Twitter’s recently added list functionality has turned the social networking site into a list-maker’s paradise.
If you’re asking yourself what the point is or why use a Twitter list if you’re an ecommerce retailer, then you’ve come to the right place. Below, you’ll find a brief introduction to Twitter lists as well as reasons why web retailers might want to use them.
What are Twitter Lists and how do you use them?
In the simplest definition, Twitter lists are a way to organize – into lists — brands, associations or people you want to keep together in a group. You can put together up to 20 lists containing up to 500 users each of whomever or whatever you choose.
Creating a Twitter list is fairly simple. Using my own Twitter account, we’ll create a list for my Chicago Tweeps (that’s Twitter People for those not up on the Twitter lingo).
Once you’ve logged into your account, find “New List” on the right column.
Once the dialogue box appears, begin typing the name of your list. This name is unique to you in that it’s attached to your Twitter profile name. You needn’t worry about copying someone else’s list name.
You may include a description with your Twitter list if you so choose. This might be helpful if you choose to make your Twitter list public or if you need to remember why you put the list together in the first place.
Finally, choose whether you want to make your list public or private. If you choose the public option, other Twitter users will be able to see who you have on your list. If you choose private, only you will be able to see who is on your list.
Once your list has been created, you can now start to add people to it.
There are several options for adding people.
You can use the search function:
You can search for Twitterers you follow (click on the ‘list’ icon and check the list you’d like to add them to.)
You can search using other Twitterers’ lists. To do this, click on their list(s) in the right column to open up a list. Select individual Twitterers to follow or choose “Follow List”
If you chose to follow another Twitter’s list, the list will be added to your list of lists in the right column.
Why would you want to use Twitter Lists as an Ecommerce Retailer?
Twitter lists are a great way to organize the people you do business with. If you’ve been on Twitter for any amount of time, you’ll notice that it can be cumbersome to find and follow specific users you may consider important.
Twitter lists allow you to organize those users into easy-to-follow screens.
Say you have 900 followers. A third of your followers are customer-based; another third are vendor-based and the final third are industry-based.
With 900 followers, you’d have to be on Twitter all day long just to keep up with everyone. With Twitter lists, you can segregate your customers from your vendors and industry experts and concentrate on a specific group of Twitterers.
With Black Friday coming up, wouldn’t it be a great idea to call attention to your loyal customers (whom you have showing on a public customers list) and give them all a discount? Same goes for your vendors. If you love Paypal and your newsletter software so much you wish you could marry them both, why not give them the attention they deserve by pointing your followers in the direction of your vendor list.
Welcome to the age of the Recession Shopper. According to research conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates and commissioned by LinkShare Recession Shoppers are the new breed of consumers.
Careful and conscious of what they’re purchasing, Recession Shoppers scour the Internet for good deals as meticulously as Martha Stewart folds hospital corners.
According to LinkShare, “Retailers that offer discounts, special promotions and product comparisons to engage – and keep – these consumers will have more success than those that continue to try striking emotional chords through traditional channels.”
The study also revealed that in order to engage with these consumers e-commerce retailers must change how they think and connect with current and potential customers.
Your e-commerce consumer is going to be an information-based shopper. They are going to click through a lot of websites before making a final decision. They’re going to ask their friends on Facebook, send out a Twitter post and post a question to their online web group.
To separate yourself from your competition, you’re going to need to get into those online channels with them. You’re going to appeal to those Recession Shoppers through social networking.
Facebook. If you’ve done your homework, you’ll know that there are more decision-making purchasers using Facebook than nearly any other tool out there. These purchasers are asking their Facebook friends for opinions on products as well as referrals. If you want to get in — or stay in — the conversation, you want to be on Facebook, too. You’ll want a fan page that your loyal or prospective customers can click to in order to learn more about your site and your products or services. Use your Fan Page to post pictures and announcements about discounts or sales. Consider it a customer service portal.
