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Social Media Series – Part 2: Seven Tips for Using Twitter to Build Your Online Business

By: Catherine Perry

Seven Twitter Tips to help you reach potential customers and market your online business!

Social media is THE way to get the message out about your ecommerce business. At Pure-Ecommerce we are writing a series of articles on how to market your business through social media because we believe it is SO important to building your brand and business. In the first article of the series we talked about using Facebook to communicate to a large group of people about your business. You can see the Facebook Tips we shared here.
In this the second article, we want to give you some tips on how you can market and build your fan base through the use of Twitter. As of February 2017, according to Statista.com there are 328 million active monthly users on Twitter. While that is quite a way from the billions of Facebook users, it remains a social media force that is to be reckoned with because it is continuing to grow.
Due to the rapid increase in the numbers of Twitter users in the last few years, strategies in using it have changed. There is a lot of competition for Twitter feeds because there are so many conversations. Not all of your followers will get your tweets because of the sheer activity of Twitter users. We will go into some ways to combat the attention deficit in this article. But, first, let’s look at why Twitter is important as part of your marketing plan.

What is Twitter and Why is It Important?

We hear from our clients that Twitter is an enigma to them and they still don’t quite get 1) what it is and 2)why it is important for them to use as a marketing tool.  Twitter is a way you can discover what your target market is talking about and searching for. And, when used correctly, it can boost your connections and website traffic. It’s like having conversations with people who are looking for a solution to a problem or need. This is valuable information for you to have for your business. Instead of attending “old-school” networking events to get your business in front of people who may be interested in what you are offering, for an ecommerce business you can use Twitter!
Social Media Examiner describes Twitter as “a short message communication tool that allows you to send out messages up to 140 characters long to people who subscribe to you (“followers”).” In these messages that you send, you can include words and links to any web content such as blogs, website pages, PDF documents, photographs and video. So, because it is only 140 characters long, you have to be concise and succinct (or, “short and sweet”)! There is no wasting time composing paragraphs in the message; therefore, it suits the lifestyle we have become accustomed to in our multi-tasking, fast-paced world.
People follow your Twitter account by subscribing to it and you follow other people by subscribing to them. You read, reply to “tweets” and share tweets or “retweet” with your followers.  For your business, the bottom line is that you use Twitter to get your message, your branding, and information about your products out to a community who uses Twitter and who is interested in what you have to offer. You can see how this ability to quickly pass along information to people who may be interested is important in marketing your business.
(Note that it is outside the scope of this article to give instructions on how to actually use Twitter; however, at the end of the article we will post some great resources for learning the basics.)
Now, here are 7 tips on marketing your online business through Twitter.

Tip #1 – Find People to Follow

Initially, your Twitter experience is defined by the conversations you get from people you follow, not from those who follow you. On Facebook you have “friends” who receive your posts and you get their posts; on Twitter, you receive tweets from the people you “follow” and you send tweets out to those who follow you.
You want to find people who are experts, leaders, or points of influence in your industry to follow. Additionally, you want to follow those people who are your target market. They could be people, companies, or organizations–consumers, companies, vendors, competitors, and trade organizations. It is also good to follow people in your local area, such as your Chamber of Commerce and other small business organizations to help you put the name of your business out in your local community. Spend some time making a list of who these are. Also, be sure to follow your competitors and others in your industry to see what they are tweeting.  The important take away here is to start following others on Twitter – the goal here is to have them come back and follow you too!

Tip #2 – Listen and Share

Begin watching the tweets that are coming to you from those you are following–this is the “listening” part.  You can use Twitter’s advanced search or use other tools (HootSuite, Sprout Social) to look for tweets that include your products.
Then, retweet—this is the “sharing” part! You benefit from the information you are getting from those you are following, and you are sharing that information. A retweet affirms the user who originally sent the tweet, and that is always a good way to get a fan. As you continue to do this, you will start to get followers yourself.

Tip #3 – Create Your Brand

Be strategic in your tweets to build your brand. The core of your message is in the information you link to. The links that you include in your tweets should be relevant to your business, your products, and your brand, but do not only promote. You want to ensure your tweets are a good mix of informative, entertaining and educational tweets along with some promotional ones in the mix.
Your headline needs to grab attention and lead someone to click on the link. The headline should give a bit of information so the Twitter user has some idea of what you are about; it should be useful, have a sense of urgency, and be rewarding for the user who follows the link.
For example, if you have an internet business that provides yoga clothing, you might do a series of tweets educating on the benefits of being mindful. Or, if you have an internet business that provides organic products, you might tweet on why organic is important.
You can link to information regarding sales or discounts from your website. You can link to articles written by experts. And, don’t forget to use photos and videos in your tweets for pulling people into your message as well. Don’t think its important to add an image related to your post, well think again, it is! Tweets with image links have engagement rates TWO TIMES higher than tweets without according to findings by Buddy Media. Just as in your FB posts and blog posts, visuals are powerful and very popular these days!

