25 Case Studies Using Twitter to Increase Business and Sales

Posted By on Oct 18, 2010 | 23 comments


1.Dell Outlet
Dell Outlet doesn’t have the time to hire an agency and develop an ad campaign. Instead, the company turns Internet marketing using tools like Twitter. The company started to use Twitter to push information out and soon found out that people were interested in talking. Twitter is good source for not only raising awareness on deals but to interact with customers. The company offers post exclusively on Twitter and makes sure to use twitter only a few times a week to avoid spamming their followers. They also use tracking URLs to determine what users find most appealing. Last but not least. The company found that the Twitter deals do increase sales. Dell Outlet has booked more than $3 million in revenue which can be attributable to its Twitter posts. In addition, the division has done research showing that the overall awareness of the outlet has grown, too.

2. JetBlue
JetBlue was among the first corporate companies to join Twitter in 2007. Now in 2010 JetBlue has nearly a million followers and is often cited as an example of small corporate twittering. It’s goal when joining Twitter was to simply, help customers. They eventually found out what the dos and don’ts were for their customers. How did they do this? By asking. The company found that customer service tweets generated more followers and replies. When tweeting about a press release they found no response. JetBlue then began asking question in order to find out what the customers wanted. This approach has made them quite successful. JetBlue tore downs the wall between the customer and the brand by implementing what was to be just an experiment, Twitter.

3.Teusnerwine
Teusner Wines, is a boutique winery located in Australia and has only three employees. One of the three employees, Dave Brooks, sales and marketing director, noticed that Lance Armstrong was on Twitter. Brooks soon joined and started following Armstrong. He started to think that Twitter would be a good tool to tell people about the winery, in hindsight he was right. To get started he searched for wine-related terms. When he found influential and relevant users he followed them and eventually started conversations related to the business. He has since grown the following and makes a point to send personal thank you messages to customers. His mentality is to build relationship which can’t be done by simply selling a product. Since using Twitter, Brooks has seen more people coming to the winery for tours, more traffic to the website and numerous people in the United States and Canada asking where they can find the Teusner Wines. His focus is on the customers not the numbers.

4.Tasti D Lite
Tasti D Lite, a guiltless place to enjoy frozen yogurt, began its journey with Twitter cautiously. BJ Emersonl, Director of Information and Social Technologies, started by using Twitter to listen to what customers were saying about Tasti D, its products and it’s competitors. BJ advise a three “m” approach when getting started on Twitter-monitor, measure and mingle, which is exactly what he did. Once he did that he started following users who had mentioned tasti and began turning the comments into conversations. BJ often tweets exclusive coupons where he creates specific codes for each coupon. These codes are entered into the point of sale cash registers at tasti locations to enable the tracking of coupon conversions and the resulting sales. BJ concludes from the numbers, that Twitter coupon campaigns can outperform similar targeted ads on other social network platforms or certain PPC ads if used effectively. Their next plan is to begin experimenting with paperless mobile coupon options and Twitter accounts for individual stores.

5.Coffee Groundz
Coffee Groundz is an independent coffee shop in Houston, TX. The owner J.R. Cohen began his Twitter journey by going out of his way to interact with Houston Twitter users following him on Twitter. He says his growth was slow and organic but the connections he made were strong.  He began to ask his followers to “come into the store and ask for J.R.” This gave him the oppurtunity to meet with every patron who asked for him, thus strengthening the bond with his followers. Due to an odd request from a cutomer using Twitter J.R. started taking and recieving to-go orders via DM. Customers can also reserve a table/booth, order from the patio, or reserve the place for events through direct message. Twitter helped J.R. create a more efficiently run coffee house and his many patrons agree.

6.Etsy
Etsy is an online marketplace for buying and selling all things handmade. Naturally, Twitter was an ideal fit. The company found that their community was using Twitter to promote their handmade items for sale on Etsy. So by watching and learning from them they adopted the same ideas. The initial use of Twitter was to share when their blog was updated. Now they use Twitter in a variety of ways ,alert followers to particularly creative products from Etsy sellers, share valuable tips & tricks, and provide information about upcoming events and promotions on the site. In Etsy’s experience they’ve found that Twitter is a valuable way to harness the creative minds of the community. Most importantly, they have fun with Twitter.

