Last year, Twitter announced that they would be releasing a feature that allows businesses to post tweets about products and services that include a « Buy Now » button. The button would include an image, description, and link to your payment processor. Snazzy.
The program has already started, but only a few companies have had the privilege to try the system out. It sounds like the program is going well with the initial testers, but I still think that more small businesses and online shops need to get their hands on it to really see how powerful it is.
That, of course, is the problem: you can’t access the Twitter Buy button for your online store right now, but I wanted to outline some of the ways this new button could help revolutionize your online business — so that you’re ready to get in the game as soon as it’s open to the wider public. The key is obviously to make more sales, and I truly believe that the Twitter Buy button is a way for smaller to mid-size businesses to compete with the big dogs. Let’s take a look at how the Twitter Buy button could revolutionize your online store.
1. Remove a Step From Your Checkout Process
Technically speaking, you could run a business with the Twitter Buy button without even owning your own website. If the button allows you to connect directly with a payment processor it would work like Amazon or eBay where some people simply create an account on one of those sites and start selling — without ever having to slog through the hassle of launching their own site.
The main advantage to using something like the Twitter Buy button is the fact that you can cut down on the steps it takes for people to buy items from your store. From the looks of it, this button can be used as a one-click feature wherein your followers can link credit cards to their profiles.
Since no one has to go out of their way to get to your website, this feature constitutes a huge advance for the user experience. You won’t have to worry about how your shopping cart is working.
Honestly, I assume some stores would transition most of their resources to Twitter and other social outlets if this ended up working well, since the maintenance is so low and your entire checkout is handled by Twitter. That’s a revolution.
2. Target Relevant People Who Don’t Follow You
This is a simple one, but it bears mentioning. Basically, the Twitter Buy button will give you the chance to target people who don’t even follow you on Twitter. All it would take is a small amount of money on your end. Twitter already has promoted tweets that can be a decent advertising strategy, so it only makes sense to pair those tweets with a direct link that closes the sale.
Yes, this would require a monetary investment but when taken as a segment of your entire advertising budget, it’s not so bad.
3. Bring Back Customers More Easily
It can be difficult to get people coming back to your site more than once. No one solution can eliminate that problem, but this button will make it easier to confront.
Since Twitter and Facebook are their own little communities, people return to these sites every single day. It’s difficult to convince a customer to return to your online store, because your store doesn’t have the entertainment and social appeal that Twitter offers.
With a Twitter Buy button you don’t really have to spend as much money working on customer retention. For example, you may have a chance to cut down your email marketing budget if Twitter is bringing back all the customers for you.
That’s awesome, because — as they say — money saved is money earned.
4. Connect With Relevant Trends
Every time you share something on Twitter you can use a hashtag to reach out to other people who might not follow you. For example, if you share a tweet about St. Patrick’s Day and include the hashtag #stpattys, other people searching for this hashtag could stumble on your tweet.
This is a valuable way to cross promote and dip into other customer bases, considering your regular tweets are only visible for the people following you.
With the Twitter Buy button, you can use these hashtags to improve your marketing efforts and push your button toward relevant groups. For example, let’s say you plan on selling a writing course for people just out of college. You could just share the Buy button with everyone currently following you. But you’d get an even wider reach by taking advantage of the more popular hashtags for writers and authors. After a little research, you’d probably realize that a solid hashtag for writers is #amwriting or something like that.
Regardless, this hashtag system gives you a unique chance to place your products in front of the people who matter. It’s another layer of targeted marketing to improve your sales.
5. Use Twitter to Test Ads
Every time you send out a tweet, you are really testing to see if that particular tweet is going to get shared by everyone who is following you. In a sense, it’s free testing to see how your social marketing is working.
After all, there’s no way to tell which of your posts are performing well until you test them out. Let’s say you send out ten tweets and you eventually see that two of them have more retweets and favorites than the others. This is the perfect type of testing, since you don’t have to pay for it.
Now, you can simply take that same messaging and slap a Buy button onto it. Obviously, you only want to choose messages that relate to the product you’re trying to sell, but typically small businesses should have no problem with this. The point is that you no longer have to spend money on complicated A/B Split testing tools, since Twitter does the work for you.
The platform details exactly how many people are interested in your message and you don’t get charged. Facebook actually embraces this model with its advertising program. Anyone can post a status. If the status performs really well for your business you probably want to turn around and use the same message as one of your ads. This way you can reach out to new customers and bring them in with an effective message.
Coda: A Caveat About Facebook Similarities
One huge problem with the Facebook ad program is that they really make it difficult for businesses to find exposure if the companies don’t pay for that exposure. It used to be that a small business could find a reasonable following and all of the followers would see their posts based on natural algorithms.
But things have changed because Facebook is attempting to monetize the platform a little further, and they realize that the easiest way to do this is by charging the companies who use Facebook.
Now, will a Buy button program make Twitter into a similar platform? I don’t think so, but it’s a little hard to tell. Twitter has stayed away from ads and promotions far longer than Facebook and Twitter never seems to modify the overall experience on Twitter.
The Twitter Buy button is similar to trends we’re seeing with quite a few social networks, including Facebook. The jury is still out as to how effective the buttons will be for the social networks and the stores trying to sell items with the buttons.
Let us know what you think about posting Buy Now buttons on your social platforms. Are you concerned it infringes on the more personal side of social media or is it the perfect targeted marketing scheme? Feel free to drop a line in the comments section below with your thoughts.
Image source: mkh marketing