10 Twitter Tips for E-Commerce Retailers

June 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured

Twitter is a fairly uncomplicated site; however, there are a few tips and tricks to gaining more followers (people reading your messages); being retweeted (having your messages re-broadcast); and ultimately converting followers to customers on your site.

I’ve got 10 Twitter Tips you’ll want to consider as you create your Twitter account.

Craft a Relevant User Name. Use your real name or your company name, but whatever you do don’t get too cute or too sultry. There are Twitter spammers out there and they tend to use cute or sultry names – they also tend to get banned. If you will be the only one Tweeting on behalf of your site and you’re not that well known yet, stick with your site or company name. If you have some notoriety, use your real name (assuming someone else hasn’t taken that User Name). Examples of good e-commerce User Names could be Philly_WaterTrtment; Diapers_r_us; Kids_Corner_Toys, etc.

Don’t neglect your profile image. No one will take you seriously if your Twitter profile’s image is the default brown box. The default box either tells your fellow Twitterers you’re new or don’t care. Instead, use a site logo, a fun graphic or even your own headshot.

Remember to write a profile. Your Twitter profile is a searchable section of your Twitter persona. You can write your profile to include keywords as well as a website URL. An example of a good Twitter profile would read something like this: KittyTreats.com is a e-commerce site specializing in cat toys and treats.

Write a non-lame first post. A lot of people will draft their first Tweet something along the lines of “This is our/my first Tweet.” That’s all well and good, but if you want to capture future follower’s attention, you may want to post something a little wittier. Consider doing some basic marketing with your first Tweet: “Looking forward to talking to people on Twitter about cats and the humans who love them.”

Post a few more introductory posts before you start to find people to follow. When you start to follow people (or sites) on Twitter, they’ll most likely check out your profile and see if you’re legit or up to no good. One clue you’re a little shady? Having a single posts and a bunch of followers. Follow up your first tweet with a second, similar “getting-to-know-you” tweet: “Just getting the hang of Twitter and hoping to connect with cat lovers and let them know about our cat toys.”

Find and follow your fellow Twitterers. Twitter offers an option of rummaging through your e-mail inbox to look for people whose email addresses you have that they also have on Twitter. This is one option for finding people to follow. Another option is to use “Find on Twitter” function under “Find People.” Go ahead and see if your local paper, favorite websites, or retailers have a Twitter presence. Not only you have some followers to look at and read, you also get a better sense of how different folks craft their tweets. Another good option for finding people to follow is by using Twitter Search (search.twitter.com/). Essentially a Twitter search engine, Twitter Search allows you to plug in a term or terms and see who is talking about them on Twitter. Once you’ve found people (or sites or companies), go ahead and follow them.

Concentrate on crafting good Tweets. No one (and I repeat, NO ONE) likes having sales-only Tweets rammed down their throats. Twitter is best used as an extension of your brand. Use it to converse with cat lovers (or whatever your site sells), or cat food manufacturers, etc. If you’re running a special sale on your site, it’s a great idea to Tweet that; however, don’t let it be the only thing you Tweet. Twitterers love a conversation.

Spread the love and ReTweet good Tweets. In keeping with our fictional KittyTreats.com idea, say you follow Purina on Twitter and they’ve just posted a recall on their food. All of your followers may not know about the recall and you want to let them know. By ReTweeting (RT as it’s commonly known in Twitterville), you can spread the word to your followers as well. A word about retweeting: A retweet requires the RT and then the @____username in order to be considered a retweet. If your RT is too long, you can condense it to fit within 140 characters, just be sure to keep the gist of the message intact.

Broadcast your Twitter presence. Be sure to add a widget on your own site that proudly displays your presence on Twitter. Whether your run a live Tweet stream on your site or just a graphic and a link, online buyers will see you on Twitter and odds are, will hop over to Twitter to follow you (if they’re already on). In this day and age, a lot of online shoppers are finding e-retailers with social media flavor to be a little more “hip” and with it which translates to sales for you.