7. NAKED Pizza
Naked Pizza is an organic pizzaplace that tastes good and even better yet, is good for you. A Twitter account was created after the advice from  investor Mark Cuban who outlined these goals: help create a community around healthy eating, save on marketing costs, and ultimately drive sales. Twitter is now such an influential tool for the company that Jeff Leach, co-founder along with Randy Crochet, has set up a kiosk within his store, where customers can sign up for a Twitter account if they hadn’t already been users. In addition, Naked’s online ordering page, there will be the Naked Pizza Twitter stream in case customers have questions about the company’s product offering. As of May 29,  2010 a surprising 68.60% of total dollar sales came from customers who said “I’m calling from Twitter”.

8.American Apparel
American Apparel got their start on Twitter after some employees were playing around and setting up accounts. Now multiple employees are involved with responding to comments on Twitter when users make about the company, taking advantage of the opportunity to interact directly with customers.American Apparel fans with blogs occasionally write posts with favorable mentions of the company or its products on Twitter. In one case, they received a DM from a freelance photographer who was chronicling his wife’s pregnancy with weekly photos of the mother-to-be in American Apparel clothes. After seeing the blog, American Apparel liked the photo series so much that they provided the new mom with free clothes and used the images as the basis for an ad campaign .Thus launching  an  ad campaign for expecting mothers with an unique banner ad for baby clothes, and the blog became one of American Apparel’s top performing sites for online ads. Twitter led the minds behind American Apparel to new ideas and opportunities for advertising.

9. Pepsi
Pepsi started usign Twitter to connect with customers on a more meaningful level. For years the company had relied on its toll free number where customers could call in with concerns. Twitter helped to humanize the brand. The toll free number tended to focus on the product where as now Twitter allows the customers to give feedback on promotions as well as opinions on the products.The company collects reactions and likewise can give fast feedback. Pepsi is till figuring out what the customers respond to the most but have found that they are able to give the customers better service by monitoring Twitter.

10. Levi’s
To connect with a young male demographic, Levi’s hired recent college grad Gareth Hornberger to manage their Twitter feed. Gareth, a.k.a. “@Levisguy”, provides Levi’s fans and denim aficionados an insider look at Levi’s the company. He shares behind-the-scenes access at Levi’s events and updates on new products. In addition, he engages his followers’ interests by spurring conversations about topics that matter to them. By hiring Garth to represent the brand they promoted the correct image that Levi’s has always strives for, authenticity.He’s just an ordinary guy, in an extra-ordinary position, sharing interesting stories, encouraging fun conversations and attempting to get everyone he can in a pair of 501 jeans. He just so happens to be doing all of this on Twitter.

11. MTV-2010 VMAS
MTV has integrated Twitter with live TV. This was evident during the 2010 Video Music Awards, which pulled in 11 million viewers. For the viewers watching at home there was a live Twitter scoreboard. there was the visualization for web users. Users could tweet directly from the app, that MTV created with the help of Stamen Design…and tweet they did-194,000 times. MTV is innovating how TV can be used on Twitter. They established themselves as a leader.This kind of integration creates a conversation  surrounding a live event on Twitter and at the actual event.MTV also stirred up some competition between the fans on Twitter. The Sunday before the VMAs, fans found a Twitter Tracker and tweeting would give their favorite artist a higher ranking on the list. Ultimately, MTV found that  the activity on Twitter went beyond the original audience via followers,  Trending Topics, Twitter Tracker and more. MTV found a way to excite audiences and create strong fan engagement.

12. Comcast
Comcast developed a Twitter account to change what most associate with a cable company. Essentially, they wanted customers to know that they cared, which gave the idea for their Twitter name, ComcastCares. Instead of waiting for negative comments to appeare and the react. Comcast is proactive by searching and tracking comments.  Comcast is handling an individuals issues publicly through Twitter. Additionally, Comcast announces via press releases the addition of a social media component to help customer service reach a large audience effectively. Comcast has found a way to reinforce quality customer service with an appropriate Twitter name and proactive attitude when reaching customers.

