaningful and effective manner. Watch our video today to learn how use Twitter for your business. We’ve included the transcript of the video for your reading convenience.

Kavi: Hey Everyone! I’m Kavi ,and I’m one of the senior SEO specialists on the team here at Volusion. Today Mikkayla and I are going to chat about Twitter and how it can be leveraged within the ecommerce space.

Mikkayla: Hi! My name is Mikkayla and I’m one of the social media experts here at Volusion. Twitter is a great tool for brand awareness and connecting instantly with your fans, plus it lets you develop and show off your brand’s unique personality. It’s one of my personal favorites! We’re excited to tell you more about it!

Mikkayla: Let’s start by explaining exactly what Twitter is. Twitter is a social media platform that’s been around since 2006—it actually just had its tenth anniversary! It allows individuals or brands to write and post short messages that are shared with the public in a “timeline” format, similar to what you see when you’re scrolling through Facebook, but a little more streamlined.

Kavi: The user base on Twitter is pretty huge. As of the last quarter of 2015, Twitter had about 305 million monthly active users. These are people and companies all over the world, and in the U.S., they represent about a quarter of all adults who use the internet. Twitter usage is higher among people under 50, and slightly higher in urban areas and among people who are college graduates or earn a higher annual salary.

Mikkayla: When it comes to brands on Twitter, the best way to use the platform is by connecting with and engaging your customers. You can post a tweet that all of your fans plus potential new customers will see, or you can tweet directly at just one individual person. It’s a really versatile customer service tool.

Kavi: Yep, and everything you post on Twitter is super easy to consume. Tweets are only 140 characters or less, and you can add images, video, links, plus a new update now makes it easy to share gifs as well.

Kavi: As with most social media platforms, certain types of businesses are a little better suited to Twitter than others. Any industry that has a really large or niche fan base is off to a good start. For example, if you sell cooking supplies aimed specifically at moms with small children, it’s easy to seek out that particular audience on Twitter and speak directly to them.

Mikkayla: Industries where there’s a lot of business-to-customer interaction tend to thrive on Twitter, like fashion and home goods, automotive, fitness, food ,or outdoor supplies. But if you’re in a B2B industry, Twitter might be a good choice for you too—we’ve seen companies in technology and services do really well. Look at GE, who we’ve used as an example here. Their tweets always include big, engaging images or videos, and they keep up with hashtag trends to make things a little more fun and searchable.

Mikkayla: Twitter has its own lingo used to describe what can be done on the platform. Here are the terms you might hear when you’re talking about Twitter.

First, there’s a Tweet: this is a message of up to 140 characters that you post publicly or direct at a certain person or group. When you scroll through your Twitter timeline, you’ll be seeing tweets from lots of different brands and individuals.

Your Handle is your username on Twitter, and it starts with an @ symbol. Ours is @volusion. Yours might be @ the name of your business or a variation of it, if the handle you want is already taken.

A Retweet is when someone re-posts or quotes your tweet using their own handle. Their followers will see that the original tweet came from you.

Kavi: A Favorite is similar to a Facebook like—it means someone liked your tweet but just didn’t want to share it themselves on their own profile.

One of the most important aspects of marketing on Twitter is the hashtag. A Hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the pound sign, and it’s a way to show that you’re talking about a certain topic. Hashtags can be related to events, like #sxsw, brands, like #mychipotleburrito, or trending topics, like #motivationmonday.

Finally, a DM, or Direct Message, is a private message sent directly to another user. These can’t be seen by other users, but they’re great for getting in contact with someone whose other contact information you might not have. DMs can be useful for handling sensitive customer issues.

Mikkayla: Customers won’t always visit your company’s Twitter home page when they want to interact with you, but it’s important to have an attractive, informative profile. This means choosing a simple and appropriate profile picture as well as a big, bold cover image that says something about you as a company, like a photo of your products in use or maybe a shot of some happy customers.

Kavi: In your bio section, make sure you’re explaining what your brand is about and mentioning your other useful Twitter handles, like Dropbox does. You might also include a branded hashtag here. Always make sure your location and website home page are listed correctly too!

Mikkayla: It’s also important for you to interact with other people and brands. Don’t just expect your followers to come to you. Get out there and find your customers, your competitors, related companies, and brands you admire and follow them. Retweet them and favorite their stuff! Showing that you plan on engaging with others rather than just blindly sending your message into the world makes you appear more relevant and interesting.

