Why is it important to have Twitter followers? I want to sell my products, not waste time engaging in chit chat! WRONG attitude!
This infographic from Edison research really sums up why getting ecommerce twitter followers is extremely important for the future success of your business:
There are also plenty of other reasons why Twitter is an essential tool to grow your business and your profit margin...
I briefly went over in my previous Social Media School (the Instagram edition) how important social media is for marketing purposes. Twitter is absolutely no exception. It allows you to share information about your business to its audience quickly and easily. You can market (in moderation of course) what your company has to offer and link your tweets to your website to gain more traffic there too. Twitter is also convenient if you have important news that needs to be shared right away. Customizing your profile with imagery is also fantastic for building up branding.
Another reason to take social media very seriously is Search Engine Optimization. Ecommerce marketing gurus have noticed an extreme shift in how stores are being ranked in search engines. In fact social signals now are an absolutely CRUCIAL component of SEO. These days, it is just not enough to have a popular website with search engine friendly content unfortunately there are thousands of those! If you want your ecommerce store to rank higher in those search engine results then it's time to work hard on those likes, retweets and +1s. Twitter is perfect for this as it is one of the most "viral" social networks around.
It also allows you to interact with "strangers" whereas some social networks, ie. Facebook are more friends-based which can limit your audience.
The most fundamentally important aspect of Twitter is communication. If someone has a question about a product, it gives you a quick way of responding and securing that sale! If a customer tweets you to tell you they are having an issue at checkout? You have the chance to fix it before another 10 potential customers have the same problem and abandon their carts. It is also a unique way to get insights into how your ecommerce store is performing. You can see customer feedback, complaints and compliments all in one place. You can boost the profile of your store by retweeting complimentary posts, and deal with public complaints quickly and efficiently - Twitter creates a perfect platform for damage limitation.
Is quantity or quality more important?
The first thing I want to address (and possibly your first question) is about paying for followers. If you have found this page through Google then you may have noticed adverts popping up with quick solutions to your Twitter woes. There are offers such as, “BUY 5,000 followers for $35,” from a whole host of websites. It can feel like a very tempting option when you are first trying to build up a following.
hmmm….35 bucks… not loads of money… mouse moving towards Paypal button…
[ My advice is – just don’t do it! All these bought likes are from un-targeted (and mainly FAKE) profiles. These users do not give a hoot – or tweet – about your company or your product. You could get 5,000 followers and still have absolutely no interaction on your Twitter page. This looks terrible compared to having a small amount of active followers. Not to mention your follower list is probably going to look a bit like this:
This sight makes it pretty obvious that you have paid for followers to anyone who uses Twitter regularly. I would not be surprised if Google can also read this and look at it as a “Black Hat” SEO tactic. If they don’t already, my bet is they probably will at some point.
There is nothing more depressing (or ego-deflating) than sending out a tweet to 5,000 “followers” and not a single soul responding – trust me, I have been there. However you can avoid making the same mistakes as me by following my 5 steps below.
My personal 5 Step Ecommerce Twitter Followers Strategy:
Step 1. Create your profile
It is up to you whether to make an official business profile ie, @cooltees or something a little more personal ie, @mattcooltees. I would go with the second option to begin with (where possible.) This will allow you to put a personal photograph rather than a logo as your profile picture. Twitter profiles with a photograph of a real person get more interaction and follows. You can always direct people to a separate official profile when you build up more of a following.
- Make sure your bio is not too stuffy or serious and definitely include a link to your store in your profile (free backlink!). For @MattCoolTees I would suggest something along the lines of:
“Hey I’m Matt. I enjoy comedy, sharing cat memes and making sure folks are wearing Cool Tees.”
- Your cover photo is where you can place more promotion, as it is not visible unless someone actively clicks on your profile. A striking lifestyle photograph works best here. For "Cool Tees” I would have a picture of my latest (location) model shoot.
Step 2. Find your friends
Build your followers by following people you already know. They will more-than-likely return the favour.
- Interact and tweet with these friends. Social media newbies log onto Twitter and update their status (job done!) and wonder why no one has replied or responded. In fact, the best strategy is to reply to other people’s statuses first. This gets conversation and engagement going – not to mention they are more like to interact with your statuses in the future. It really is a case of putting the back work in to get results.
Step 3. Find people who may want to be your friend
I suggest making a list of 5 companies that you feel are niche competition. Check out their Twitter accounts. Do they have an active account with good levels of interactivity? If so then you may want to "pinch" their followers for yourself.
A great time-saving tool for this called Tweepi.Â It allows you to search by interest or by user and gives you a list of targeted people to follow.
Follow as many of these as possible (a maximum of 500 per day.) The great thing is, you know these users are going to be interested in your product!
You can also use Tweepi to unfollow the users that did not follow you back to free up space.
Keep repeating this process until you have a solid follower count – I have got client’s Twitter accounts up to 5,000 targeted followers in a single month with this method. I followed 500 accounts each day and got about 150 follows back each time..
- The great thing is, when you post an update, you will get loads of favourites and retweets which will send your account even more viral!
Step 4. Jump on trends (carefully) and find related hashtags to your niche
Checking out trending topics and making a related post with the hashtag is a good way to broaden your audience.
- Avoid disasters and tragedy posts like the plague. Look at this horrendous "hiccup" by the marketing department for Kenneth Cole. Not cool.
Step 5. Tweet at the right time
Use an analytic software to get insights on how your posts are being received. http://simplymeasured.com/ is a fantastic site that sends you reports straight to your inbox. It is a paid service however you can get a free trial to start you off.
- Once you have a good idea about your "peak" days and times. Use an application such asBuffer to queue the posts at the times you are likely to get more interaction.
Important ecommerce Twitter content tips:
It is not just about the amount of followers you have. I am going to use the biggest social media cliche going and say that “Content Is King.” However it is true. If you break it down into basics, the internet is a huge web of content and users are looking to scope out and be entertained by the best bits.
Great content is important to keep followers there and naturally gain more. If you need a little content inspiration here are three ideas (based around a gym accessories ecommerce store) to keep you going:
Stay away from subjects that create strong conflict (race/religion/politics/sexuality). You should stay neutral on these matters to avoid offence. However causing a little debate on superficial subjects is fantastic for engagement. Android vs Iphone, Tea vs Coffee, McDonalds Vs KFC. For my imaginary gym accessories store, I may post something about using a Treadmill vs Outdoor running– “Really getting into jogging outdoors instead of using the treadmill, what works best for you?” – The more you can relate it to your niche the better.
Humour is the oxygen and blood supply to the internet and guaranteed to get maximum engagement from your followers. Niche related humour will work a treat on social networks.
Relateable quotes can get a shed load of re-tweets and fast! With my gym accessories store I would use inspiring workout quotes to get retweets and favourites.
Coupling the quote with an image is a fantastic way to get more visibility.
I hope this guide has given you some ideas to framework your Twitter strategy. There are no set rules to a successful Twitter account. My advice is to be personal, creative, have fun and spell out the message of your brand!