How One Small Biz Uses Twitter To Build Its Brand

Ad Age:

If you hope to compete as a small “carryout and delivery only” pizza joint operating out of a 600-square-foot space against the Goliaths of pizza delivery, you had better have a good product, great service and a deeper mission that differentiates you in a meaningful and sustainable way. And we do — but that’s not enough.

Even with a loyal following of customers, you must spend marketing dollars to drive business. Even your most core customers must be continually and softly nudged. The advantage here clearly goes to the larger chains, which enjoy greater market penetration and scale.

So far, we have relied on cost-effective strategies such as e-newsletters to deliver information and coupons to a subset of our customers.

We also use a smattering of direct mail. But the open rate for our newsletter has steadily fallen over the past year. Though this is speculative, we believe consumers are simply fatigued — too busy, too many other newsletters in their inbox, and so on. Enter Twitter.

Though many are clearly high on the new smell of Twitter — us included — we are beginning to see, through the fog of idle chatter surrounding social media, new opportunities to connect with our customers in ways that makes sense to us.

The obvious and redundant criticism of social media is the ROI of such a strategy at any level. How do you measure ROI on buzz, comments, friends, followers, mentions and so forth? For us, we see the value of Twitter in a number of areas.

We Twitter to supplement, or possibly replace, our e-newsletter, with daily 140-character special offerings or other tweets that contain links to more in-depth information on our mission and our products.

Analytical tools buried in the HTML of our website suggest that this approach is working. As for the actionable tweets we call “Tweetie Pie” specials, we are optimistic about them when compared with our e-newsletter data.

For example, on a single Thursday a few weeks ago, Twitterers accounted for almost 15% of the total sales, many of which were new customers. Source coding in our POS system makes tracking this data possible.

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Photo by Twitter.

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