Some trend-watchers believe Twitter is overtaking Facebook as the preferred social network hub of Millennials (those born between 1985 and now). Tweets are much like haiku poetry, and Millennials appreciate the creativity required to accurately capture a thought with such brevity, and they HATE the hard-sell tactics many old-school marketers are trying to use with it.
How are you supposed to avoid hard-sell marketing when you only have 140 characters to make your voice heard? Even more on point, how do you create tweetable content that will drive retweets into "Trending" status, and do the work for you to drive customers to your site? Shift4Shop has some tips to assist you in optimizing Twitter as a key piece of your e-commerce marketing strategy.
Do you Tweet?
The answer to this question should always be, "Yes!" If you haven’t created a Twitter feed/account, do so ASAP. Your Twitter handle needs to contain your company name/website name
. For example, The Huffington Post has branded itself perfectly through Twitter; most Millennials refer to it now simply as HuffPo, its Twitter handle. Make sure you include your company, website, and contact information in the user description so everyone who looks at your Twitter page knows who you are.
Get the word out.
Just like your Facebook page, you need to include your Twitter handle (@HuffPo, to continue with our earlier example) on all your marketing materials, on your website, business cards
, correspondence, invoicing & shipping, and traditional and e-advertising. Link your Twitter to your Facebook (You can use Facebook to sign up for Twitter, if your company has a Facebook presence—which you know we’re going to insist it should—and every FB post and Tweet will be shared on both platforms). If you’re juggling Instagram, Pintrest, and Tumblr too, you may want to get a program like HootSuite to help you manage them all. If you’re a larger firm, consider creating accounts for key employees to tweet for you as well. A Twitter army can be a powerful tool.
Stop! Don’t Tweet Yet!
It’s tempting to jump right into the 140-character world screaming "Look at me!" but in reality, a planned marketing strategy
here will serve you well. Before your first tweet, know how you want your brand to proceed. What do you want the Twitterverse to think when it thinks of you?
Edging away from the HuffPo example, let’s say you sell designer handbags. What is of interest to your preferred clientele? Fashion, certainly, but what else? How can you get creative with content? What about tweeting or retweeting photos of celebs carrying the latest bag trends and asking your customers to vote on the best/worst in the replies? Feeling more high-end than Fashion Police? Look for news stories that impact your clientele or brands—design news, shows—both gallery and runway—etc. Do you want to have reps live tweet at events? Do you as the CEO want to impart your personal opinions on trending items? There is caché in the Twitterverse when the public knows the tweeter is a real celeb or someone high up in a company. If you go this route, humanizing your tweets, making them sincere, matters. No matter what, tweeting art (photos, etc.) matters. Once you have your branding design firmly in mind, it’s time to find followers.
Followers & Following.
One of the great things about Twitter is that the feed is enormous! You can follow thousands of people and never look at their stuff if you don’t want to. Remember, though, that the same goes for them. If you don’t engage your followers and give them reason to watch for your handle and hashtags, you’ll be lost in the Twitterverse! To find followers, you can do it the old-fashioned way and sort through Twitter’s suggestions, but for volume you might consider an app like Twello or Justtweetit. DO NOT ADD A HUGE VOLUME AT ONCE. The Twitterverse has its own manners and unwritten code of good conduct. Add a few (maybe 20 – 50) a day. They will receive a notification that you’re following them. Good Twitter manners dictate that they follow you back. When they do, or when anyone follows you, tweet them a thank you. If you’re following other firms that do things you’re into, don’t be shy about sharing their content. It adds to your tweetable content, and they’ll likely return the favor later!
They are essential. End of story. Check your competitors’ tweets for applicable industry tags, and definitely create several of your own, which include your brand. USE HASHTAGS ON EVERYTHING YOU TWEET.
Not every hashtag will be appropriate for every tweet, but consistent use of the hashtag will start Twitter’s algorithm following your "trend."
Content and Contests.
That celebrity bag vote idea? That could become a contest in a snap! Tweet a photo of a celeb, or a gallery of them, and ask your followers to vote on the best or worst, or caption the photo. The "Winner" gets a coveted product! It’s important that the prize be on-trend and sought after. The contest should also have a very fast time-frame. In the world of the tweet, a few hours is usually sufficient. It’s a fine line between too many contests and not enough. Laying the groundwork for a big contest with a few less important ones can get people used to accessing your content. Any event of note should be tweeted. New product line? Show? Hire? Tweet it!
Keep an eye on that "Trending" sidebar, and add applicable hashtags if they apply to your content. Perhaps even chime in on a trending topic from time to time. It will add your brand to the trend. The best moment though is when you find out YOUR content is trending. It’s a giddy feeling!
You can purchase promotion on Twitter for your tweets, but there is some user backlash against being marketed to. Twitter tags the promoted content as paid, and people often do steer away from it for that reason. That said, it is a guaranteed way to get your brand in front of a lot of people.