13. Namecheap
Namecheap is a 10-yr-old company based in L.A. offers cheap domain registration. Their mission statement is to thrive on making customers happy. Upon visiting their Twitter page you’ll see that their mission statement is well in effect. It seems that every tweet is centered on connecting with the customer and their needs. Michelle Greer, the company’s sole marketing specialist,set up the Twitter account. To catapult the account she created a contest. The contest was launched in December so she posted a Christmas-related trivia question. Then To win, you had to be one of the first three @replies with the correct answer. The prize was credit a for one-year domain registration. People began to anticipate the questions and were tweeting and blogging about it. NameCheap used the search.twitter.com API to automate winners and the Twitter API to automate the questions. As a result of the contest, Namecheap’s follower count went from 200 to 4,000. In terms of the actual business aspect,  Namecheap’s site traffic increased more than 10 percent in December, which resulted in a 20 percent increase in domain registrations.

14.BestBuy
The Twitter account for BestBuy is an all exclusive look into the latest and greatest news from Best Buy,which  includes updates from employees, deals, event notices, and more. For instance. On October 15,2010 one tweet from a BestBuy representative said,“It’s officially Free Phone Friday!! Check out the phones and/or order online here: http://bit.ly/1015FPF via @Coral_BestBuy”. What BestBuy has done is to create an interest among customers to keep them visiting their Twitter page. At over 80,000 followers its safe to say that BestBuy established a following by giving an incentive.

15. Nabbit
Nabbit is technology start up that allows people to tag or dubbed appropriately, “nabb” radio tunes they like by pressing buttons on their cell phones.They have used Twitter to increase favor with influencers while allowing users to generate an automatic tweet with every nabb.Nabbit has over 18,000 followers. They’ve taken Twitter and made it work for both interaction and integration by generating a tweet with every nabb. It’s a win win.

16. Realtors
Specifically, Teresa the Realtor, who has over 3,000 followers on Twitter. Many of her tweets are conversational. She is retweeting and answering questions. In a word she is engaging. The world of real estate requires communication between the buyer and the realtor. She has created a new line of communication through the use of Twitter. Teresa also takes the time to teach other Realtor’s how to soft sell using Twitter. She puts it simply, “It is like breezing through a party, she said, and “being introduced to a friend of a friend who just might be looking for a house.”

17. Vistage International
Vistage International is essentially a members organization for CEO’s. They used Twitter to prospect new members, up and coming entrepreneurs who are apart of younger generations. The concerns when launching a Twitter accounts was whether or not their audience was using the social tool. After a few tiny campaigns the results were in favor of Twitter. During a two month period they found: Twitter to be an easy way to build relationships with members  very efficiently. Vistage empowered them to talk about their  experiences with the company good and bad) as part of what they already discuss on Twitter. Then every time the Twitter community talked about their experience, five to 10 people asked us about the organization, which led to some great leads.They were able to widen their reach by adding new experts and new topics. After the  two month period, the Twitter campaign secured 36 member inquiries and six new members, which was attributed to the network of members, Chairs, and speakers. For a small and member’s only organization this is quite the feat.

18.Open Forum
OpenForum is a community built to help grow small businesses. They created a Twitter account to provide information, strike up conversation with small business owners, and to drive people to their conversational site, which is separate from their website. The goals are to:Build brand equity, acquire new customers, and build loyalty among existing customers. OpenForum lets the conversation happen versus trying to control it. The reaction from that is more brand loyalty from existing customers. In addition they have over 12,000 followers.

19. Intel
For starters Intel has over 25,000 followers and has no official Twitter strategy. However, they use the tool  for many employees  to build relationships, listen, learn from others/each other, and get the latest in news.  Their tweets do not typically revolve around Intel as they feel that people are people not brands or logos. They also feel that Twitter is a place for conversation not one-way marketing. A lesson to learn from Intel, Twitter builds community, connects people, and fosters relationships; and in order to do so requires authenticity. It’s difficult to be authentic when hiding behind a company logo.

20.U.S. Geological Survey
The U.S. Geological Survey’s  has a unique responsibility which is to  monitor and report earthquakes. Twitter helps the USGS expand these reports through first-hand accounts after an earthquake occurs. Earthquakes as well as any natural disaster affects thousands if not millions of people at one time. They began their journey with Twitter by listening. They soon found that seconds after an earthquake people were tweeting about it. As it turns out Twitter is one of the first places to indicate that an earthquake has occurred. What the  USGS does with this information is to gather, summarize, and map out earthquake tweets to provide a rapid overview of what people experienced during an earthquake.They now have their own Twitter-based application which provides tweet counts for affected cities and lists the tweets created immediately following the event For the future, USGS is using Geocoded tweets to allow for more accurate pinpoints of the locations that users posts, and a distinct retweet channel helps them to differentiate between people who experience the shaking and those who are broadcasting others’ experiences.The USGS is following advances and listening to users feedback. Turns out the newest tool for monitoring earthquake effects is Twitter.

