Twitter ideas for retailers connecting with customersRetailers use Twitter to connect with customers, listen to feedback and share ideas. When you start using Twitter, the first two things you want to do is listen and respond. Find out what people are saying about your retail store and its competitors.

If someone mentions your store, respond as soon as you can – even if you don’t have an answer.  The customer will appreciate the acknowledgement and will know that you’re looking into the suggestion, problem or comment.

The other important thing to pay attention to is how much you promote your retail store. Doing it too much can hurt your social media efforts. Effective Twitter users focus on building relationships and helping others. They share valuable information that isn’t self-serving. Refer to Social Networking Done Wrong  for a few rules of thumb about how often to tweet self-serving updates.

Customer service

  1. Thank customers.
  2. Answer customer questions.
  3. Reply to customer complaints as soon as possible — even if you don’t have an answer. Tweet “We’re looking into it and will get back with you.” If your store made a mistake, apologize.
  4. Ask for suggestions for store inventory.
  5. Ask for feedback on customer service.
  6. Thank people for reviews.
  7. Ask for music and decor recommendations if you play music in the store or decorate it for special occasions.

Helpful information

  1. Share tips for using the products you sell.
  2. Share general, non-product tips. For example, a clothing retailer can give advice on pant and top parings by color or design.)
  3. Link to posted photos of people using your store’s products.
  4. Ask for suggestions related to your store’s types of products. For example, if your store sells cookware and kitchen gadgets, ask how people have used a food mill or a coffee grinder.
  5. Use one or two hashtags in some tweets, such as #dallas (retail store city) #homedepot #fashion #plants (product type) #chicagomacys (city and retailer’s name) #deal #holidayname.

Humanize your retail store

  1. Talk about causes you support.
  2. Tell the story behind the decor in your store.
  3. Tell people about an employee’s upcoming birthday and to wish the employee “Happy birthday!”
  4. Share stories and quotes heard in the store.
  5. Share customer experiences with photos. (Note: Ask the customer for permission first.)
  6. Post photos of employees.

Social network integration

  1. Mention that customers can get specials for checking in on Facebook or Foursquare.
  2. Ask for Facebook page “Likes” to get early notice of future sales and events.
  3. Announce a contest that encourages customers to share photos of experience or products they bought in your store. Use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or another similar source for photos.
  4. Set up a business card bowl by the cash register with a sign requesting Twitter IDs.
  5. Link to a video tour of your retail store.
  6. Let people know where to subscribe for email updates with coupons, announcements and events.
  7. Add your store’s Twitter ID in emails, website, newsletters, pamphlets and ads.

Retail store updates

  1. Post newsworthy items related to your industry or business.
  2. Follow up to customer feedback with an invitation to email or call you for more details.
  3. Reveal new product items. Build up anticipation before making the official announcement. For example, a candle shop gives hints about its new candle scent for people to guess.
  4. Share where people can find coupons.
  5. Post a secret word that gets a discount or free item for the day.
  6. Post upcoming special events taking place in your store.
  7. Announce events or locations outside of your store that an employee will attend.
  8. Share photos of products and product displays, especially seasonal merchandise.
  9. Hold a trivia contest where the winner gets something free. Questions can be about your store or the products you sell.

General tweets

  1. Announce free events in your city.
  2. Mention special days, such as “October 23rd is Canned Food Day. We’re donating canned food to XYZ Pantry. Drop ‘em off at the store this week for a freebie.”
  3. Post about the current season and holidays along with a tip. “#fall allergy season is here. What tips do you have for keeping allergies in check?”
  4. Promote others. For example, your store is in a shopping strip. Promote another store in the strip. Maybe they have an event coming up that is worth sharing.
  5. Ask general questions.

Most importantly, make sure your employees are aware of any deals you offer on Twitter. If a customer approaches an employee with the special word of the day and the employee is clueless, it will reflect poorly on your store’s image.

What other ways can a retail store use Twitter to connect with customers?