If you are running a website, an e-commerce store, or any sort of business, you need an online presence in social networks. This comes as no surprise to anyone. However, besides being aware of your brand on these sites, responding to customer complaints, and reinforcing positive feedback, Twitter also allows you to reach out to new customers, one at a time. Does that sound like a lot of work? Yup. If it means you sell one more item or sign-up one more user, is it worth it? Absolutely.
Every customer counts when you are starting off!
Here are two great examples of how I’ve used Twitter to approach potential customers. While the marketing effort is a direct effort in-effort out relationship, the cost is in time and not money, and for a startup, you usually have more of the former. The goal is to reach a critical tipping point, when your business is self-sustaining and growing via word of mouth by your current customer base. Till then however, it’s time to get to work!
E-Commerce: Selling Products
For SurvivalGiftShop.com, I have a variety of products. All of these products were designed for different people and different situations, so you want to draw on the design of products to determine the target audience for Twitter interaction. For example, the Lady’s Night Survival Kit is perfect for bachelorette parties, especially those that are getaway mini-vacations as well. So, I hopped onto Twitter and searched for the phrase “bachelorette party” planning. By placing the first two words in quotes, they must be matched exactly. The word planning can appear anywhere else in the tweet.
It’s important to focus with quotations whenever possible, to ensure you are not wildly searching and the tweets that are found are more likely to be relevant, potential customers. The next step is to reply to the tweet, even if it is a thank you or congratulations. The final step is deciding on whether to include a link. When dealing with e-commerce, the product of interest to them may not be easy to spot if they checked out your main webpage, so focusing them via a direct link to the relevant product can be very helpful. Most importantly, contact them once, and once only. If they say something nice about your product, or even purchase a product, go the extra mile to thank them on Twitter, get their opinion, and even include a thank you card in their order. You want to reinforce a positive message with individuals who becomes customers through social networks.
Turn your fans into fanatics by reinforcing positive behaviour.
Software as a Service: Getting Users
When you don’t have a specific product, and the user may be interested in the service you offer on your homepage (or wherever your twitter account links), including a link in the tweet to these potential customers should be discouraged. Amazingly, people are curious who sends them messages, and they will most likely check out your profile and any links within your profile. By allowing the user to do this self-discovery, it doesn’t feel like you lead them into a trap, but rather that they made this great discovery on their own. This has a notable effect on the likelihood that they will convert to a user.
The only exception to this rule is when you can do some work for them. For NovelRank, users could easily add their book for tracking to the site, however when I found their tweets with a search for “my book” amazon, I had their book’s information, so I added their book for tracking and then sent them a link in the tweet that was directly to their book on the service. Yup, I had now delivered them a personal attachment to the service. It wasn’t an abstract ‘thing’ that it could do, but now it was something being provided for their creation.
Reduce the barrier to entry, and more users will give it a try.
Reduce the barrier to nothing, and your conversions will skyrocket.
Don’t do too many in a single day. If those individuals come to your profile page and just see this stream of outbound replies and product links, they will be dissuaded from checking out your service. You still need to provide relevant information in-between your outbound marketing efforts, just to keep your account looking accessible and beneficial (not spammy).