Take advantage of the power of social media…and increase online sales

The continual rise of social media is a seemingly unstoppable force and unless you have been walking around with your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears for the past few years you will be more than aware that social media has become the place to be seen.

Digital marketing is right up there alongside good website copywriting and content when it comes to promoting your online business when selling products online from home! In fact, social media sites are such a phenomenon that they are now accessed by billions of people of all ages from all over the world every single day.

If you are new to social media, then first off, you should know that they are completely free to use and can be really great fun (and unfortunately quite addictive) as I discovered when I first opened my own accounts. Initially I started using sites like Facebook because my friends all had profiles and it seemed a sociable thing to do, but social media is in fact an extremely powerful business marketing tool and you should take advantage for business as well as social purposes.

Rather than simply using the sites on a personal basis for keeping in touch with friends and family, many businesses now ensure social media is at the heart of their marketing strategy.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have all seen a huge increase in active members with numbers now running in to the millions. There are plenty of social networking sites around, some well-known, others not so well-known, but what’s important here is that I believe that if you are not currently using sites like these to digitally market your products online, then you are missing out on a huge opportunity to drive traffic to your products, promote page views and ultimately increase your sales.

To be honest, this is a pretty big subject and so for the purpose of this post I will concentrate only on the Twitter site. My reasons for choosing Twitter are firstly because in my opinion it is one of the more business-y social media sites to use and secondly it has enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame, catapulted in to the spotlight due to it’s use by celebrities, sports personalities and such-like and so is extremely popular and a great place to start if you are new to all this. Please remember though that everything I tell you about here can be applied just as easily to Facebook, Linked In, Instagram and all the other sites – in fact, the more sites you join, the bigger your presence on the web and the more traffic you will send to your website and products.

Twitter will help increase your profits

Twitter is just one of many online social sites that are sometimes known as micro-blogs. Since it’s launch it has become one of the best known micro-blogging sites and attracts millions of people to the site who all send mini blog posts out to their followers at various times of the day whenever they feel like it or have something interesting to share.

These mini blogs are known as ‘tweets’ and can be written on any subject you like. You get 280 characters for each ‘tweet’ and so you are literally writing only a few sentences at a time. Most people use the service to send tweets out to their friends to let them know what they are up to, but you can use it very effectively to promote your business and products and you can have more than one account too, so if you sell within several niches or have several websites you can keep your tweets separate.

The reason that Twitter works so well is that each tweet you submit is like a complete little web page! Just like blog updates, search engines such as Google and Yahoo will look for relevant keywords as people search for the things they want on the web. So, Google will find your tweets just like any other information online and if they contain relevant information your tweets will appear in normal searches. Every time you tweet, it will be found by Google, just like a normal web-page or blog would be.

But the real key to using Twitter to increase your sales is to send out relevant tweets on a daily basis. If you sell on eBay or Amazon, they can include your product listing titles and a link to your actual products. Alternatively, you can simply tweet updates about your eBay shop, Amazon store, your brand or products. But, it’s vital that you don’t just jump in straight away and start posting multiple tweets a day all with links to your products as this will do you more harm than good. You will need to be a bit more subtle than that!

How it works

Twitter works with ‘followers’ and ‘following’. So, if you build up a lot of followers then many of those followers will be interested in whatever product it is that you are selling. To market really successfully on Twitter it’s absolutely vital that you build up your followers and to do this you should post interesting ‘tweets’ with a little about yourself and what you do. I am very careful to balance my social tweets with my marketing tweets so that my followers remain interested and keep following me. It also makes me ‘human’ and gives them an insight in to my life. What this does is establish you not only as an interesting person but also an expert on your product or in your niche – then you can gradually introduce tweets about your niche and finally tweets that link to your products or listings. You’ll find that your followers will be interested and will click your links and view your products.

By adding tweets that are interesting and relevant about your services or products, you are keeping your tweets current which is what your followers will want. But you must mix your marketing tweets with tweets about yourself and your interests to avoid constantly spamming your followers with product information. Get a good balance between the two and you will find that your followers will stay with you for the long term.

So, as I’ve said, it’s all about being subtle. Once you begin to introduce your products to your tweets, instead of saying something like: ‘I’m selling my 1978 Vintage Record Collection on eBay. Buy It Here’, you instead need to start off with some really subtle tweets about vintage records or similar to show you have an interest in this subject. Then later on you can add something along the lines of: ‘I have just uploaded some great new eBay items. Please take a look..’ and then add the link to your eBay shop or your Amazon listings.

This way you are not shouting at people and ordering them to look (and most people won’t look when you put it like that anyway), but you are saying ‘ok, I’m interested in the same subject as you, if you’d like to go and have a look at my stuff, here it is.’ Much more gentle and inviting!

This works especially well if you are selling within a niche that is not too generalised. For example, if you sell collectible items you will probably build up a lot of followers quite quickly who are all collectors themselves and who will be interested in what you are tweeting about and the items you can offer. You can also search for people who are in your specific target demographic and start following them – this way it’s likely that they will follow you back. Just go to twitter.com and search by typing in keywords that relate to the demographic that you are targeting. It’s very easy to follow people and if your posts are interesting and relevant, and they start following you, you will keep a good number this way.

Once you have established your Twitter identity, you can start to run further searches on the site for recent product or niche related posts and use these to your advantage too. For example, if you see that someone is looking to purchase the exact product that you are selling, you can use the @replies tool to send that person a message. This way, although you are directly asking someone to buy, it is done by way of a response to a tweet and this is totally acceptable.

Remember that even if that person doesn’t buy from you now, it’s pretty likely that they will start to follow you as they are now aware that you exist. So, if nothing else, you gain an extra follower which is good news.

Be patient

When you are using Twitter as part of your digital marketing business plan, you will need to give it a little time to work. It’s not going to happen overnight because Twitter results take a little while to build up and it should always be a long-term strategy of yours. You will definitely need to make building up your followers a priority and ensure that you are willing to tweet regularly.

If you start to use Twitter to advertise your products you must follow it through because there is nothing worse than sporadic posts on a Twitter account. Especially for those followers who are really, genuinely interested in your products and what you have got to share with them. You’ll end up losing those followers and have to start from scratch, so you should ensure that your Twitter marketing efforts are always strong.

So, just to recap:

  • Send social tweets first.
  • Start to introduce general tweets about your niche and your product
  • Introduce tweets that link directly to your website or product listings.
  • Search Twitter for other members interested in your products and message them via the @replies tool.
  • Tweet regularly, remain interesting and current and don’t spam!

Try it – you’ll see the results for yourself!