Definition: Twitter is an online social networking site that allows its users to bra 140-character messages (tweets). By choosing to follow the tweets sent out by other users, you create a feed of tweets on your home page, which displays all followed tweets with the newest tweets at the top. It provides an excellent mechanism for an online business to keep its audience informed about relevant company developments and to keep track of industry news and trends.

Twitter has a massive audience

Twitter was launched in July of 2006. By 2012, it had already grown to over 100 million users. By 2015, it had surged to 500 million users, making it one of the largest social media sites on the Web. Twitter gives businesses a medium of communication with a plethora of potential clients.

Twitter is accessible by multiple means, including direct website interface, SMS messaging, and numerous mobile apps. In just a minute or two, a user can tweet from virtually anywhere on the planet using nearly any web-connected device in existence.

Twitter basics: what retailers need to know about marketing on Twitter

  • Tweets are public by default but can be restricted to followers only if desired.
  • Twitter Listsallow you to follow whole lists of authors rather than just individuals.
  • Posts can be grouped together according to topic underneath a hashtag affixed to a word/phrase.
  • To mention/reply to other users, you enter the @ sign followed by their username.
  • The retweet buttonallows you to share others' tweets on your own feed.
  • You can push the like button on individual tweets.
  • Trending topicsare popular subjects based on hashtag volume, indicated on the Twitter sidebar and homepage

How online retailers grow and leverage their Twitter following

Twitter can be used as both a short and long-term sales tool: between laying the foundation for brand equity and directly generating sales, the social platform is a worthwhile investment when executed well. Here are some starting points and best practices for maximizing your Twitter following:

  • Tweet out industry news and promote thought leadership efforts to help establish a business as an topical expert
  • Embed hyperlinks into tweets to increase views and engagement among followers
  • Send direct messages (DMs) to followers, offering promotional deals, alerting them of new product releases, or giving away free samples.
  • Use as a customer support medium, thanking them for positive tweets and suggesting solutions when they send you negative tweets.
  • Gain insights into your target market by seeing which products and services related to your industry are trending nationally or locally.
  • Promote blog and informational content


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