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The Ultimate Guide to X (formerly Twitter) for eCommerce

Pulling in over 220 million daily users and $3.4 billion in revenue — much of which came from ad sales — X (formerly Twitter) is a social media titan. But when it comes to driving eCommerce sales, it’s still a relatively untapped opportunity. This is fantastic news if you’re scaling an online store, especially as the eCommerce industry becomes more competitive.

In this post, we’ll explore how you can capitalize on X to secure an online selling advantage and catapult your eCommerce business to new heights.

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3 Ways X can help you exceed business goals

Whether it’s making your brand a household name or building a large product catalog, chances are you’re searching for the next great idea to give your business a competitive edge. X may be the avenue that helps you achieve your ambitions and crush your targets.

1. Drive more engagement

Securing more leads is essential to improve your close rate. That starts with healthy engagement rates on your marketing content to spur shoppers to learn more. As prospects and customers talk about your brand, that word-of-mouth marketing extends your business reach, which creates a continuous loop of brand discovery and more people kick-starting their buyer’s journey.

2. Expand to new consumer bases

Few things compare to the thrill of discovering a new, profitable audience. A fresh revenue stream can not only skyrocket growth but also find your next winning product and increase your business’s market share.

Further, if you partner with influencers, you can tap into even more sub-niches. For example, if you sell direct to consumer (DTC), you can find more B2B clients by working with influencers in the space since 82% of B2B content creators use the platform.

3. Build a noticeable brand voice

One of X’s greatest advantages is it allows you to have an active voice about topics that surpasses other social media platforms. As you share your brand personality, knowledge, and advice, you cultivate a credibility that transforms you into the go-to authority in your niche and attracts like-minded individuals.

Take Walmart, for example: Scroll through their X profile and you’ll instantly notice their fun, upbeat branding. Walmart also positions themselves as a customer-centric company by highlighting help information and sharing details on panel discussions about categories like fashion and baby care.

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How to use X to explode eCommerce growth

To realize X’s full potential for your eCommerce business’s benefit, it’s vital you have the know-how, resources, and creativity. We’ve got you covered on the knowledge front. Let’s dive into some steps you can take to maximize your marketing efforts on X.

Polish your profile

Your profile serves as your business’ online real estate and is one of the first places potential customers will land, so it needs to leave a memorable impression. Hone the following elements to optimize your profile:

  • Profile picture: Showcase your company logo or a photo of your most popular item to make your brand instantly recognizable.
  • Bio: Write a killer brand description highlighting your USP, shout out your current product drops, or let customers know about exciting initiatives you have in store.
  • Relevant link: Add a link to your best-selling item, about us page, or top-performing landing page. Split test and change your link according to your running promos and ads.
  • Community: Invest in building a following among your target audience. Reach out to people who fit your buyer personas, be active in your comments sections, and follow influential personalities to build a network.
  • Competitor analysis: Check who your competitors are following for guidance on who to follow and engage with, as well as what topics to cover.

Although a verified account isn’t a must, a Premium account does bring some attractive benefits, like the ability to edit your posts and a suite of tools to engage with customers. At $3 a month, it’s also a small investment for that blue check on your profile and its accompanying perks.

Research relevant keywords and hashtags

Hashtags are critical for drawing more eyes to your X content. Build a list of broad keywords to start your search and use a hashtag research tool like Sprout Social or Agorapulse to hone in on specific strings. When generating hashtag ideas, consider:

  • Trending topics and pop culture
  • Words shoppers use to describe your products
  • Words customers employ to explain the issues your items solve

If you want to foster a sense of community, support a cause, or create a buzz around a launch, craft a branded hashtag. For example, the makeup brand NARS Cosmetics capitalizes on a clever play on words to build their community under the hashtag #NARSissist.

Develop engaging content

Your X feed offers a ripe opportunity to stand out and shine through entertaining, educating, and inspiring your audience. Make your content the star of the show by establishing a publication calendar and scheduling posts so you stay consistent and build momentum with the platform’s algorithms. Here are some tips to fill your timeline with awe-inspiring content:

  • Give useful tips and tricks and make bold statements. Most X users appreciate brands that stand for something, rather than being fence-sitters.
  • Blend fun content with inspiring imagery. Take a page from Netflix — they share memes and jokes alongside video teasers and engage with fan questions.
  • Share user-generated content to show off your product’s best features and how they’ve benefited your customers.
  • Mix in images, videos, and links from other content creators.
  • Repurpose content from other social channels.
  • Work with influencers to drive awareness. Test different storylines, influencer audience sizes, and styles to branch out into new markets and attract different customer types.