Twitter. Twitter is closing in on The New York Times as one of the most often clicked-on sites in the United States. Like Facebook, this is another place where your decision-making purchasers are talking. Like Facebook, they’re posing questions and doing research. Creating a Twitter account and using it to connect with your brand loyalists will show you’ve already gone above and beyond your competitors.
YouTube. Given our visual nature, it’s no wonder YouTube has taken off the way it has. Why not serve up a series of how-to videos for current or potential customers. Create a channel dedicated to your site and post tutorials, consumer testimonials or alternative uses to your products. Host a contest that asks people to post a 60-second video on why they love your product. Create buzz and the customers will follow.
I read an interesting article that gave a few ideas and real world samples of e-tailers using various marketing tactics for Valentines Day. I liked the article because it went back to a few “basics” but more importantly pointed toward the use of social media channels to drive interest.
Let me say now that if you don’t have a social media marketing plan in place for your store, you really must consider one. The viral / word-of-mouth power of social media alone is something you can’t overlook.
Proper social media marketing can take time and it does take dedication, but the results can be very beneficial when followed through. If you want to learn more about the social media marketing packages I offer for ecommerce businesses feel free to contact me.
Not Just a Hallmark Holiday
Some say Valentine’s Day is a “Hallmark Holiday” (because it can be associated with helping increase sales of Hallmark cards to others) but heck, you don’t have to be Hallmark to take advantage of the event — and if you aren’t taking advantage of it, you’re certainly missing the “opportunity boat.”
I see it as yet one more opportunity to use the media and social awareness of an event to increase sales through offering limited time only specials, products, etc… So if you haven’t thought about marketing strategy for it yet (I’m sure you’ve planned a 6 – 12 month promotional calendar as I have many times preached in the past right?) it’s time to start.
The article I read listed these as a few of the ways you can take advantage of Valentines Day — no matter what type of retailer you are.
- Create a special Valentine’s Day product or service. The article suggests creating (if you have the ability) a special product or service directly related to the occasion and then promote that product / service on your site as well as on complementary sites, via e-mail, and social media sites. I like the social media route for this type of holiday as it fits very well into that viral methodology. If you can’t make a special product, then consider making a package consisting of a few of your existing products bulked together into a one time discounted price.
- Create a “catchy” video (not an outright ad) and upload it to YouTube. Video is a very popular method of message delivery on the internet now and really gives you the opportunity to “say more with less”. In effect, you can create your own commercials (however, for best results try to avoid a straight out advertisement — you won’t get very far with that) which showcase your company and its products. This is super effective if done correctly and can lead to a huge stream of traffic in a very short time (make sure your server can handle it) if implemented correctly. If you are looking for help developing a YouTube marketing campaign, I am available for hire.
- Use Facebook to get the message out. Another social media option (and there are quite a few) would be to use Facebook in order to develier your message. I’m not talking about advertising on Facebook. I’m talking about creating your own Facebook profile, building a decent friend list or developing a Facebook application (or even a group) that fits your product following. Once you have their attention, you can get virtually any message you want to them — and they will be listening.
- Use email, cross channel marketing, and special promotions. This strategy brings us back to some of the basics of generating sales. Strong email promotions to your current customer list, reaching out to your target market using a variety of traditional channels, and developing special promotions are always sure to help the sales pipeline.
- Use coupon codes that relish in the moment. Even if you decide not to offer a special promotion (why you wouldn’t is beyond my understanding) you could use a current promotion and simply change the coupon code to something relating to the holiday. For example, let’s say you have a coupon code that is available every day and it gives customers a 15% discount on all orders. Keeping that promotion and changing the promo code to something like “CUPID” for Valentine’s Day might set the mood and help interest more customers to buy.
Even if your product / service does not fit the Valentine’s Day theme, you really should consider doing something to take advantage of the event — even if it is simply offering a survey for driving traffic that asks a question such as “Tell us what you consider to be the most romantic place in the world.” The idea here is to simply get people interacting with your site.
No matter which route you choose, you should consider some type of marketing approach to take advantage of special calendar events now and into the future. In addition you should consider developing a social media marketing plan that utilizes those valuable channels available to you via the internet.
To your success.