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Twitter + e-commerce = tweet-commerce

Blogs, Social software

Since we launched CheapTweet a few weeks ago, I’ve been immersed in Twitter and e-commerce, which I tell you as part apology for a lack of recent posts and part motivation for this particular post. So I’ve been thinking a lot about using Twitter for various e-commerce activities, something we might call tweet-commerce (to be clear, I didn’t invent this term or anything – I first heard Yuli Ziv from MyItThings use it and there’s a whole Twitter shopping site with the same name – but I like it).

GetElastic talked recently about the reasons brands should use Twitter and Blue Acorn has a nice writeup on how to get started using Twitter for e-commerce. There are tons of companies and brands on Twitter – there’s a good list here, and another here. Some are using Twitter well (see @wholefoods), and some are not (I won’t call any of those out, but I bet you’ve seen them).

But what I’ve noticed recently is how incredibly useful Twitter is for small brands and retailers. We’ve been interacting with a ton of Etsy and Artfire sellers on CheapTweet. Many of these run very small businesses, often part-time and out of their homes. They don’t have a lot of extra money to spend on advertising and promotion, so Twitter is a great, free way for them to build an audience and share news with customers. They can post links to their stores, announce sales, answer questions from customers and celebrate successes with a pretty big audience.

Recently, a Best Buy employee tweeted to Hayes that “big companies should act like small companies.” Neither Hayes nor I agree with that statement. People have very different expectations for big companies; they just can’t afford to act much like small companies. But on Twitter, I feel like small companies have the opportunity to act more like big companies. They can reach large groups of people, handle customer service issues quickly and professionally, build a lasting brand and just generally market themselves. Right now, Twitter is an equal-opportunity medium. Sure, the big guys can have more accounts run by more people, and they’ll probably have more followers, but in general, people interact with big brands and small brands on Twitter in the same ways.

So, if you run a smaller company and you’re not on Twitter, I really think you should get an account. Especially if you’re in retail – you’re missing out on a great opportunity to interact with existing customers and find lots of new ones! (PS – If you’re a retailer on Twitter, you should follow CheapTweet.)

Jenn @ December 19, 2008

4 Comments

  1. Twitter + e-commerce = tweet-commerce | Appozitegeist | kozmom December 19, 2008 @ 8:14 pm

    […] details: Twitter + e-commerce = tweet-commerce | Appozitegeist […]

  2. Mike Kunkle January 12, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

    Jenn,

    Interesting thoughts. Hmm. Tweet-commerce. Chalk this up to stupid things I shouldn’t admit, but I am a fan of integrity and transparency. We are new at Twitter. There, I said it. But we’re there, and in a brilliant stroke of part-fortune/part-genius, we met you and do now follow @CheapTweet. (Great idea and a great service.)

    Thanks for the resources listed here. We’re way behind on everything except fulfilling orders, which we stay up on :-), but we will get to everything you recommend.

    As a long-term senior corporate manager, I agree with you and Hayes. Big stodgy ol’ corporate America takes on some risk when venturing out into Tweetdom (okay, tweet-commerce). They might ameliorate some of that risk, however, by hiring a social media expert to guide their journey, or perhaps tapping some internal expertise with someone who is wise to our wired world. But I agree that the positioning, branding, marketing and tone must maintain a consistent feel with the rest of their image. Twitter levels the playing field quite a bit, but the big boys and girls still have a chance to do it right, because they usually have positioning, branding, marketing and tone.

    In contrast, a small business has a completely different opportunity and vantage point, but also some risk. Depending on their customer base and target market, the business can choose to present a fun image, or as suggested, they have a very intriguing chance to create a professional image beyond their small years or size.

    For me, the most important thing is that the decision (of which way to go) should be made purposefully, and be based on the marketing and brand strategy of the business. If the small business doesn’t have one, well, any road will take you there, and who knows where “there” is? It could wind up being great execution, befitting the online media vehicle, but be the road to nowhere. If the small business has the savvy to develop positioning, branding, marketing and tone – and understand the social media world, that’s where the real potential lies, in my opinion, and where they can rival the biggest challenger.

    For an interesting twist, see: http://offonatangent.blogspot.com/2008/11/comcast-customer-success-story-using.html. This is Steve Garfield’s blog and presents a great story about how Steve tweeted his way to a service resolution with Comcast and TiVO. So… an example of bigger players Twitting their way to success with customers.

    Thanks for provoking my tired brain, Jenn. Hope this adds some value.

    Mike Kunkle
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  3. This Week in Tweet-Commerce at CheapTweet Blog April 6, 2009 @ 9:54 pm

    […] We see it as part of our mission to help store owners use Twitter to its full potential and help deal hunters track down that great money-saver which stretches their dollars farther. With that, we’re introducing a new regular feature here on the CheapTweet blog to keep everyone informed about the goings on in Twitter-land in general and especially in the brave new world of Tweet-Commerce. […]

  4. oco ea June 27, 2017 @ 5:46 am

    Some truly good content on this website, thanks for contribution. “A liar should have a good memory.” by Quintilian.

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