/ The rise of microblogging
...how to get your brand twittering
/ Tweeting, twiterati, tweetdeck...it sounds like nonsense!
...getting to grips with the basics and what twittering is about.
The online retail landscape is changing and not just because of the economic Under the hood
downturn. There has been a mentality shift in customers from passive to active
consumers of other’s people’s information. Customers increasingly expect Twitter is a text based information service enabling you to send updates via
dialogue from the brands they like and want to receive information when and online & mobile devices to your network of followers. What is a follower? It is
where they want. This demands an understanding of your customers’ social someone who has chosen to receive your updates to their Twitter newsfeed.
networks and the tools that communicate with them. Twitter is just one tool When they find you, they simply click on a “follow” link and will receive your
that enables companies to connect with a wider online audience. updates to their Twitter homepage.
Launched in 2006, Twitter is now the mot du jour. It is a tech’s must have As for the twitterati, that is the wonderful name given to the community using
prodigal child. Popularised by the likes of Stephen Fry and Jonathan Ross, the Twitter. With an increasing amount of information being shared online via
world is waking up to the latest communication tool. Twitter applications, the question to ask yourself is “can I use this to help build
my online community?”
Additional Twitter terms explained:
Sending information updates of up
to 140 characters to your followers
An application that enables you
to manage your Twitter updates
& followers on one dashboard to
The act of forwarding a tweet that
you want to share whilst giving
credit to the originator
Source: Hitwise chart from Econsultancy blog post by Chris Lake on 21/01/09
Is this another social network? You can uses tools like Mr Tweet to help identify relevant people on Twitter
to either follow or influence. The objective is to attract as many interested
For starters, it is not Facebook. Don’t think profile building, think buzz people as possible to follow you so that your updates are visible to a wide
marketing. Too much jargon? Ok, let’s break it down to the basics. audience. Provided your updates are relevant & helpful, there is then a strong
viral effect as people share your content with other people in their networks.
Social networking sites require you to create a profile and build content with
posts, photos, video & other applications. There is a strong lifestyle element. Another benefit for companies is the ability to highlight new content from
Buzz marketing is about getting people excited by what you have to say and your website to your followers. Whether you write a blog or have a “what’s
giving them a reason to share your content with other people. Yes, social new” section, you can embed links in your Twitter posts to drive people to
network profiles can achieve this but Twitter is more direct. your website to access and absorb content. This is a great way to increase
traffic to your website.
At the most basic level, Twitter is a way to tell people what is happening in your
life with no further interaction. If you want to use it more intelligently, you can Interestingly, you are restricted to 140 characters per tweet. This ensures that
engage with like minded people, post replies to interesting threads, retweet people focus on what is really important and information can be consumed in
posts that you want to share with your followers and send direct messages to bite size chunks.
create one-on-one dialogue.
What do e-inbusiness use Twitter for?
/ Posting company updates
/ Following industry thought leaders
/ Researching social trends
/ Posting Client updates
/ Highlighting new blog updates
/ That’s not for me!
...understanding relevance to your brand.
There are a lot of negative comments about the relevance of Twitter: “It’s just Opinion is divided on whether Twitter should be used as a sales channel.
a fad and nobody really takes it seriously” and “Nobody would Twitter if they Some twitterers argue that is not the ethos of Twitter and that communication
had a strong sense of identity”, the latter of which was actually posted as a must not be sales led. However, Dell has proven that Twitter can be a hugely
Twitter update with no sense of irony. effective sales channel. Using their outlet account they sold over $1million
worth of discount product purely via Twitter updates.
If this was true, why would the CEO of Zappos be using Twitter daily to engage
with a network of 126,222 followers? When asked about the impact of Twitter
on his eCommerce website, Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos said, “We don’t really
measure it; it’s just another relationship building tool.
It is true that the leading brands on Twitter are primarily from the US and the
UK is being slightly more reticent. However, some early adopters are already
treading water and exploring the potential. It is no surprise to learn that ASOS
is one of these.
Understanding relevance to your brand is about learning. The only way to learn
is to embrace Twitter and start communicating. As long as you can commit the
time & effort to regularly updating your account with new tweets, there is no The Conran Shop have taken their first step into the world of Twitter and
reason it can’t be beneficial for you. although early days, a great example of seeing a leading brand embrace
Questions to ask yourself before starting:
/ What do I want to talk to people about?
/ What would my customers be interested in?
/ How can I learn from using Twitter?
/ Who is doing this well and what can I learn from them?
/ How can I link this back to my website?
/ How do I promote myself without using Twitter purely as a sales channel?
/ How do I position this internally so people get it?
/ Is anybody out there?
...looking at how major retail brands are currently using Twitter to engage their audiences.
Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, is prolific on Twitter. He uses it to engage with his
customers and to communicate. His updates are both personal & business.
Amongst the general chat there are some useful snippets of info about Zappos
products and service.
Jennifer Cisney, Kodak’s Chief Blogger, is a great example of linking Twitter
to your other online channels. For Valentine’s Day, Jennifer offered ideas for
photo projects and posted a link to her corporate blog. The blog contained
creative ideas for Valentine’s Day that you could make yourself. The blog then
deep linked into the Tips and Projects Centre on the Kodak website.
