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Build a following and monetize Twitter with Prosperent
Building an audience on twitter
Social media services like twitter and facebook can drive serious traffic for your online marketing efforts, but few marketers know where to start to build a strong audience that is engaged, and more importantly, interested in the information or items you are marketing. I'm going to guide you through building an audience, and show you how to monetize that audience in a few short steps.
- Identify a niche
- build an audience
- monetize the page
Identify a niche
If you plan to sell products to people, you should probably start by identifying what you want to sell. There are several resources you can use to do this including these guides:
- https://www.vendhq.com/university/retail-trends-and-predictions-2015You can also use
specialized tools to help find shopping trends like:
- Prosperent Trends: https://prosperent.com/account/documentation/view/api/trends
- Google Trends: http://trends.google.com/trends/topcharts#vm=cat&cid=shopping
- Amazon Top Sellers: http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers/zgbs
Using a variety of sources ensures that you get the full picture. I'm going to show you how to use Prosperent Trends, Google Trends, and Amazon.
Prosperent allows anyone to access their sales data to help you identify shopping trends. We're going to take a look at November/December of 2014 since the holiday season is coming up. We are going to group the results returned by category so we can identify a good niche that we are interested in promoting. The api documentation is here: https://prosperent.com/documentation/api/trends
The actual api call we will use today is: http://api.prosperent.com/api/trends?enableFacets=category&filterCommissionDate=20141101,20141225&api_key=2faab4bcbd4ed51fd1706a7ee940bfe0
I use a Chrome plugin called JSONView to make reading the response easier. You should see something similar to below:
In the above, the count is the number of items sold in that time period, and the value in this case is the category name. We see that womens, apparel, home & garden, t-shirts, home furniture, and shoes are all popular. I'm going to chose shoes as my starting point.
Another fantastic resource to leverage is Google Trends. With Google Trends, you can search for a niche by entering a keyword, or explore some of their top charts straight from the home page: http://trends.google.com/trends/topcharts#vm=cat&cid=shopping
In this case, we can see a number of popular retailers, and we can drill down into more specific queries like "shoes". We can then see that "Nike Shoes" specifically have the highest search volume for the time period. This helps us narrow down a broad niche into something more manageable that we can target easier.
Amazon Top Sellers
Amazon allows you to view top sellers, and drill down into specific categories to help you find products to promote. In our case, we can find top sellers in the "shoe" category to get an idea of what people are interested in right now. This is valuable so you are promoting exactly what people are looking for, when they are looking for it.
Build a following
Now that we have a general niche, we need to setup a twitter account and start getting some followers. For our example here, I have setup a twitter demo account called HalfOffShoes: https://twitter.com/HalfOffShoes
Upload a high quality profile photo, and a high quality background image. Most people will ignore you if you use the default profile image.
Who to follow?
This next step is important. Most people will naturally start by searching twitter using keywords related to their niche. This is wrong, and you will likely miss out on high quality followers that are actually interested in your products. Go ahead and search twitter for the keyword shoes. We see a bunch of shoe brands and people selling shoes. These aren't the people that are going to buy our products, but rather the people that are selling them. What we need to do instead is identify how to find shoppers.
We're going to start by following the people that follow our competitors, or big players in our niche. In my case, i'm promoting running shoes, so i'm going to @runnersworld and start following their followers. These are actual runners for the most part that are more likely to be interested in my products, and to buy them.
As I said earlier, our first instinct may be to start following anyone that posts under the hashtag shoes, but these are likely marketers, not shoppers. Instead i'm going to search hashtags like #marathon, #5K, #runner. These are the people that are actually passionate about what I am promoting. Twitter makes finding these people simple. Once you search, you will see different tabbed results. Click on "Accounts", and you get a list of people and brands to follow. See below:
You may notice the "Follow them all", and "Unfollow all" buttons at the top of that last screenshot. This is a Chrome Extension called Twitter Follower that I use. This allows you to follow all of the accounts on a page with a single click of a button. It works well, but we can do far better. If you only use that extension, you will run into two issues quickly.
- Twitter only allows you to follow 2,000 people at a time (we will cover a work around for this in a bit)
- You are going to end up following a bunch of inactive and spammy accounts
Using Twitter Lists
Twitter allows you to create lists of users in your account. These lists can be public or private, and you can add thousands of people to each list. This is a great way to get around the 2,000 "following" limit for your account, while still getting people to follow you back. So, how do you use lists effectively?
First, create a public list, and name it something flattering like "Running Champions". When you add people to a list, they will receive a notification in Twitter, and often times they will follow you in return. There are also tools that will let you search for, and add people to lists in bulk. I have used socialoomph.com and socialbro.com to help automate the processes. Both are great tools. I found socialbro slightly faster to use. It seems to have more automation in mind.
You can also filter the list so you only get accounts that have tweeted in the past X days or months, and have an account older than X as well. This solves problem number 2 earlier and allows you to skip following inactive users that add no value to your account.
Now that you know how to find followers, you need to give them some content that's interesting to them. Remember earlier when we mimic followed some accounts like @runnersworld? A simple place to start is by retweeting some of their popular articles. You can also use a service like postplanner, or shareist to help you find and automate the posting of interesting articles for your users. The key here is to make sure you are regularly posting content that engages your users, and keeps them interested in your page. We don't want to JUST post products.
Monetizing Twitter with Prosperent products
Prosperent is an affiliate network that works with over 50,000 online retailers. Prosperent has built a search engine that gives you access to over 70 million products, with multiple export options, and sharing straight to Facebook and Twitter built in. To start, you need a Prosperent Account
The Get Links interface in your Prosperent dashboard has everything you need to monetize your property. You can type in a search term to start browsing products, or you can paste in a url to a product, and they will convert it into an affiliate link that earns money for you. If you mostly use links, drag the bookmarket tool into your web browser, and now you can convert a link on any supported retailers site that you are browsing, and share it out to social with just a couple clicks.
The video below shows you how to use the interface to share to twitter. You can also export a search result set to rss, xml, or a csv file. This is handy because you can then use a tool like PostPlanner or Shareist to schedule these products so you have fresh content going out for weeks at a time.
Monetize with Amazon
If you have an Amazon Associates account: http://affiliate-program.amazon.com/gp/associates/apply/main.html
You can also quickly and easily grab links to top selling products in your niche. I personally use image links because a picture stands out more in the twitter news feed. The Amazon Associates "site stripe" is a bar that appears at the top of your screen while browsing Amazon. You can then generate an affiliate link for any product you see on Amazon, including those on the Top Sellers page we mentioned earlier.