10 Twitter Tips for E-Commerce Retailers

Written by  June 30, 2009

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).

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