On being asked why Kodak uses Twitter, Jennifer’s response echoed the
thoughts of Tony Hsieh: “Talking directly with customers and potential
customers, strengthening the brand and engaging in the conversation”
Penguin Books Wiggly Wigglers
Penguin recognises that there is a strong social element to reading and an Wiggly Wigglers demonstrates a good understanding of social media. As well
emotional attachment to books. The tone of their communication is relaxed as their Facebook fan page, Heather Gorringe (Chief Wiggler) uses Twitter to
and friendly, coffee shop style. You can imagine sitting down in Starbucks (also talk to her community about all things green and farming related. Heather has
on Twitter) to discuss the latest book over a cup of coffee. a genuine passion for gardening & farming and posts a lot of interesting links
A clever touch saw the Penguin UK tweeter welcoming Penguin US to Twitter – to help inform her followers.
a great way to extend awareness of Penguin’s presence on Twitter.
/ Twitter on.
...where is this going, what is the potential and what is the market?
The question on everyone’s lips is, The potential is to develop an engaged network of brand advocates who are
“Will this be just another fad, gone within 2 years?” actively interested in learning more about your brand and what you stand for.
You can influence opinions and help deliver a positive reputation online.
There is no definitive answer. Nobody knows. Not even Nostredamus predicted
this one. What you need to understand is the context within which Twitter is You can also monitor conversations. Using Twitter search tools you can
used and then apply this to your brand and your customers to determine its monitor references to your company and check what people are saying. You
relevance. can respond instantly to anything negative. You can pick up on customer
annoyance or upset and react positively to delight them.
Twitter now boasts 6million users, which is nothing compared to the behemoth
Facebook (150million users worldwide) but the growth is incredible – over Imagine the power of addressing a customer’s annoyance instantly and
1000% in the past 12 months. Twitter’s most famous son is none other than showing them that your company genuinely cares about customer service.
Barack Obama who has amassed 265,970 followers (more by the time you Now think of the benefits if your competitors are not doing this.
read this). If a man can use Twitter to help secure the presidency of the most
powerful nation in the world, shouldn’t we be taking note? Twitter, in its current guise, is primarily a customer engagement and brand
monitoring tool. Building engaged communities online will become one of the
key success factors for retail in 2009 as customer demand increases. There is
revenue potential and Dell has proven this with its Outlet Twitter account. The
challenge is to find the right audience and message.
Whether or not Twitter will evolve to offer an ROI model remains to be seen
but offline marketers have long understood the relevance of brand awareness.
/ Show me the money.
...understanding the investment and whether this is an ROI thing at all.
The recommendation is not to evaluate Twitter from an ROI perspective. That misses the point. Twitter can be part of your overall customer engagement strategy online.
If your presence on Twitter serves only to deliver excellent customer service and engage a wider audience with your brand, is that such a bad thing? If that engagement
then drives 100 new customers to your website, would you be happy?
Don’t use Twitter to jump on the “me too” bandwagon. Use it if you believe it can be a positive communication tool and make sure you take it seriously. Success comes
from giving your followers a reason to pay attention, whether that is a practical or emotional one. You have to be passionate about social media to make it work. A lack
of interest will send the tumble weed rolling and your follower base will wither.
If you need some trace of direct impact from your Twitter presence, then use on-site data capture to ask your visitors how they find out about your website. List Twitter
as an option. You could also add a quick survey to your homepage asking customers if they use your Twitter feed.
/ Focus on Twitter at e-inbusiness
At e-inbusiness we use Twitter to stay up-to-date with the latest industry
trends as well as sharing information about our company. We don’t post
messages unless we think they add value to our followers or would be of
general interest. We have found Twitter to be an excellent communication
/ Use a URL shortening tool to get the most from your 140 characters
/ Install Tweetdeck to make it easier to manage communication
/ Use Mr Tweet to identify useful contacts
/ Use Twitter search tools to monitor brand conversations
/ Respond to any negative comments about you and your brand
/ Reinforce positive comments
/ Make sure you check your “@replies” folder and respond to comments
/ Always check your direct messages and respond when necessary
/ Make your tweets interesting – don’t just sell at people
/ Retweet interesting posts that you have discovered
/ Be human and ask questions – there is more to you than your business
For further details and examples of e-inbusiness using social media visit;
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesgurd
/ About e-inbusiness.
e-inbusiness delivers market leading eCommerce and eMarketing solutions that maximise revenue. Working with our clients, we focus on delivering an engaging online
user experience, powered by cutting edge technology, that drives up sales, increases turnover and delivers maximum ROI.
Our ten years of proactive eCommerce research and development has enabled us to give online businesses the flexible, scalable, functionality-rich technology platform
that they need. Built on the world’s leading Microsoft Commerce Server 2007, the platform delivers the power and performance required to manage any volume of
traffic or online sales.
Our highly experienced eMarketing team designs and delivers integrated SEO, PPC, Social Media, Email and Viral Marketing strategies along with a Web Analytics and
online merchandising consultancy service to maximise online revenue opportunities and deliver measurable results.
Harrods, New Look, Radley, Farrow & Ball, The Conran Shop are just some of the leading UK retailers who currently partner with e-inbusiness.
For more information about how e-inbusiness can help you sell more online please call 0845 863 0520,
email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.e-inbusiness.co.uk