Dear Dr. pROfIt: Why Doesn’t Twitter Work?
Dear Dr. pROfIt: Like so many marketers, we're enthralled with social media. It just seems like we should be able to use this channel to encourage our customers to purchase from us. We started a Twitter feed 18 months ago — we announce discounts and promotions, link to articles that we write on our blog, etc. And for all of our efforts, we only have 374 followers. Sales from Twitter and our blog represent only 0.3 percent of our total annual sales. Are there folks out there who are successful using Twitter? If so, what best practices are they employing to increase return on investment?
Dr. pROfIt: You’ve asked a wise question: What are the best practices for generating sales using Twitter? Sometimes we need to frame questions a different way. Maybe the question needs to be, “Is Twitter a viable way for brands to generate sales?”
I believe Twitter is viable as a personal branding tool. If you're an aspiring musician, there's no reason that you can’t use Twitter to reach out to your audience and have a relationship. Basically, Twitter is an extension of the lyrics and music that cause fans to follow a musician.
Now pretend you're in charge of social media marketing at Costco. Why do consumers shop at Costco? Maybe they like the lowest possible price on an LCD television; can make use of four pounds of salmon; or need ink-jet cartridges at a cheap price.
If Costco were to use Twitter to communicate things consumers already knew, then Twitter has very little use. Consumers already know that ink-jet cartridges are cheap! They may already receive coupons in the mail.
Conversely, if Costco uses Twitter to link to facts and figures that are of no use to consumers, then Twitter won’t work as a sales channel.
Finally, if Costco uses Twitter to try to have one-to-one relationships with consumers, they may not want that either. They might just want to walk out of Costco with a shopping cart full of low-priced commodities!
In other words, in order for Twitter, Facebook or any other social media platform to work for your business, you need to understand what it is that your customers want. If you sell apparel to 58-year-old women, they probably don’t want to have a relationship with your brand via Twitter. If you're an artist who sells music directly to your fans, Twitter may be an excellent sales channel. Always understand what your customers want, then decide whether social media is a way for you to extend the customer relationship.