How Twitter can help your online sales and profits explode

Twitter is one of the most effective places to promote eBay product listings = possibly the most effective.

No doubt that explains why eBay has included a number of social networking icons inside each product listing, one designed to promote the listing to Twitter users. Those icons can be clicked by sellers and their visitors and buyers and help grow the product’s visibility on and outside of eBay.

But many critics suggest eBay’s buttons are too generic and don’t let sellers differentiate their listings from those for similar products on social networking sites.

Referencing Twitter, experts say a more effective approach for sellers could be to create and publish their own messages (‘tweets’) on Twitter, each one personalised to suit a specific product and its eBay listing.

Get it right, they say, and eBay sellers can see a 50% increase in sales.

That claim is supported by a study carried out recently by Twitter in conjunction with research company Millward Brown, concluding: “Whether they’re learning about a new product or on the brink of buying, shoppers rely on Twitter for information and advice.”

Similar findings apply to research by the JXT Group who say almost 70% of users are more likely to buy from a business they are following on Twitter than look elsewhere for the same or similar products.

Twitter is a community whose members share news and views and take part in discussions about various subjects, including products.

The site has more than a billion registered members, three hundred million of them active and using mobile devices. Last year, it was reported that almost one quarter of adults using the internet have a Twitter account, around 40% of them using Twitter on a daily basis.

Such figures suggest businesses not using Twitter as a marketing tool are missing out big time, even though benefits vary between different seller and product types.

Twitter is unlikely to benefit most people marketing rare antiques, collectibles or fine art on eBay, for example, whose most enthusiastic buyers perform regular searches on eBay.

But Twitter has much to offer sellers of mass market and well-known brand name goods in very competitive markets where even a slight increase in traffic can swing buying in their favour.

And so Twitter is definitely something most sellers should consider as a marketing tool – not just on eBay, but also on Amazon, Etsy and other platforms.

So let’s see what you need to know, bearing in mind you can supplement what you read today from a report about using social networking as a marketing tool planned for the next issue of eBay Confidential

Important: If you’re not already a subscriber to eBay Confidential, please consider signing up for a risk-free trial. Then if eBay Confidential isn’t all you want it to be and more, you can cancel your subscription and pay nothing.

Tips for getting started on Twitter…
– Most people using Twitter do so to find solutions to problems, not always to find products. By providing help and advice, sellers can build a following on Twitter and use tweets to direct traffic back to their listings on eBay and other ecommerce websites.

So people selling products to help cure acne and other skin complaints, or providing health supplements for people and pets, will find Twitter an effective place to promote their goods.

Answer questions, solve problems, and Twitter users will trust you and your products and buy from you in preference to rival sellers on and outside of eBay.

Much the same can be said about other online and social media methods of helping people find answers and solutions, such as Facebook and Yahoo Answers. There will be more discussion about similar sites, article directories and blogging platforms in my promised follow up feature in eBay Confidential.

Note: You must not link directly to eBay (and possibly most other paid-for marketing platforms) from a Twitter account or you could find your selling privileges suspended or face expulsion from some sites.

Instead, eBay recommends: “… the desired lead path is for a user to find you on Twitter, [and] click through to your web property and complete the click to eBay.

– Twitter can be used to provide support for buyers and answer questions for people who may be undecided about buying. Communicating through Twitter is usually faster than messaging potential buyers through eBay, as well as targeting a potentially much bigger audience.

– The mere fact a seller has an established social networking presence gives the business a professional air and suggests superior after-sales and back up services.  Twitter has a free guide to using their site for customer communications and after sales service – view it here.

– There are numerous promotional methods on Twitter – some free, others low cost – with a few being prohibitively expensive for small business owners.  Promotions can be used for sales on or outside of eBay and other high fee-charging marketing platforms and so cut selling overheads at those sites.

Learn more here – but do not spend any money on advertising until you’ve read my follow up article.

Twitter provides ‘Buy It Now’ buttons leading directly to several long-established ecommerce platforms.

Sadly, some direct sale options are currently unavailable outside the United States  -but if something works across The Pond, you can bet it won’t be long before it arrives in the UK.

So study what’s available to American sellers and be prepared to move fast when our turn comes.

Read more about one such option for Shopify by clicking on the link.

–  Avoid heavy selling on Twitter, and most other social networking sites, or you are more likely to alienate site members than build a massive entourage of potential buyers for your products.

Be helpful, be approachable, give subtle hints about your products and link to their sales pages on or outside of eBay.

– eBay’s affiliate network recommends Twitter as a means of earning commissions from promoting other people’s products on eBay.

However, the same advice applies to people selling their own products or using dropshipping as their prime product sourcing method, not only on eBay.

eBay’s partner network suggests: “Content is king. The type of content you create and share on Twitter is essential to your success.

“Ideally, the goal is to get people to click on links you’ve shared that bring them back to your website. You accomplish this by creating content of interest on your web properties and distribute those links via your Twitter account.

“That means you have to make sure there’s a constant flow of new and exciting things happening on your site.”

Tip: Remember you cannot link directly from Twitter to eBay, including its partner network and numerous other fee-charging marketing platforms.

– Twitter is a microblogging website much like any other, but where most outside blogs feature posts hundreds or several thousand words long, on Twitter they extend to a maximum 140 characters.

So there’s little space to make your posts stand out from the crowd, explaining why the most effective tweets – in selling terms, at least – feature eye-catching headlines and otherwise inaccessible information, offering frequently free and bonus incentives. And because they are short, most Twitter posts take minutes to write, compared to hours and possibly days for longer blog posts.

It’s those super important eye-catching Twitter posts we will talk about in an imminent article in eBay Confidential – and there will be lots of examples to help you apply similar techniques to your business on and outside of eBay.

So if you’re not already a subscriber, please consider taking out a no-cost, no-risk trial right here.

I promise not to let you down!

This article first appeared on Auction Genie. Read more and comment here