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Twitter is a powerful tool for all ecommerce store owners, and can easily be used to increase customer engagement and sales. In this blog post we will cover some of the basics such as how to turn Twitter into an effective research tool, customer support platform, and even teach you some of the lingo and give you ideas on what to Tweet. 

What’s Your Goal?

Before jumping on to another social media tool, first determine what you want from Twitter. For example, a law firm would not try to secure new clients with Twitter. Rather, the law firm would be establishing itself as a credible source of information with great tweets about their expertise. Becoming a leading voice in law will add to their credibility and impress potential clients. It’s important to figure out if your target market are using Twitter and then see what real value you can bring to them.

How to Speak in Twitter's Language

Twitter has it's own language with subtle nuances and etiquette you need to understand. It's important to take a step back and understand some basic Twitter lingo, for a full list check Twitter’s great glossary.

  • Tweet: A 140-character message
  • Handle: Your username
  • Retweet (RT): Re-sharing someone else’s tweet
  • Hashtag (#):  A tool that allows others to find your tweets, based on topics. You can click on a hashtag to see all the tweets that mention it in real time — even from people you don’t follow. Inventing your own hashtag can be a great way to increase your brand visibility, and create a more unified Twitter community. For example, Shopify’s Build-A-Business has lead to #BuilldaBiz which has taken off globally and helps us engage with new shop owners
  • Direct Message (DM): A private message between two people. You may only DM a customer who follows you
  • Mention (@): Reference another user by his username in a tweet. Your customer would be notified when @mentioned

How to Use Twitter for Ecommerce

1. Customer Support

As an ecommerce merchant, you need to start thinking of Twitter as a public complaint department. Here is a great post on the secrets to running a successful Twitter complaint department. We asked our Twitter followers if they use Twitter as a customer service channel, and here are some of the responses: 


2. Manage Positive and Negative Tweets

If the tweet is positive – retweet it. Then tweet back with a thank you, expressing how glad you are that they’ve had a good experience with your product. You can even mention a sale or a new product coming out soon. If the tweet is negative – address the issue and offer a solution. Treat your Twitter conversations with customers as you would a face-to-face interaction: be friendly, enthusiastic, and polite. If you have a angry customer, don’t fire back with rage but rather shower them with quality help and kindness to put out their flames.

3. Research Your Target Market  

Twitter is one of the best places for ecommerce entrepreneurs to get info for growing their online store. According to Twitter they're the fastest, simplest way to stay close to everything you (and your customer) care about. For example, If you sell the world’s greatest scented candles, do a Twitter search using keywords to find others who are talking about scented candles. The more prolific the user is on Twitter (they have a ton of followers and/or tweet often), the better. However, don’t forget the little guys on your way up to Twitter stardom as everyone is a great potential consumer.

4. Research your Competition and Heros

Your competitors are probably already on Twitter, learn from their success and failures before pumping out tweets. This guide will show you how to identify your top 5 competitors and show you 8 tools that will help you gather in-depth information on your competitors strengths and weaknesses. With a few hundred million different Twitter accounts, it's tough to find the right thought leaders, SEO masters, and the best ecommerce news, lucky for you, Shopify did exactly that, here is a list of 50 must follow Twitter accounts for ecommerce entrepreneurs.

What Should I Tweet?

The most effective thing an ecommerce store can Tweet, is simply communicating with your following. Sure you can tell everyone about sales, and answer questions, but what's really going to grow your following is daily and continuous "small-talk" - whereas you're talking about anything and everything with your following. Also try: 

  • Sales, discounts, and new products
  • Ask fun questions
  • Ask for opinions on which new prototype your Twitter community likes best
  • Ask about their favorite products and brands
  • Offer to send them free stuff. 
  • Tweet fun pictures of your product and ask your followers to do the same
  • Tweet recent blog posts
  • Interesting & related YouTube videos are great
  • Industry infographics
  • Famous quotes that are related to your industry
Managing your Twitter account can be tough work – but your efforts should pay off in the end with increased sales, and a strengthened online community. Check out our top 10 quick Twitter tips for even more benefits and rules on how to conduct a stellar tweet.

Happy Tweeting!