21. The North Face
The popular brand joined Twitter in October 2007. However, they had no clear direction until 2008. In 2008, The North Face  went to create a free digital tool that would enhance the user’s outdoor experience. By December of 2008, they launched a free iPhone application. \The app was successful with nearly 250,000 downloads but users shared some constructive criticism to share.  In 2009, they relaunched the app with the consumers feedback in mind. The new and improved application included Twitter. They soon realized that the best way to leverage Twitter and build a communal following was to promote The North Face branded content.. Serving up industry information to their Twitter community, they quickly increased the following, and saw a steady flow of re-tweets, which spurred community interaction. Their success came by combining technology with the outdoors, leveraging Twitter and in the end they are able to give users and accurate tool.

22. American Cancer Society
As found on Mashable,the American Cancer Society tweets about cancer research, specific types of cancer news, and information. They also connect to @RelayForLife, a Twitter account that provides updates on one of the American Cancer Society’s largest fundraising and awareness events. As of October 15, 2010 they have over 85,000 followers. They have created an online community on Twitter by engaging in conversation and listening to what users are saying.

23.American Red Cross
On Twitter the American Red Cross makes it their cause to inform about catastrophes or offers ways to find out about the  terrible events happening around the globe. They tweet to educate what is  is affecting the lives of millions of people. The official account  uses Twitter to warn as well as interact with people about situations that may require additional help. Wherever, and whenever disaster occurs the Red Cross lends a hand and now they are tweeting so you can as well. They currently have over 200,000 followers.

24. Create the Good
Create the Good is an organization that connects the  AARP members, friends and families with ways to make a difference.As read on Mashable, AARP uses the Twitter account to  network and point out members of the organization who are making a difference in the world. On Twitter they also help promote other organizations and  media channels making a positive impact on the lives of others. Twitter also educates others about regional opportunities to get involved with good projects.

25. Humane Society
The Humane Society uses Twitter to spread the word and motivate their constituents to action.They engage followers by  asking for feedback and reactions on issues in the media that affect animals.Their website features all the social tools their are using and really drives people to action. The Twitter page is  not intimidating and comes across as personal versus an off putting organization. They have found success by being open, engaging and informative.

  • http://www.tkographix.com Randy Clark

    Thanks for the great post. Subjectively my criteria for a great post are – did I get something new, an insight, a story, an idea? Did the post inspire me to action? Is it relevant, entertaining, or useful. Most of us are familiar with Jet blue, Pepsi, and Dell. It is good to hear their stories, or be reminded. However, Teusnerwine, Coffee grounds, Teresa the Realtor are, for me, even more significant. The inclusion of non-profits could help other non-profits find direction.

  • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

    Great compilation, Kyle! We actually worked on the Vistage case study you highlight and, I'm sad to say, things have deteriorated since June, when we stopped working with them. It's so important for companies to understand that you can't build these platforms, give customers a way to talk to you, and then take it away. It's worse than not having the platform at all. We have a client who, because of budget reasons, wants to stop talking to their two year old highly engaged community until March…when it's sales season again. Perhaps that's another blog post – what happens to the companies who use social media and stop.

    • kylelacy

      I'm open for a guest post. :-)

      • Kristen

        Thanks for the post, Kyle! I am working on a Twitter campaign for a small retail/manufacturing company, and this reaffirms some of my gut instincts about how to get the project off the ground. This article was much more insightful than others I have read on the same subject.

  • http://www.marketingtechblog.com Douglas Karr

    This is 25 examples, but I hardly see these as case studies. There's no input as far as time, strategy, resources required, nor the long and short-term business resources. A case study is a comprehensive guide… not just a paragraph. I say this with respect, of course. :)

    • kylelacy

      Would you like to add something else Doug? I would change the title but it would corrupt the link. Thanks for the suggestion though.

      Any thoughts that add to the discussion on how to use Twitter for business? Or do I need to write a post on the definition of case studies?

  • Janis La Couvée

    Gini – yes, please I agree that this is a topic for a post – companies who start and then stop! They are sending a very powerful message about commitment (or lack thereof).

    I'm sure you've got some (not so) great examples – names removed to protect of course.

