Twitter to the Rescue: Small Business Stories of Twitter Success

Many businesses, big and small, have turned to social media channels to reach new consumers. A survey by Gallup and Wells Fargo reveals that most small and medium business owners share two common pain points: finding new customers and promoting their businesses.

Twitter marketing, specifically, has shown more promise than most.  With over 300 million active monthly users, Twitter has become a social media powerhouse worth your attention and marketing dollars.  In fact, a research study by Millward Brown revealed that over 69% of customers have purchased from an SMB because of its Twitter presence.

So can a tweet of 140 characters (or less) really grow your customer base?  Increase engagement with your brand?  Drive sales?  We like to think so.

How to Use Twitter Effectively

No one likes publishing status updates in vain and tweeting to a digital void.  Fortunately for us, success likes to leaves clues in hopes of being exposed.

The following Twitter marketing campaigns offer valuable learnings and practical principles known to help fulfill these business goals.

Grow your Customer Base

If you’re interested in growing your local customer base consider this case study involving a UK based coffee company.

Pact Coffee is a small, 14-person team resolved to deliver fresh coffee to local homes and businesses. Their objective was to grow their customer base by increasing brand awareness through Twitter.

Pact understood that people would most likely engage with their content if they had already expressed an interest in food and coffee. So Pact identified the top influencers in related food verticals and began promoting special offers to these audiences.

In doing so, this small business was able to reach consumers interested in their brand. Pact successfully accomplished their goal and grew their customer base by 50%.


In the same way, you can identify top Twitter influencers in your industry and promote offers unique to their followers.  When planning your campaigns, however, the key is to segment by the usernames you’re targeting.  The benefits of this strategy are two-fold: your offers will be more relevant and you’ll be able to track how each audience responds to your content.

Encourage Authentic Customer Interactions

Ever dream of building a passionate community around your brand?  Enter Ting, a small tech company that offers mobile services. Their unique selling point is a no contract - pay as you go - mobile service as an alternative to long-term commitments with big carriers.  Ting sought not only to drive sign-ups, but also create a community that would engage with their brand.  Which is not exactly an easy feat in their industry.

Ting began by creating a followers campaign and testing a follow up tweeting strategy that would soon pay off.

  1. Phase one of the campaign led with promotional tweets emphasizing cost savings on the phone bill and a strong call-to-action to follow their account in order to learn more.
  2. Ting immediately followed up with phase two: an organic tweet strategy that involved a variation of behind the scenes footage, product offers and special promotions on a regular, ongoing basis.
  3. In addition to their own content, phase three would showcase their customers’ tweets, as they retweeted helpful advice, questions and information.  This approach cultivated natural brand ambassadors out of their existing customer base, resulting in natural customer interaction within their new community and around their brand.

So what was the result of their campaign? Ting saw a 75% increase in followers, a 27% increase in website traffic and over 400 conversions directly attributed to their Twitter marketing channel.


After you identify a possible opportunity with a new audience, you can leverage promoted tweets that include a clear benefit and call to action.  Once you start collecting interested followers, maintain a regular publishing schedule of tweets that your new followers would enjoy.  Test variations of tweets in order to determine the type of content that will encourage customer engagement.  Once you’ve kindled some interaction, fuel ongoing engagement by retweeting helpful content from your customers.

Generate More Sales

What’s the point of social media for your business if it doesn’t contribute to your bottom line?  The case studies above show you that it’s very possible to drive sales with Twitter. But we wanted to highlight an apparel retailer that focused on sales as a primary objective.

Rock/Creek needed to differentiate themselves and be heard above the noise during Black Friday promotions.  So they started their Black Friday campaign one month in advance.  They attracted quality followers using Twitter’s promoted accounts advertising and tailored audience feature, targeting users interested in outdoor activities specifically related to rock climbing, camping and kayaking.

Their tweets’ copy included a discount offer with scarcity as they leveraged promoted tweets to interact with their existing followers and similar target audiences.  This resulted in a 172% increase in followers, a 5.10% engagement rate with promoted tweets, and a 40% increase in sales that included their best sales day of the year.


Promoted Tweets is a powerful advertising feature that will place your offer in front of the right audiences, assuming proper targeting and segmentation.  Your campaign could include a promotional discount offer and copy that communicates scarcity.  You could also try taking your campaign to the next level by split-testing different images, hashtags, landing page links and copy to determine how each variable impacts reach, engagement as well as sales.

So can Twitter marketing work for you?  It’s important keep in mind these Twitter-savvy businesses didn’t start off proficient with the technology.  They understood the principles of placing the right offer in front of the proper audience, tracking results over time and learning from recorded data.  This approach, combined with Twitter’s powerful advertising capabilities, will enable you to expand your influence and grow your business.

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