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While there’s nothing new in using social media platforms like LinkedIn to promote your b2b ecommerce business and drive traffic to your site, Twitter is still a bit of an enigma for many companies. Yet it is a powerful and flexible marketing tool that can be used in multiple ways to support a range of different business objectives.

Unlike social networking sites such as LinkedIn or Facebook, Twitter is more of a news and information sharing service – a signpost to interesting content and an opportunity to start or develop a relationship. This is part one of some thoughts on how to leverage Twitter’s capabilities as part of your b2b ecommerce marketing plans.

Compose a profile that communicates your brand
When you set up your profile, choose a username (or handle) that’s your business name, or that connects with it in some way – and remember you can only use 15 characters. The other components of your profile should clearly communicate the essence of your business and the key characteristics of your brand.

Your bio, for example, should include a link to your website and convey in 160 characters what your business does and why it’s different. Cover images need to reflect the look and feel of your brand, while your avatar could be your company logo.

Bring Twitter into your ecommerce website
You can integrate Twitter with your website by embedding your Tweets or by using the Twitter share button and Click to Tweet button. Site visitors who see your live Tweets will be more likely to follow you if they value the quality of your posts and are interested in the content you link to.

Look before you Tweet
If you’re using Twitter as a b2b marketing tool, it’s best to look around and see what other people are saying about your company and what your competitors are Tweeting about before you put fingers to the keyboard. You can then make sure your messages are current, relevant, address any customer issues or are capitalising on opportunities.

Follow your competitors to keep up-to-date-with their conversations and use Twitter search tools or platforms like Hootsuite to search for mentions of your own company, products and services.twitter2

Engage with the conversation
Always reply promptly to Tweets about your business. You can deal with different scenarios in different ways – Retweet (RT), Like and be gracious about positive comments, while politely and constructively address any negative issues.

Retweeting other people’s posts also means they’re more likely to RT your messages. And when you’re Tweeting about specific content that’s particularly relevant to someone, include their username to be more personal and build credibility.

Tweet regularly – and keep them short
The transient nature of Tweets means you can post more often than on other social channels without followers feeling bombarded or getting bored. Perhaps start with one Tweet a day and then experiment to see what frequency gets you the best results. There are plenty of analytics platforms out there to help you monitor performance, including Twitter’s own.

Remember, you can only use 140 characters, but it’s best to stay 10-15% below this to allow for comments on any RTs. Include a varied range of media types in your posts – messages that have links, pictures, gifs, and videos get more Retweets.

Drive traffic to your ecommerce site using Twitter Cards
With Twitter Cards, you can attach rich photos, videos and media experiences to Tweets that drive traffic to your website. Simply add a few lines of HTML to your webpage, and users who Tweet links to your content will have a Card added to the Tweet that’s visible to all of their followers.

Establish a structured programme of Tweets
Set up and follow a daily calendar for your Tweets so that posts focus on consistent topics at certain times. For example, one day for special offers, a day for industry insight and a day for news about your business.

Sharing curated content can work just as well as original material if it’s interesting, relevant or entertaining for your followers. And be sure to share any links to positive stories about your business that you find in the media – because it could get you more coverage in the future.

Look out for more tips on using Twitter to support your b2b ecommerce business in part two…

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