    • kylelacy

      I don't know if I would even remove the names, Janis. :-)

  • http://www.ideaffect.com Matt Kelly

    Nice post Kyle! Your post was interesting because you covered people who are typically off of the beaten path. Most notably Coffee Groundz in Houston (the first tweetup I ever attended was there) and Teresa Boardman. Realtors aren’t getting much recognition outside of their own space.

    • kylelacy

      Thanks Matt! I would love to hear more about Coffee Groundz! They are doing some cool stuff.

  • http://www.traceyjefferies.co.uk Tracey Jefferies

    Just stumbled across you via Twitter (and @gemmawent) – this post couldn't have come at a better time. A few of my clients that wanted to start a social media campaign are dragging their heels, only tweeting content maybe once a day and not engaging at all. Not wanting the campaigns to fail I am constantly re-educating them and often over-delivering. Post like these are great tools to share with clients. Thank you.

  • http://www.businessesgrow.com/blog Mark W Schaefer

    Hate to be a wet blanket but results like "spreading the word" and "educating people" are pretty weak examples. Some of the case studies mentioned here only promote an image that Twitter is a candy-assed marketing channel. I am not a detractor — in fact I'm completely sold on Twitter as a powerful networking tool and I have realized measurable business results. We should be able to come up with a top 25 list with examples that involve stronger examples than these. Good effort, just trying to keep it real.

    • kylelacy

      Mark… I appreciate the comment. This was not meant to be a top 25 list but examples of how businesses are using Twitter. If you would like to build a top 25 list I would be happy to help you.

      We spent the time researching and finding random businesses (both small and large) that are using Twitter successful whether that is "spreading the word" or "educating people." If you have an example of "measurable business results" please list them here.

      Let's build the list!

  • http://www.clicksinternetmarketing.com Jami Broom

    This is a great resource to show prospective clients!! I would like to see more industry examples, such as the "realtors" category. How about "lawyer" or "manufacturers" or "head hunters", etc?

  • http://twitter.com/ctshirts Charles Tyrwhitt

    Thought I would mention us as a brand using Twitter. Charles Tyrwhitt are the UK’s largest purveyor of fine shirts and also have a strong web presence in the US and Germany including two shops in New York. We started using Twitter about a year ago and whilst it is still early days for us it is definitely a valuable tool. Love to connect with more of your readers. Have used our twitter page as our linked website.

  • http://www.blogcastfm.com Srinivas

    Kyle,

    Thanks for sharing this. My day job is running a travel blog called Flightster and I used twitter to generate over 20,000 page views in 2 months and hold a writing contest to hire another blogger to join our staff. We had writers write a post on their own blogs, link back to us, and then tweet it with the #flightster and shared their content. Then we narrowed it to 8 finalists and and had them get votes to chose our next writer. Twitter was without a doubt the driving force. I'm planning on taking your examples here and mindmapping them out to see what else we could emulate that other companies have done.

    Cheers,
    Srinivas

  • simonhamer

    At a social media seminar in Derby the Cafe owner had found her photographer, electrician and cake maker all through twitter. We were there because she had tweeted she wanted marketing help.
    Twitter gets business for sure.

  • http://www.allisonlightwine.com Allison Lightwine

    I was intrigued by the statement “Dell Outlet doesn’t have the time to hire an agency and develop an ad campaign”. If there’s one thing I caution people about regarding getting started on Twitter, it’s that it takes time and commitment to be successful. And time definitely is money.

    Do you think that launching and maintaining a Twitter presence takes less time than outsourcing ads or other marketing campaigns?

  • http://MyTwitterToolbox.com David Perdew

    Very nice. It's always good to get validation of the right way to do things. These case studies really show that. At first glance, I was disappointed when I saw big names like Dell and Pepsi – you know, takes money to make money. But then, you followed up with companies like Nabbit. That will let every one – big and small – know that they too can make money tweeting properly. I'll be adding a link to this post to my blog if you don't mind :)

  • http://blog.promodirect.com Branding Tips

    Thanks for writing this post about Twitter. I was always uncertain about using Twitter for business & genuine audiences.

  • http://ariwriter.com Ari Herzog

    If anyone can assemble a great list such as this on firms using Twitter, and showing the why and how with the same passion as the what, it's you. Thanks!

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    The first three links don't work. Oh well — it's almost a year old post.

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