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The world at your tweet

Keely Stocker

Get it right and Twitter can drive web traffic, increase footfall and build closer relationships with customers.

Twitter has quickly become a social networking phenomenon since its creation in 2006. With more than 700,000 UK businesses across all industries with active Twitter accounts, the service is something that many retailers are looking to include in their social media strategies.

The essence of Twitter is interaction. Users follow a group of Twitter profiles, the content of which they find interesting. The service allows people to chat online using tweets, which comprise a message of 140 characters or less.

A brand or a retailer’s audience will often follow some similar Twitter profiles and understanding the reasons why people follow certain individuals or brands can greatly enhance any business’s social media strategy.

Kristine Kirby, home shopping director at lifestyle chain Fat Face, says: “We set up a Twitter account to engage with our customers, to share information on store openings and promotions, and to hear what they wanted from us.”

The tone of Twitter is informal and chatty but also informative. An understanding of its audience will give a business a better idea of what type of Twitter personality it should adopt.

Retailers must get the balance right - a Twitter account should be informal yet in keeping with the ethos of the brand. Kirby adds: “With a brand such as Fat Face, tone is really important. So far we are keeping the management of [our] Twitter [account] mostly to one person, to make sure the cheeky, non-conformist tone of Fat Face is represented, while still offering valuable information.”

Etail giant Asos has a high profile on Twitter. A number of Asos employees tweet on a regular basis, making it clear who they work for, using names such as Asos_James - ecommerce director.

Asos’s main Twitter page has almost 32,000 followers and updates include regular questions to followers such as “What are you wearing today?” or style tips on the latest trends, linking users back to Asos’s transactional site to purchase these items.

Another young fashion chain that has incorporated a Twitter profile as part of its overall social media strategy is New Look. Tweets are again managed by a dedicated member of the marketing team. As well as talking about the latest products and competitions at New Look, the retailer also tweets about current TV shows and celebrities. Including these social tweets means New Look can build a personality behind its profile.

Twitter should be seen as a chance to talk to web-savvy customers and build relationships with them, leading to a rise in site traffic and footfall in stores. Also, feedback from Twitter users can provide valuable information about the customer and demonstrate the strength of a retailer or brand’s customer service.

@FatFacedotcom “To celebrate our new kit, our Lymington store is holding a special VIP event tomorrow and would love you to join them!”

@mywardrobe “Girl-of-the-moment Jameela Jamil seen in BMB dress!”

@Topshop_tweets “Wear your support with our Fashion Targets Breast Cancer vest!”

@River_Island “It’s our pleasure! RT @FashionTargets: @RIVER_ISLAND Thanks for all your support!! We love the gorgeous fringed boots!”

@netaporter “We’ve fallen for jewelry [sic] designer Chan Luu’s boho-luxe accessories. What do you think?”

@NewLookFashion “Anyone seen Jersey Shore yet? Opinions??”

@ASOS “Calling all Glee fans and geeks. Win a bundle of Glee goodies by answering an oh-so-easy question:”

@KarenMillen_ “Win £500 worth of Karen Millen vouchers at Elle UK.”

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