Recently, Twitter and DB5 surveyed 1,000 U.S. users who follow small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) on Twitter and who use the platform at least monthly. The survey discovered that, “81 percent [of those users] are more likely to take action from info shared via Twitter than traditional channels.”
In short, Twitter is a great way to connect with your customers in real time through small bursts of conversation. These conversations can be used in a number of meaningful ways that benefit your online company and can be categorized in three groups:
- Tweets that drive sales
- Tweets that engage your base
- Tweets that offer customer service
But are all these uses practical for your brand? Maybe yes, maybe no. As this chart from Statista notes, not many companies expect Twitter to drive lots of traffic to their shopping carts, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.
The important thing is to first define how your brand uses Twitter and then stick with that decision. One good idea is to establish different Twitter accounts for your different Twitter needs. For example, the @amazon account focuses on directing readers to Amazon’s product pages while @AmazonHelp focuses on provided customer service for Amazon customers. Focusing your Twitter accounts on specific goals gives your brand the ability to keep tones consistent.
Tweets That Drive Sales
A primary goal of any business is to generate revenue. For B2C companies especially, Twitter is a vehicle for driving sales. Now that Twitter is a publicly traded company answerable to shareholders, its future will be determined by advertising revenue, which means helping companies gain more customers. To that end, Twitter is innovating and enhancing the way businesses use their platform to drive sales.
For example, have you thought about pinning tweets to the top of your page? This is especially useful for time limited deals. Instead of getting lost in the whirlwind of the latest tweets, any user to your page will see the pinned tweet first.
A recent report from Wall Street Journal says that Twitter will be revealing many new types of ads that brands can implement on their Twitter feed, including tweets that offer advertisers click-to-download options. This could be especially beneficial to companies offering freemium versions of their software as an initial point of entry for potential customers.
Tweets That Engage Your Base
Twitter is a great tool for increasing brand awareness, engaging existing customers and increasing customer loyalty. Unlike using Twitter to drive sales and offer promotions which is mostly geared toward B2C companies and their quick sales cycle, both B2C and B2B companies can use Twitter to engage their customer base.
For example, ADP is a B2B company and they use Twitter extensively to position themselves as thought leaders in their industry by pointing followers to trade show events and whitepapers. In their own words, “One of the most valuable things about Twitter for ADP is that we can see real-time engagement and tap into our own experts to provide insights pretty rapidly.”
Malwarebytes is an example of a consumer facing business that uses Twitter to highlight their expertise in crushing malware and restoring confidence. Followers of their Twitter account will learn the latest news and best practices in cyber security. But that’s not all. Malwarebytes also engages their base by sharing Tweets of loyal users which helps create a sense of consumer confidence:
— Nicholas Hayman (@NicholasHayOld) April 19, 2014
Tweets That Offer Customer Service
I’ll be very blunt here: Twitter is not the greatest of customer support tools. Why? Because it is extremely difficult to resolve complex issues with 140 character messages. Instead, when it comes to customer service, use Twitter as a listening device. It is not impolite to simply use Twitter to discover your customers’ issues and to push them to a more effective channel.
The one thing consumers hate more than not having an immediate resolution is being told that there is one, and then it doesn’t materialize quickly enough. Become adept at telling your customers, “We can’t help you here; but if you give us a call or send an email, we can provide better service”. Since this conversation is public, keep it short, to the point and resolve the issue quickly. If you can, get dissatisfied customers to switch to DM.
Twitter is also not the place for overly formal language. Social media and Twitter especially require a different type of language, a faster and more abrupt form of communication. If phone calls and email limit the ability to gauge a customers’ tone and emotional state, Twitter does so even more. Keep in mind that it is more than likely that your customer is contacting you via a Twitter app on their mobile device. They may or may not have great access to the Internet and they may be on the move. Every response from your side may require another response from the customer. Each update requires access to data which may not be available.
Many Uses For Twitter
In the end, it is important to recognize the vast amount of users on Twitter, which includes both customers and competitors, and the many ways your business can use the platform to accomplish many different tasks:
- You can advertise your products.
- You can offer links to promotions, discounts and coupons.
- You can post links to your blog with content showing customers you’re in expert in your industry.
- You can share customer testimonials
- You can point customers to more effective service channels
Twitter is the king of microblogging platforms. The key word there is “micro.” To understand how to use Twitter to effectively increase your ecommerce performance, companies must start with understanding what Twitter is and what it is not.
Todd Garcia contributed to this blog post.