What Are the Most Influential Retailers Doing on Twitter?

Klout has shared this list of the top ten most influential retailers online, and it got me wondering: what are they doing that makes them influential (or really, gives them a better Klout score)? Here’s my completely unscientific evaluation.

Amazon

It’s no surprise Amazon is on the list: it’s the top online retailer and has in some ways defined the space. Their Twitter profile is well-maintained but with no surprises: they post links to new products and to content (including Amazon’s best books of 2011, retweet from other Amazon accounts such as amazonbooks and AmazonKindle (and while I’m surprised at the inconsistent capitalization there’s nothing else noteworthy here), and have the occasional apt-and-funny product recommendation.

Victoria’s Secret

They do an amazing job at talking and not broadcasting. They respond to followers, call out people wearing their products, they even thanked Klout and their own fans for their ranking in the influential list. 

JCPenney

At 20 on the top online retailers list, JCPenney uses Twitter for a nice blend of marketing and customer service. Like Victoria’s Secret, they share articles and blog posts featuring their products, but they also respond to customer complaints. They have a nice colorful Twitter background, but it obscures most of the text: I think they could do better here.

JCPenney on Twitter

Sports Authority

At 223 on the Internet Retailer list, Sports Authority is doing disproportionately well. They share information about discounts and sales and respond to customer service issues. They also share quotes from famous sportspeople: nice way to connect to the brand. But I’m not convinced that the best start to their bio is “Headquartered in Englewood”: I’m sure they could come up with something more interesting that would appeal to their fans. Their Twitter background not only shares their website and Facebook URLs, but also has a call to action: way to go! But what’s their Twitter URL doing there: if I’m seeing it, aren’t I on their Twitter profile already?

Walgreens

Walgreens seems quick at responding to customers complaints as well as thanking or retweeting satisfied customers. They also run promotions especially for Twitter followers: way to keep them hooked! Walgreens is 72 on the Internet Retailer list.

HSN

HSN is the 26th online retailer and has the 6th most influence. They have a nice background (that says “You’re going to need a bigger tree”) and a good bio that is tailor-made for Twitter:

We keep you in the loop on all the great deals & celeb brands. Consider us your personal shopper. Plus, we love tweets so yours might end up on TV.

HSN heavily promotes contests and giveaways: it’s nice to have focused content, so your followers know what to expect–in this case, deals!

ThinkGeek

I’m not surprised ThinkGeek made the list, even though they’re 192 on Internet Retailer’s list. They have interesting products and an interesting brand personality. On Twitter, their background (including URLs of several social sites) is awesome. They respond to customers and ask for photos from customers using their products.

ThinkGeek on Twitter

Best Buy

They have the usual deals and news. Meh. But they are the top 11th online retailer, so no surprise they’re popular.

Target

Let me say it: I love Target’s background. It’s fun and uses the brand logo, it works no matter your screen size, and they include URLs to their website, Facebook and YouTube. Perfect.

Target on Twitter

Also, that’s one grateful-yet-smug tweet right above.

And they’re spreading holiday cheer by giving away $50 gift cards to Twitter followers. What more can you ask for? (I bet it doesn’t hurt that they’re the top 22nd online retailer, too.)

Macy’s

Macy’s is the top 17th online retailer, has a beautiful background and a good bio that not only shares why you should follow the Twitter account but also gives you the customer care email address upfront:

The Magic of Macy’s. Follow us for inside information about must-have fashion and exciting events from your favorite store. Customer Care: social@macys.com

They’re also quick to respond to customers and graceful at accepting compliments.

Turns out, the most influential retailers aren’t doing anything radically different from Twitter, but just following these basic rules:

  • Have an interesting background with relevant info and a call to action
  • Use the 160 characters in your bio to tell the user what to expect
  • Be responsive and polite
  • Retweet compliments and accolades once in a while
  • Share interesting photos and videos
  • Offer exclusive deals or promotions
  • Be interesting

If you follow these rules, you too should get influence (or Klout!) that’s disproportionate to your revenue. Happy tweeting!

About Unmana Datta
Senior Marketing Manager at Affinity Express, Unmana is an obsessive consumer of blogs and social media, and fascinated by their use in marketing.

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