E-Tailers: This Holiday Season Use Facebook and Twitter as Your Online MallNovember 12th, 2009 | Online & Small Business Resources,Small Business,Small Business Tips,Social Media | 2 Comments »
Most people can’t stand the malls around the holidays. Too many people and too little parking spaces help keep shoppers away from the malls not only on Black Friday but throughout the holiday season. Increasingly where have some of these shoppers turned for their holiday shopping instead of going to the mall? Well with the mass of online shopping that gets going now on Cyber Monday and continues through the holidays, online shopping has created a great alternative to those people who want to avoid the crowds.
So what is different this year than previous years when it comes to online shopping and targeting these shoppers for our online store? Unlike last year, many of the online shoppers now are on Twitter and Facebook and other social media and networking sites. This creates a great opportunity for e-retailers and their online stores. But you have to have a strategy and be relentless about executing on that strategy to take advantage of this new trend. Here are some helpful tips to get you going so you can turn all those shoppers that are using Twitter, Facebook and other sites into paying customers.
1. Join and Listen. If you are not already on Twitter and Facebook, join these sites or the social networking sites where your customers and potential customers are at. Once you join, start actively listening to conversations on these sites. The better you listen the more effective this type of social customer research will be for your small business.
2. Use Search Terms. Based on your research, use Twitter and Facebook to try to set up search terms (especially with Twitter) that relate to both your business and products that you sell. TweetDeck is a tool that you can use for your business to set up and track search terms across all conversations that are on Twitter. It is a really powerful tool. So for example, if you sell rugs at PlazaRugs.com like a former colleague of mine Andy Ketter you would want to set up in TweetDeck search columns related to “rugs” and maybe even certain brand name rugs. This will help you track the conversations that are going on that may relate to your product or service that your business offers.
3. Quickly Act on Mentions. The key to using Twitter and Facebook effectively here is that when someone mentions one of your search terms (i.e. products/services) during a conversation that occurs in the greater community on Twitter, Facebook or another site, you act quickly to join the conversation and even make contact with that person inquiring about a product you may carry or service you perform. Once you make contact with that person by sending a tweet to them, you can engage in a conversation with someone in the online mall. You can even try to recommend your product or service if the shopper is inquiring on Twitter or Facebook about who sells a particular product that is similar to yours.
4. How it plays out. The best way to demonstrate this is through an example. So if your online store sells any and all types of T-shirts related to beautiful Cleveland, Ohio, you can try search terms that relate to “Cleveland”, T-Shirts”, and “Funny T-Shirts.” So when someone in a Twitter conversation tweets, “I am looking for a funny t-shirt.” or when someone on Facebook updates their status and says “Wish I could find a funny t-shirt about my dad’s hometown in Cleveland.”, you can join the conversation and casually (now don’t be too pushy) suggest that they check out your store for a t-shirt that has a picture of the year Cleveland Browns won the Super Bowl…..that is funny because it never happened and will likely never happen in any Cleveland fans’ lifetime. Or maybe you sell them a picture of when the Cuyahoga River caught on fire just outside of Cleveland…
So there you have it. Start using Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites this holiday season so you can be in the right place at the right time in the online mall. In the end the sheer volume of shoppers who are in the online mall on Twitter and Facebook will present a unique sales opportunity this holiday season for your store that did not exist last year. You just need to have the tools set up so you can a) know where your potential customers are at; b) quickly act when these leads suggest in their online conversations interest in products or services you offer; and c) turning your interactions with these leads into holiday sales!
Tell us how you plan to use Twitter and Facebook this holiday season for your business.