Twitter is shortening the sales funnel for some businesses, but not all social media marketing campaigns will benefit from the newly released "Buy now" button.

The connection between sales and social media marketing isn’t always direct, but Twitter is making a strong push to bring them closer together. The network’s “Buy now” button is going live for participating businesses, giving customers a much quicker path from Tweet to purchase.

The functionality may not be appropriate for every business – especially companies working in the B2B realm – but some organizations will find it’s an incredibly useful tool for shortening the buyer’s journey. As Brafton reported, 62 percent of consumers are likely to make purchases after seeing social content, and that was before functions like Twitter’s new “Buy now” feature were available.

So what should brands do to take advantage of this feature? First, it’s important to discern whether your audience would be receptive to the button – or if they’d even use it at all. Some companies may not benefit from the feature, but others can implement it in creative ways. For example, B2B vendors with relatively short buying cycles and lower price points could still exploit the feature to improve conversion rates, while commercially oriented businesses that make large one-time sales might not see the same wins. 

Think carefully about your sales funnel. If you have appropriate items or services to sell, consider producing product-centric content and using the button in your Tweets about it. If your business model is more about long-term, high-ticket sale, it may not be worth the trouble of restructuring a content strategy and adding new social marketing functionality. Conversely, if you have a mobile-centric strategy, optimizing for the “Buy now” button might be a great idea. Mobile users are much more likely to fall out of the sales funnel without buying, and a clear-cut call to action can help eliminate some of that loss. 

Twitter buy no button

In essence, Twitter seems to be taking aspects of Pinterest and retrofitting them to suit some of its user base. People who Pin are more likely to look for products they’ll eventually buy than the average Twitter user. Twitter is likely banking on the fact that a portion of its users are also on the lookout for products to buy, depending on the accounts they follow. Perhaps even more importantly, this tool gives Twitter users the opportunity to directly measure ROI. Not every Tweet should be a sales pitch, but those that are can have actual dollar amounts attached that help determine how successful they are.

Will this alienate users from the brands they follow on Twitter? As Brafton reported, content-hungry users who refresh their feeds two or more times will start seeing Tweets their connections Favorited, while people who think they have plenty of posts to read already won’t be subject to the added breadth of content. Twitter deftly gave an added feature to one group of users without alienating another group that might not like it – just as they have with the “Buy now” button. People who follow brands and ecommerce sites are likely to appreciate the function, while anyone prone to resent it probably won’t see it appear in their feeds.

But remember: Just because there’s a new call to action doesn’t mean best practices can be eliminated. There’s no stronger call-to-action than “Buy now,” even if it’s on social media rather than a company website. If you’re optimizing for this new Twitter feature, make sure to structure social content so that it points toward this button. 

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.