Kavi: So you’ve started up your Twitter account and you’re ready to start tweeting. What does a good tweet look like?

First, try to keep your tweets to under 100 characters. I know, we originally said 140, but cutting it off at 100 allows others to retweet you and add their own comments without anything getting cut off.

Also, add pictures to your tweets whenever you can. Tweets that feature images get over 300% more engagement than tweets without. Now that it’s so easy to add gifs and videos, you can say more in a single tweet than that 140 characters allows by itself. If your image has text in it, be sure it’s legible on mobile devices!

Mikkayla: Another way to deal with the 140-character limit is to shorten any links you’re sharing with a service like Bit.ly. Bit.ly is free, and it lets you shorten any URL to a bite-sized snippet and it also lets you track metrics on your links so you can see how many people are clicking them.

Finally, hashtags are super useful, but try to limit them to two or fewer per tweet. Twitter users tend to gloss right over a long list of hashtags, and research shows that engagement starts to decrease dramatically after two. Choose only the most relevant hashtags and keep it simple.

Mikkayla: If you’re hoping to reach new customers or simply engage with your current customers, you’re in luck! Twitter allows you to reach your target audience via advanced search. You can search for people near a certain location or you can search across the platform for specific keywords or phrases. This will then allow you to reach out and tweet these accounts.

Advanced search is great for niche brands because often there isn’t as much chatter for your keywords. This makes it easier to find real accounts instead of fake robots.

Kavi: As we mentioned before, Twitter can be one of your best customer service tools. Once you’re established on Twitter, you’re likely to start seeing customers reach out to you with questions or kudos by tweeting at you. In fact, customers who use Twitter in their personal lives are more likely to send a tweet to a company than to pick up the phone or send an email to that company’s support address. Why? Because tweets are super fast, they’re received right away and the customer knows that a reply means their tweet has been seen by a real human. You see a ton of this with companies like major airlines.

Mikkayla: Yep, so this means that you’ll need to monitor your Twitter account for mentions or complaints. Make sure you respond to your customers whenever it’s appropriate, and remember that when a customer tweets at you, it’s public, so everyone else can see if you choose not to respond or if your response is negative. If it’s necessary to de-escalate a customer service situation, you can always try to move the conversation to a Direct Message or another form of customer management.

Mikkayla: Twitter chats are a great way to build your following while following like minded people in the Twittersphere. Some Twitter chats happen on a weekly basis while others happen every other week.

Twitter chats include a specific hashtag that allows everyone to follow along and chime in to the conversation as they see fit.

Kavi: You can set a topic that you’d like your followers to discuss, and then publicize the chat on Twitter and other social media channels so people know it’s coming up. Adweek, which is a well-known resource for advertising and marketing news, holds a Twitter chat once a week that always gets tons of engagement. Check them out for good examples.

Kavi: Twitter lists allow you to keep tabs on your competitors without having to follow them. This is great for monitoring their sales and promotions. You can also see how they engage with their fans. Maybe they’re quick to interact or maybe they’re slow to respond or simply choose not to engage.

Are your competitors tweeting 10x a day or simply a few times a week? These Twitter lists can help you see how well you match up against them.

Mikkayla: To add someone to a Twitter list, navigate to their profile and click the settings button. From there you’ll be able to add or remove an account from your Twitter list. This will allow you to create a new list and add or remove whoever you want.

Mikkayla: Wanting to increase your followers and your reach on Twitter without breaking the bank? Then consider hosting a giveaway! First you’ll want to create a special hashtag that will be easily trackable. To be eligible to win, ask your followers to Retweet you and make it a requirement that they must follow you to enter.

Kavi: So now it’s time to get started. Find us on Twitter @volusion and let us know what your favorite takeaway was, or if you have any questions about what you learned!

Mikkayla: And remember that if any of this seems a little overwhelming, Volusion does offer social media account management services for any Volusion merchants who’d like to outsource this work. Contact us for more details—our social media team would love to work with you!

Kavi: Absolutely, and right now we’re offering some fantastic promos for services that will help you maximize your success on Twitter and other social media platforms. If you sign up for our services between now and April 30th [2016], you can get your setup fee waived with a 3-month prepaid Social Media Marketing package or a 6-month package commitment.

Mikkayla: Thanks for joining us today! We look forward to hearing from you!