Work the X chat for more conversions

Use X’s direct messaging feature to get to know your audience and build rapport. For example, if you gain a new follower, you could thank them by offering a discount code and sharing that you appreciate their support. Keep your communications short, light, and relevant to avoid coming off as a spammer, sales-y, or intrusive.

Keep in mind, though, that X no longer automatically enables this feature; you’ll either have to follow that user, or they’ll need a Verified profile and choose to opt in to receive direct messages from anyone. However, social media management programs like Hootsuite and Sprout Social will manage this for you.

Take advantage of X shopping features

X has a few eCommerce functions you can experiment with to find the best fit for your brand. Choose a tool or two from the following list to kick-start your selling journey on the platform.

Shop Spotlight (previously the Shop Module)

Capitalize on this dedicated carousel to showcase products on your X profile. Shoppers can scroll through content and click on photos, allowing you to spotlight and drive traffic to specific items.

However, you’ll need a Professional account to be eligible to use this feature. You’ll also have to complete your account and attach your website, add clear return and refund information, and have a business that’s registered in the United States.

Formerly, Twitter let brands showcase up to five products on their profile. Today, it’s restricted to your address and one or two items. Some accounts still have the full five-product carousel, but X has clarified this is available only to a limited number of account holders.

Live Shopping

Be real with your shopping experience by hosting a live shopping event. X will house the photos, details, and links to the showcased products under the video for easy shopper access. The platform also has engagement-boosting features like a live tweet discussion feed, a “Shop” banner and tab, and a “Latest” product tab.

This feature isn’t available to everyone though, and X is still testing it. However, in October 2023, X ran a live shopping stream with Paris Hilton, which indicates the feature is coming back.

Product Drops

Build shopper excitement around your upcoming product launches with this hype-generating feature. Your images and videos will appear in your audience member’s X feed, and they can set product alerts to receive notifications when your items are available for sale. You’ll first have to set up the X Shopping Manager for this.

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Shopping Manager

The X Shopping Manager essentially allows you to link a web shop or catalog via API. This means you can link up to 50 products to showcase and be viewed directly in X, without leaving the app. However, if users want to purchase products from your Shopping Manager, they’ll have to do so via your storefront.

Unfortunately, as of 2024, this feature is only in early access and limited to a select few users. You’ll need to contact your specific X representative to enable it, as well as have a Professional account. API access is highly likely to become a Premium Feature once it’s fully released, so be prepared to pay a monthly fee for it, starting at $3 per month. Additionally, since it’s an API feature, you’ll need a developer to build the connections for you (although Shopify and other stores will increasingly add integrated connections when the feature goes fully live).

The Shopping Manager features:

  • A storefront
  • Options to spotlight items on your profile
  • Product sets to highlight or share as tweets
  • Offerings you can add to video streams and ads

Implement sponsored tweets

Generating organic leads on X is great for keeping margins high, but building a stable flow can take a while. Employ sponsored tweets to boost your content’s reach and accelerate lead generation. X offers multiple types of ads, including:

  • Pay per 1,000 impressions
  • Pay per billable action (video view, pre-roll view, app install, link click, per engagement, per follow, app clicks)

Essentially, you can pay either to have more people see your post or engage with your content. Depending on which you choose, you could build an X advertising strategy around:

  • Pay for followers and only pay for new followers
  • Pay to have users install your shopping app
  • As a follow-up campaign, pay per user who clicks “Add to cart” in your shopping app
  • Pay for website traffic

You can use sponsored ads to drive awareness and engagement and lure funnel shoppers into a sequence like an email marketing campaign. This approach is a more affordable way to build connections with your target segment and drive conversions. Or, you could directly pay to convert shoppers into customers. Determine the goals of your campaign to take the best course of action for your business.

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Wrapping up — Turn X into an advertising gold mine

Although X’s eCommerce initiatives lag behind the shadows of mega-popular Instagram, Tiktok, and Pinterest shops, it still presents a rich promotional opportunity. Many features have been rolled back as Twitter rebranded to X, however, the company is also relaunching others, with more eCommerce capabilities becoming available to users.

Tons of eCommerce businesses that have taken a chance on X have exponentially grown their customer base, strengthened their brands, diversified their marketing streams, and boosted sales. So, with some creativity, experimentation, and strategic hashtagging, your tweets can become a significant advantage to your eCommerce business.

Due to the nature of X though, achieving success on this social channel will require some trial and error. Study your market, learn how your target customers operate on the platform, and test various content styles and topics to build a winning X marketing strategy that continuously guides shoppers through your online doors.

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