When it comes to Twitter marketing, there are many examples of small businesses using Twitter to successfully build relationships while promoting their products and services. However, there is so much more to Twitter than just 140-character updates. It’s what you do with those updates, and how you use the features of Twitter to connect with people, that separates Twitter savvy businesses from the rest of the pack.
Here are five examples of small businesses using Twitter right. From sales to research, word-of-mouth marketing to localization, and everything in between, Twitter can help you reach your target audience in ways you probably never thought of before.
1. Coffee Groundz
Coffee Groundz is a Houston coffee shop that tweets from @coffeegroundz. It’s claim to Twitter fame is that it was one of the first businesses to use Twitter for takeout orders. Today, the company’s Twitter stream is filled with targeted discount offers (for example, “Swing by with your college I.D. for 15% off your drink) and pictures that promote the products.
Coffee Groundz also uses its Twitter timeline to communicate with customers, promote upcoming events, and publicize monthly tweetups that attract new and repeat customers to the shop. A daily tweet using the #dailygroundz hashtag spreads the word about the special flavor of the day. Overall, the Coffee Groundz Twitter timeline offers a great mix of interesting tweets, useful information, entertaining pictures, promotional updates, and conversations.
2. Creme Brulee Cart
Curtis Kimball opened The Creme Brulee Cart in San Francisco as a side job from his carpentry work. Within three weeks of starting his business, he learned that customers were finding his cart each day through Twitter. Customers would stop by his mobile cart and then tweet where the cart was and what they bought.
Kimball realized that Twitter had great potential to spread the word and build his business, so he started his own account @cremebruleecart. Very quickly, 10,000 people were following him on Twitter!
Today, Kimball uses Twitter to tweet where his mobile cart is located each day and what the daily flavors are. Customers wait for the daily tweet and share it with their own followers. Over 20,000 people follow @cremebruleecart on Twitter now, and Kimball quit his job as a carpenter to keep up with his growing mobile creme brulee cart business.
3. Kiss My Bundt Bakery
Chrysta Wilson owns Kiss My Bundt Bakery, a small bakery in the Los Angeles area. She uses Twitter as a tool to collect market research data through customer feedback. The @kissmybundt Twitter profile has over 3,000 followers, which is impressive for a small, local business.
Wilson asks her Twitter followers what they think of new recipe ideas. She publishes pictures of new items, and invites followers to share their opinions or stop by her shop for a free sample so they can give her their feedback directly.
Wilson also integrates her Facebook Page and business blog with her Twitter profile. For example, she links to interesting and useful blog posts where she can provide more information than a 140-character tweet allows. She also shares links to interesting pictures and content that she publishes on Facebook, giving her followers different ways to consume her content and interact with her brand. Scroll through the Kiss My Bundt Bakery Twitter timeline and you’ll see many tweets between Chrysta and her followers which gives her business a personal touch that invites sharing and more conversations.
4. Dr. Michael Sinkin
Dr. Michael Sinkin is a dentist in New York City. In an effort to attract new clients in a highly competitive market, he turned to Twitter. Through his @sinkinfeeling Twitter account, he tweets useful information and helpful tips.
Dr. Sinkin does a great job of using Twitter tools and applications like Monitter to find and join local conversations about dentistry in New York City. When keyword matches are found on Twitter, he sends an @reply with relevant information to help that person.
For example, in a recent tweet in response to someone complaining of pain, he wrote, “I’m a dentist. Here’s a list of remedies for your pain. Feel better!” His tweet included a link to one of his blog posts that offered ways to relieve toothache pain. Using this method of helping, not selling, Dr. Sinkin has gained a number of new patients and built relationships that has lead to loyal customers and referrals.
5. Roger Smith Hotel
The Roger Smith Hotel (@rshotel) is a boutique hotel in New York City that needed an edge to compete against the large chains and well-known hotels in Manhattan. Twitter provided that edge, but in a slightly different way than the other examples on this list.
The Roger Smith Hotel reached out to online influencers in the social media space and invited them to stay at the hotel the next time they visited New York City. When some of these influencers took the Roger Smith Hotel up on the offer, the hotel got the exact result it had hoped for. These influencers tweeted about their stays (which they all enjoyed), and word spread very quickly.
Today, the Roger Smith Hotel is always busy. A special Twitter kiosk was set up in the hotel lobby and guests who come to the hotel through Twitter are given a special welcome. Discounts are also offered through the hotel’s Twitter timeline, which has become an active place filled with two-way conversations between the hotel and guests. Not surprisingly, the Roger Smith Hotel has now become one of the more popular places for people to hold tweetups in New York City!
Susan Gunelius: Susan Gunelius is a 20-year marketing veteran and President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She has authored nine books about social media, content marketing, branding, copywriting, and blogging, and she is a marketing columnist for Forbes.com and Entrepreneur.com. Susan speaks about marketing, branding, and social media at events around the world and is often interviewed about marketing topics by television, online, print, and radio media organizations.