Part of my duties are to have my finger on the pulse of the social media landscape. Day in and day out, I see online stores using Twitter and failing miserably. In fact, you are driving away potential business!

I want to outline ways you can guarantee failure by using Twitter


1. Install a script that automatically updates Twitter when you add products to your store. This is GREAT! When I add items to my online store it will spam my Twitter. Customers will love it, especially when I add a ton of products!

Wrong! It’s fantastic to let customers know of new products in your store, but by using Twitter to spam each and every time you add a product, you are going to drive away any customer from following you on Twitter as well as alienate your Twitter feed and have it look totally useless.

The right way to do this is to practice good common sense. When you run a big promotion on a product, or get in stock something that is popular/has been sold out, then tweet about it. If you don’t have something to say about a product beyond “hey, I sell this!”. then don’t say it at all.

2. Install a script that automatically updates Twitter when customers add a product to their cart. Even better! Potential customers will see that others are adding products to their cart and feel inclined to check out my store and buy from me. Its like peer pressure marketing!

Wrong! Simply put, no one cares what other people are buying from you. When you go to Best Buy, do you make it a point to check out everyone’s shopping cart and then base your buying decision on what is in there? Of course you do not.

The right way to do this is to not install the script at all.

3. Post periodically throughout the day and only mention items I sell, in every post.  Every Twitter post should be a chance to advertise my products. Why waste time typing up something if I’m not going to use it as an opportunity to hock my wares.

Wrong!  Your Twitter is a chance for you to communicate with your customers and potential customers. How would you like it, if you walked into a store and started talking with an employee and his only response was “Here buy this!”. I imagine you would leave rather quickly. Once again, common sense should be your best friend here. Use your twitter to communicate, make friends, discuss your products and when its appropriate, post about something you sell.

4. Don’t bother posting anything of value. Simply retweet other posts, spam ads, or just post the same thing all the time. I’m busy, that would be great! If my online store has a Twitter, thats good enough to get the mystical Google juice, right? I heard I should have a Twitter account, and I do, so I’m good to go!

Wrong. Let me say that again, wrong! A lot of people hear an acronym here, a buzzword there and don’t bother doing the research into what it is. They hear they should have it, so they get it. This is going to hurt you in the long run because you and your online store will look like a train wreck when compared to the competition.

If you’re going to use Twitter, then use it appropriately. Its a way for you to communicate with your competitor’s clients, customers, and build a following. Here’s some things to remember:

  • Use a program like Tweetdeck. Use the Search function to run search columns for your products, keywords, or competitors. Comment frequently to people that are posting, but only if you have something to say.
  • Look at competitors. See how they are using Twitter to communicate with their customers.
  • Before you post anything, read, look around, get to understand what Twitter is. If you don’t know what Twitter is, does, or how it can help your company, then you have no business having one.