Tip #4 – Create an Editorial Content Calendar

As with any marketing plan, you need to have plan! A calendar for your tweeting is just as important as your editorial Facebook calendar because it keeps you on track for a disciplined, consistent approach and on point with your message.
Schedule your tweets consistently for a few days or weeks. For example, you can set aside certain days for particular kinds of tweets. Monday might be for special promotions. Tuesday could be for tweeting blog posts. Maybe you tweet how-to tips on Wednesday. On Thursday you may tweet about industry trends. And, Friday could be for videos or photographs.
Note that you can get content from 3rd-party sources–as long as it is pertinent to your branding message–so you don’t always have to create original content.

Tip #5 – Tweet Consistently and Frequently

There is a lot of activity on Twitter. This is “good news/bad news.” Good news: Because of the traffic, you have a large audience to reach. Bad news: Because of the traffic, you can get lost in the “noise” and it may be harder to get noticed. Tweets don’t have the same organic reach they used to because of the number of users.
To combat this, you need to be consistent and frequent in your tweets. This means you should probably look at tweeting several times per day in order to get seen.  Don’t fall into a habit of tweeting a link to your blog once and then no more. You will definitely benefit by tweeting multiple times during the week in order to get more followers seeing it. In the Coschedule.com article, “How Often to Post on Social Media”, they share insight from DowSocial suggesting “businesses should be tweeting a minimum of six tweets per day, and to do it daily. Since Twitter is a fast-paced network, they say that tweeting about once an hour during business hours is a good guideline, coupled with engagement tweets.”
Another tactic is to use Twitter for connecting directly with your followers, instead of only using it as a mass messaging channel. You can engage in conversations and be personal in your tweets, which makes it a great forum for providing advice and customer service. Many large companies are finding Twitter to be their preferred way of communicating with customers.
Tweeting often not only helps you to stay active on newsfeeds but improves your ranking in online searches. Be sure to use keyword-rich phrases in your tweets as often as possible.

Tip #6: Use Advanced Search Options for Opportunities

Twitter contains advanced search capabilities (search.twitter.com) that allow you to search for keywords people might use to find your product. For example, let’s say you have an organic nutrition website. People who are looking for those products might tweet on the phrase “organic nutrition.” You can search on those keywords to get the tweets that contain them and then reach out to those people. You can start building relationships just by saying “hello” and asking them to connect.

Tip #7: Use Keywords & Hashtags in Your Tweets

Using keyword-rich tweets has 2 benefits: 1) helps in your search engine ranking and 2) helps you find followers. You should always be aware of using keywords that relate to your business when sending tweets so it is easier for people to find you. (When you purchase a website through Pure-Ecommerce, your Twitter account and links to it from your website are also created. We always use keywords in your bio on Twitter and in your company name, which helps Google index content that is relevant to your business.)
Hashtags may seem like the “trendy” thing to do, but they actually have relevance. Twitter support says, “People use the hashtag symbol (#) before a relevant keyword or phrase in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter search. Clicking or tapping on a hashtagged word in any message shows you other Tweets that include that hashtag.” You are probably asking yourself, “How many hashtags should I use per tweet”. That leads us to this article by Buffer Social, How to Use Hashtags, where they share this data – “Tweets with one or two hashtags have 21% higher engagement than those with three or more. Tweets that use more than two hashtags actually show a 17% drop in engagement.” Keep these stats in mind when you’re adding hashtags to your tweet.
We hope these 7 tips will be helpful as you build your online business. Using Twitter should be an integral part of your marketing plan. Start following and retweeting today!!

Resources to Learn Twitter Basics

Here are a few places you can go to for the basics:

Social Media Series – Part 1: Four Easy Tips Using Facebook for Your Online Business

facebook-tips-for-online-business

By: Catherine Perry

Use Facebook to market your online business with these four easy tips!