Find a good desktop (or mobile) Twitter application to increase your productivity. Twitter can be time consuming if you let it; however, with good desktop or mobile application, you can turn the time-suck into a productivity win. TweetDeck (tweetdeck.com/beta) is my favorite desktop tool. Within one simple download, you can follow, respond, search and check on Twitter trends all on one navigation pane (rather than on Twitter.com where you have to move around the site).

Facebook Hints at Charging Users for Service

June 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Social Media

Facebook has been working on and is in the early stages of an internal payment system.

For a while now they have tried to work out a business plan that would generate revenue from its over 100,000,000 users. Lately word is stirring that they have hinted more at the possibility of charging users for their service. Exactly how remains to be seen but some thoughts have been possibly charging for the use of vanity urls (currently free so get one while they are) or even for allowing you to purchase credits that can be used to buy virtual goods from the third-party applications that run on the site, or from Facebook itself.

There has yet to be a full disclosure of the concept but it brings me to the new poll I’m running on the site (look to the right side of the screen and scroll down a bit in the navigation areas): “If Facebook began to charge for their service, would you still use it?”

Voice your opinion and let me know your thoughts.

****** UPDATE 1/15/10 ******

People, please take note of the original date of this post. The original date was June of 2009 (thus the reason you see no “poll in the right side of the page”—it’s long gone and was only there during June of 2009.) The report was based off of data gathered during that time period and merely passed on by me here. Not sure what has caused everyone to suddenly search for this online, but be aware that this original post is over a half a year old (funny how people’s search habits are.)

Here is a link to what apparently sparked the craze on the internet back then (early 2009) …
http://www.snopes.com/computer/internet/fbcharge.asp

Here’s what Facebook had to say about this way back during that time (Second QTR 2009):

Regarding the issue of whether Facebook would ever charge users for its social networking services, that company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, said in an April 2009 Business Week interview that: “The answer is no, we are not planning on charging a basic fee for our basic services. Once again, that question stems from people thinking we’re growing so quickly, we’re running out of money. We’re growing really quickly, but we can finance that growth. We’re not going to charge for our basic services.”

Sources:
Business Week. “Sheryl Sandberg on Facebook’s Future.” , 7 April 2009.

Point taken, case closed.

Facebook Vanity URLs … Get ’em While They are Available

June 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Social Media

In case you haven’t heard yet (although that’s hard to believe), this past Friday Facebook launched vanity URLs to their subscribers.

What does this mean for you?

Well, much like Twitter does already by allowing you to direct followers to a url that looks something like this http://www.twitter.com/VoomVentures so too does Facebook now.

If you have a Facebook profile you can now set a username for that profile and turn your previously long numbered link into a shorter more meaningful one. So what used to be http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1234567890 now might look like this http://www.facebook.com/YourNameHere.

If you have created a Facebook Page then you may have to wait for a vanity url. Currently, Facebook is only allowing Pages to select a vanity url if they have over 1000 fans as of May 31, 2009. Word has it that restriction will be lifted near the end of July 2009 and Facebook will enable anyone with a Page to reserve vanity url.

Statistics show that during the first 3 minutes after launch the site had already reserved over 200,000 names and after 15 more minutes went over the 500,000 mark. After one hour it went over the 1,000,000 mark and that continues to climb.

In short, if you haven’t reserved your url yet you might want to do it (providing the one you want isn’t already taken now). You can reserve your Facebook username here.

Facebook surpassed MySpace as the largest social network last year sometime and continues to explode. Now with yet one more previously missing link added (the ability for Facebook users to choose a unique vanity url) they look poised to stay on top for a while and have now put a stranglehold on Twitter. Both could be considered a form of micro-blogging with Facebook offering a large variety more of “social applications”.

So if you have a store and associated Facebook profile or Page you should consider reserving a username of your choosing before it’s too late. It would be a shame to have marketed your business and developed a name for yourself only to have another person come in and lay claim to a domain with your company name in it.

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