How to Use Twitter as a Reactivation Strategy

Oct 01, 2011 1:35 AM  By

Looking for innovative strategies to reactivate relationships with valuable lapsed customers? You might consider using Twitter.

Many marketers don’t appreciate the power of Twitter because it is often used merely to broadcast messages to their mass of followers. This limited strategy ignores Twitter’s strength in building relationships one on one.

While most merchants discount the value of opportunities that won’t scale, the truth is that we have seen response rates to Twitter outreaches run consistently between 21% and 43% for our clients’ campaigns.

The object is to deliver campaigns in the public timeline where they have a high likelihood of catching the recipients’ attention by using Twitter’s @mentions feature. This feature enables users to put the @ sign in front of a username with a message that will arrive in a tab on the user’s home page which operates similarly to an email inbox.

Once the user views the tweet, he or she has the option to reply, retweet, mark as a favorite or ignore. It is here that a strong relationship with a customer can begin or be renewed.

Twitter user reach and spending habits
A study from Pew Research Center this past June revealed that 13% of U.S. adults use Twitter, a rate that increased from 8% in 2010. Depending on a brand’s demographic, you will typically see match rates between Twitter and a brand’s email list from 9% to18%. While Twitter doesn’t offer the ability to reach the majority of lapsed customers, those it can deliver are extremely valuable.

In research released last year, metrics firm comScore reported that Twitter and Facebook users spend 1.5-times more online than the average Internet user. The study further revealed that even medium to light Twitter users are valuable targets. Medium Twitter users spend 23% more than medium Facebook users, and light Twitter users spend 46% more than their Facebook counterparts.

Getting started with Twitter
The first step to developing a Twitter reactivation program is to test the waters with an initial group. Because these campaigns will be taking place in a public timeline, take caution not to flood the stream, as this is a culture that does not tolerate spam-like behavior.

I recommend a maximum of 30 total outbound tweets per day from any account. Consider this when you select your test group. If your existing account is currently handling a volume of outbound tweets for customer service, you might want to have one account for customer service and one for marketing.

Current solutions for matching email addresses to Twitter users are unfortunately not yet fueled with technology. But you can accomplish this by importing the email list to a Gmail account and uploading it from the “find friends” tab of the “who to follow” feature on Twitter.

Once the list is processed, you are given the option to follow all the matches or save them to a list. Never automatically follow everyone, as you want to keep your following and follower counts in balance to protect your account from being perceived as a spammer. Instead, save the matches in a private list for your eyes only.

Campaign management tips
Customer relationship management platforms such as Salesforce are tremendous tools for maintaining your lists, managing and anlyzing campaigns, and exporting campaign messaging for uploading to a Twitter dashboard such as HootSuite.

We typically deliver structured campaigns that acknowledge individuals on a list every two to three weeks, with unscheduled engagement and topical content delivery rounding out the Twitter strategy.

Susan Hanshaw ( is the CEO/founder of Inner Architect, a digital marketing agency consulting and training firm.