This starts our series on using social media to market your online business. During this series we will post articles giving you tips using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Blogging for boosting your business. We are beginning the series with tips for using Facebook because we feel using Facebook is one of the top priorities for your marketing plan.
In case you still need to be convinced that Facebook is a primary way to reach an audience, here are some statistics that should back us up when we say, “It is!”
Based on the article “Top 15 Valuable Facebook Statistics” on zephoria.com, a digital marketing agency that collects data from social media outlets, here are a few of the statistics you may be interested in when thinking about using Facebook to boost your online business:
  • Worldwide, for the month of March 2017, there were over 1.94 billion monthly active Facebook users, which is an 18 percent increase year over year.(Source: Facebook 5/3/17).
  • There were 1.15 billion mobile daily active users (Mobile DAU) for December 2016, an increase of 23 percent year-over-year.
  • 28 billion people logged onto Facebook as daily active users (Facebook DAU) for first Quarter of 2017, which represents an 18% increase year over year (Source: Facebook as 05/03/17)
These 3 statistics show the massive audience on Facebook, showing that Facebook is too big to ignore in your marketing plan. No, you may not want to engage all of these users, but you don’t want to neglect getting your message out to the part of Facebook who will be interested in what you have to offer either!
Another great resource for data on this subject is www.smartinsights.com. According to their article “New Global Social Media Research” published 1st quarter 2017, the U.S. is “the most advanced major market” and, as such, is a good indication for future global trends, as shown in this graphic:

It is a fact that in 2017, if you have a business of any sort—service or product, online or not, you absolutely must have a presence on Facebook! It is THE way to build a brand and increase web traffic.
So, the question is, how can you best utilize your valuable time on Facebook for business? We think there are certain tasks you need to do to reach your objectives.

facebook-for-online-businessPost to Facebook Consistently

Posting in a consistent way keeps your message in front of Facebook users. When you post only sporadically and have too much time between posts, you send a haphazard message. Creating an editorial calendar for your social media marketing effort will keep you on task. People like to see consistent posts and will come to look for them. The standard rule of thumb is to post on your Facebook business page at a minimum of two or three times a week, but once per day is recommended to keep your business in front of your followers. Posting more often than that could be construed as crowding your fans, but you can decide what seems appropriate for your products and audience.
We found from a couple of different sources that 1) the highest traffic occurs mid-week between 1 to 3 p.m. (source: bit.ly blog) and 2) a Facebook post at 7 p.m. results in more clicks on average than a posting at 8 p.m. (source: Forbes.com). So, what this tells us is that you may reach more consumers during peak usage times, but people may be more engaged in the evenings. Additionally, engagement is higher on Thursdays and Fridays (source: bit.ly.blog). Trial and error will give you more information for your own business regarding the “best” times for your postings.

Post to Entertain and Informfacebook-for-online-business-tips

People use Facebook for a lot of different reasons—staying in touch and connecting with others, learning and being informed about new products and services that are available, and being entertained. But, we maintain that being entertained is an overall desire people have even when their goal is to be informed. This means that you need to make your posts not only meaningful but also entertaining in order to grab your audience’s attention and keep it.
Using pictures and videos is a great way to achieve this. Visual content has become a requirement for social media postings. Information from hubspot.com in the article “How to Create a Facebook Business Page” tells us that visual content is “40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.” One of the Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons on Facebook business pages is “Watch Video” because it is such a prevalent way to get content. Using both pre-recorded and “live” videos engages consumers and keeps your message in front of them. Using images and videos of your products is a great way to show your customers how to use them and why they need them in their life.

facebook-online-business-call-to-actionUse Call-to-Action Buttons

Be sure you give the consumer a reason to act and an easy way to do so – this is key and you can do this from your Facebook business page by using CTA buttons. Through the “Add a Button” option on your page you can select the CTA you want to create and the URL and/or existing content on your Facebook page you want to direct visitors to. This is extremely important in seizing on the initial interest people may have to your brand and products. Don’t just post and never ask the audience to do anything or assume they will go the extra step to find your website. Make it easy for them!
Optimize the information you publish about your website in the “About” section. Put your mission, your story, and a general description with descriptive copy. This gives your audience a feel for your business before they decide to like it.
You can also set up a “Shop” section on your Facebook business page in order to sell products directly.

Target Your Audience with Facebook Adsfacebook-advertising-online-business

Creating a Facebook ad is one of the best ways to introduce your online business to a targeted market. A Facebook ad promotes your page and it is easy to create. When you click the 3 dots at the top menu bar above a post, you can then select “Create Ad.” From this point, Facebook lets you start creating an ad from scratch based on your goals, like creating reach or generating traffic or even simply generating brand awareness.
Ads are exponentially more effective when you target them to certain audiences to whom you want to market. You can even segment individual page posts by gender, relationship status, educational status, age, location, language, or interests. You choose the amount of money you want to spend daily and the number of days the ad will go out. As with everything, this works best when you do it consistently. But, you will find your fans increase rapidly using Facebook ads!
By using these 4 tips for using Facebook to promote your online business and by being consistent, you will begin to build your brand and your fan base. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen if you are diligent and patient!

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