Twitter an ‘Organic’ Tool for SMBs

The learning curve with Twitter is much quicker than other online marketing methods. (Is that a mixed metaphor?) In addition marketers (especially SMB marketers) have more direct control over it than other tools (e.g., display, search marketing). Twitter reports that lots of small businesses are using it for online marketing purposes, without any direct encouragement from the company. That’s no surprise.

There have been a number of celebrated SMB marketing cases that are repeatedly discussed. For example, the Korean taco truck in LA and Naked Pizza in New Orleans. But there are many other examples. This past weekend I ran across another one (from last November): CoffeeGroundz, a local coffee house in Houston, TX:

Picture 7

Note: 6,082 followers. While many of those may be outside the cafe’s service area the community, brand building and customer loyalty dimensions of this cannot be denied or dismissed.

We’re also starting to see third parties (on behalf of SMBs) tap into Twitter; for example the UK’s Scoot directory.


Here’s a related article from the NY Times about online-centric SMBs and social networking.


5 Responses to “Twitter an ‘Organic’ Tool for SMBs”

  1. davidmihm Says:

    >> While many of those may be outside the cafe’s service area the community, brand building and customer loyalty dimensions of this cannot be denied or dismissed.

    Dave Oremland and I had an interesting email discussion about this on Friday. I tend to overplay the brand / loyalty angle rather than ROI when it comes to Twitter, but I feel it is going to be ubiquitous within a couple of years, probably passing or at least equalling Facebook…so the early adopters (I think we’re still in “early” mode) are going to have a big leg up when it actually WILL pay off in dollars.

    And the examples you note highlight that it IS possible for T to have real financial impact even now.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Yep. It’s pretty interesting.

  3. Dave Oremland Says:

    Following the interview of the owners of Naked Pizza by Will Scott, a number of comments were made on the sphinn version. David and I both commented, and I reviewed and asked David about his comments. Of interest, I am also tweeting for one of our businesses.

    Specifically I’ve seen very little business response to date. The difference between this business and those that have been successful to date is that it isn’t a “food business” specifically, such as Naked Pizza or Kogi, or some of the other successes….and the price point for purchase is pretty high. This particular business is a service that requires a little thought and money before purchase.

    David and I discussed twitter activity about another business whose price point is far far more expensive than a meal….and additionally requires a very specific audience.

    Our couple of decade experience in this particular industry and some others suggests that the investment in twitter will not be an immediate payback by any stretch of the imagination–even as it has generated a couple of responses to date.

    Its a matter of increasing awareness of the business into the metropolitan region, building relationships, etc. We know that these things do take time. If they are established a branding and name recognition value contributes dramatically to overall business….but it definitely takes a lot of time…in a couple of cases w/ successful businesses that branding has occurred over a couple of decades w/ a very very good reputation.

    So I’m putting the time into twitter along with several other similar efforts.

    To date though, the only immediate successes I’ve seen are the small purchase/small cost/instant purchase type businesses…such as food.

    Are there other immediate successes? I’m not aware of them at this point. Anyone know of smb successes outside of food at this point?

    The problem for the smb operator is time. Its a significant time investment.

    FYI, twitter is part of a longer term strategy for us in which we are trying to expand the positive aspects and successes with our services. We will see how well it works.

    I’d love to find out how businesses outside of food are using twitter to expand their efforts.


  4. Greg Sterling Says:


    I don’t have any immediate non-food examples, other than the Scoot aggregated one I provided.

  5. nick leung Says:

    It’s great to see more small businesses are adopting Twitter as a marketing tool. The only problem is that it doesn’t allow users to search for merchants that are on Twitter.

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