How to Use Twitter for eCommerce

How to use twitter for ecommerce

Twitter by the Numbers

Before we get into how to use Twitter for ecommerce, I will first  go over the hard numbers. These numbers will help you decide whether Twitter makes sense for your ecommerce site and will also showcase how the social networking site is doing overall. Let’s dive in!

As always I like to start with a high level picture and zoom in. As of Q4 2014 Twitter has 288 million active users. That makes Twitter the 6th largest social networking site in the world. The majority of these users are in the United States, 33% of all Twitter user call America home.

Twitter users image

If you are a retailer targeting an American audience you will want to be using Twitter to reach your audience. If you are selling outside of the States, don’t worry, 23% of world internet users currently have a Twitter account. Now these stats give you a very high level view of Twitter, so let’s zero in on what a Twitter user looks like.

Before I get into the demographics and a typical Twitter user, it is important to note that Twitter does not ask for this information. This means that these numbers are not as concrete as they are for other social media platforms. That said, here are some of the best estimates of what the average Twitter user looks like.

Twitter demographics infographic

As you can see from the image above, a typical Twitter user is female, in their 20s, from an urban environment, and have an income above $50k. If this is your target market, congratulations, no further explanation needed. If that isn’t your market there is still value on Twitter.

For the most part Twitter is a very balanced platform. What I mean is that no demographic is severely under represented. You don’t see any huge gaps like the male female split on Pinterest. This makes the platform an attractive option for almost any ecommerce retailer. But how should you use Twitter for ecommerce? Here are 6 tips to help you succeed using Twitter for ecommerce.

How to use Twitter for eCommerce

There are a ton of ways to drive business with Twitter. This list is a starting point for your ecommerce store. If you are seeing success on Twitter, tweet me! I will share your suggestions and give you a follow.

Tweet your ecommerce ideas

Without further ado here are some twitter suggestions for your ecommerce store.

1. Match your profile to your brand

A strong profile is the foundation for your ecommerce sites success on Twitter. Your profile showcases who you are and what you stand for. It is also how people will evaluate whether you are worth following or not. So lets go over what shows well.

Every component of your profile should match what your company stands for and the products you sell. I will use Old Faithful Shop as an example of a good Twitter profile.

Twitter profile for ecommerce

Your profile consists of your (1) header image, (2) profile picture, (3) Twitter handle, (4) Bio, and (5) website and location. All of these components should showcase your brand image in a consistent way.

In this example OFS has followed the “keep it consistent” approach and has followed some key steps when putting together a Twitter profile for an ecommerce site.

Header image: Use an image that immediately lets a viewer know what you do.

Profile picture: A best practice is to use your company logo.

Twitter handle: Use your company name! If your name is unavailable try to get your name plus something related. If your book shop is called “Pages” and that handle is taken try @pagesbooks or @pagesbookstore.

Bio: You have 160 characters to describe your company. Don’t be flashy just explain what you do in simple language and try to use a keyword or two.

Website & location: Straightforward people want to know where you are based and where to learn more. Show them both!

2. Use best practices when formulating your tweets

Twitter is all about getting engagement from your tweets! The more people who retweet your message the more it is seen, this can quickly amplify your ecommerce stores message. You also want to get people to click your links and see your images.

The trick to increased engagement is to follow some statistically proven best practices.

Tweet Stats

As you can see in the image above you can significantly increase your tweets engagement. All you need to do is: include an image, add a hashtag or two, include a link, and keep your tweets around 100 characters in length.

There are a couple things you should also keep in mind when including these elements. Wen using hashtags, do not go hashtag happy. While a hashtag increases engagement 21%, three or more in one tweet actually decreases it 17%. You also need to be careful with your links.

Twitter link advice

Tweets with a link get retweeted 86% more than those without, but be careful when using them. You should use a link shortening service like Bitly, your link will take up less space and look cleaner in your tweet. Make sure you also leave a space between your last character and the start of your link or else the link will be broken.

When you tweet also plays a part in how your tweets are received. Research shows that tweets sent during the busy hours of the day (8am -7pm)  get a 24% boost in engagement. The weekend is also the best time for brands to be tweeting according to Salesforce.

when brands should be tweeting

Now that you know what makes an effective tweet, you can take New York Times quiz to test what you have learned! This test will put you against an algorithm developed by three Cornell University students.

twitter trivia

3. Use Twitter product cards

Twitter poses one major problem for ecommerce merchants, it is not as image dominant as some other social networks like Pinterest and Instagram. You can combat this by using Twitter cards for product tweets.

A Twitter product card allows you to provide more information about a product beyond what you can fit in the 140 character tweet. Once your tweet has an image, a link, and two hashtags, there is very little room for any information about your product. A product card changes that!

twitter for ecommerce product cardAs you can see in this example the actual tweet is kept short and sweet. The bulk of the information is displayed in the product card below. A product card allows you to display the product name, an image, and a description. In addition to this you also can choose two other things to display. In this case Etsy has shown the price and stock level. To see everything that can be included see Twitter’s “Getting Started Guide.”

There are also many other types of Twitter cards you can use in ecommerce, Shopify does a fantastic job of outlining these other use cases!

4. Encourage people to tweet about your products

Many people are “willing” to share a product or purchase, but very few actually do. The reason shoppers do not is they are not prompted (or asked) and there is little benefit to them. You can change that by having a tweet to share button that gives a reward.

reward twitter shares for ecommerce

You can encourage shoppers to tweet on the product listing page and/or on the purchase confirmation page. If you are encouraging customers to tweet on the product page you will want to offer an incentive they can use on a purchase right now. This could be a discount code or coupon.

If you are rewarding shares after checkout you want to give a larger reward and one that encourages a repeat purchase. A points program works great for this, you can give points for sharing that they will be able to use on their next purchase. It incents them now and encourages a repeat purchase.

5. Be ready for the Twitter “Buy Button”

Twitter has announced that they are working on a way for customers to buy products directly within the Twitter ecosystem. This is a big transition in using Twitter for ecommerce! The functionality is currently being tested with a select group of charities, bands, and organizations.

The “Buy Button” is expected to be rolled out this year, so keep tabs on when this is released. You will be able to acquire customers for your ecommerce store directly in Twitter. Until it is released here is a video with some details.


Twitter for eCommerce

While the average order value of a Twitter referral may be lower than other social referrals, there is still value in Twitter for ecommerce. You can use Twitter to engage with your customers, support your fans, and resolve problems. It doesn’t have to be solely about selling product through Twitter! However, that might change with the intro of the Twitter “Buy Button.

Twitter is covered in the beginners guide to ecommerce