Twitter helps drive Christmas shopping sales for small businesses

By Gordon Macmillan
Thursday, 4 December 2014

As many as 67% of UK Twitter users follow small business retailers or e-commerce brands on Twitter, according to new research.

The study by Millward Brown (@Millward_Brown) revealed UK Twitter users have set aside more than £474 to spend on gifts this Christmas and that they will be spending it with a variety of retailers big and small — with almost a third of it (£128) going to SMB retailers and e-commerce sites.

The research, commissioned by Twitter, specifically asked consumers about their attitudes to small businesses. It found that the majority of UK users (77%) plan to support SMBs during Christmas and that even more (88%) say they plan to shop with small retailers.

The study found that when it comes to Christmas shopping, 43% of users Tweet at brands asking for advice. Additionally almost a third of respondents said they were planning to use Twitter for their Christmas shopping.
Twitter helps drive Christmas shopping sales for small businesses
This highlights the wealth of opportunities available for all retailers including those in the SMB market with an active presence on Twitter and the ways that they can best take advantage of the platform to drive sales.

Those who follow SMB retailers on Twitter are also very likely to talk about them. According to the study, these are the top three ways UK Twitter users discovered products or retailers:

  • 40% saw someone they follow mention or talk about a product or retailer
  • 33% saw a Promoted Tweet or ad on Twitter
  • 25% found out about a sale via Twitter

Twitter helps drive Christmas shopping sales for small businesses
Additionally, the research highlighted that UK Twitter users are purchasing a wide variety of products this Christmas ranging from gift certificates (61%), beauty products (59%), electronics (57%) and home goods (46%).

The study underscores the value of investing in your brand’s digital presence, and the value it can derive from being on Twitter and connecting in real-time with customers.

To help SMBs achieve that and get the most out of Twitter this Christmas we have come up with these six tips.

Six Tips to help SMBs make the most of Twitter this Christmas 

  1. Plan for the moment and schedule your Tweets.

    Think about all of the moments that will happen during December, from Christmas parties to New Year’s Eve. December is full of moments you can plan your content around in advance. Remember you don’t need to stop your campaigns running over Christmas if you’re out of the office. Schedule Tweets using our ad tools. Also be sure to check out the Twitter Small Business Planner, which is full of tactical guidance to help reduce the stress of social marketing during the festive period.

    Twitter helps drive Christmas shopping sales for small businesses
  2. Drive engagement and Tweet it with a picture or a Vine.

    Content with rich media drives more engagement on Twitter. We see much higher engagement when brands use rich media, so think about how you can use visual content like photos, Vines and videos to catch the attention of your customers. Research this year has shown that Tweets from verified accounts with photos receive on average a 35% boost in Retweets, and those with videos get a 28% boost. It a great way to showcase your Christmas displays and products.

  3. Let your customers be your advocates and drive word of mouth.

    Twitter is a conversation. With so many asking brands for advice (43%) about Christmas shopping it is a great opportunity to respond to customers that Tweet at your business and answer questions. Be ready to reply when people Tweet about you and show your gratitude by favouriting and Retweeting positive messages.
  4. Offer exclusive and entertaining content.

    Develop content that inspires and helps your customers. One of the reasons that Twitter users follow brands is for access to exclusive content. Christmas shoppers are overwhelmed by choices, so consider the role your business can play by suggesting great gift ideas, cooking tips or whatever is most relevant to your customers and followers. Users love bite-sized content and lists that offer value.

  5. Amplify your message.

    Twitter promoted products can help you grow followers and reach more customers and they also help drive sales. We have highlighted numerous examples this year of brands achieving sales success on Twitter with our range of promoted ad products, which include Promoted Accounts, Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends. These products can help you reach more of the right people to build your community, share your voice, bring old customers back and new people in the door.
  6. Launch special offers, sales and promotions.

    Some of the top reasons that UK Twitter users follow brands are to be notified of special offers and promotions. So it is well worth considering some Christmas special offers or a Boxing Day sale for your followers. Or consider a Twixclusive: an exclusive on Twitter that your followers can’t find anywhere else. If your content is really compelling, you’re more likely to get Retweets that could attract new followers.

For more tips and idea visit business.twitter.com

*Research conducted by Millward Brown 2014. We talked to: 450 EMEA consumers (150 from each of the following countries UK, Spain, France) who use Twitter at least once a month and are involved with Christmas shopping.