5 Twitter business success stories (from non-social media professionals)

by Alexa on March 21, 2011

I’m a fan of Twitter and regularly speak in front of audiences about why I like it.

Often I get someone who says something like, “Sure you love it, but you work in the field of social media. What about Twitter for non-social media professionals?”

I picked up that gauntlet and reached out to people I know to ask how they’re using Twitter. The answers may surprise you.

1. Retail consultant

Alex Arifuzzaman, Partner at InterStratics Consultants Inc., one of Canada’s top retail consulting firms, uses Twitter to track news from his industry, news that he would either never see or else get it weeks or months later. Twitter also drives traffic to his web site, which is now visited more than any of his competitors. Follow Alex at @alex_ari.

2. Business strategy consultant

Andrew Jenkins is a management consultant specializing in emerging technology business strategy.

  1. One day he tweeted that he was at conference.
  2. A well-known business strategist replied to the tweet, saying that he wished he were there.
  3. Andrew replied, offering to send him the presentation afterward.
  4. Coincidentally, Andrew was then invited by a mutual acquaintance to attend a workshop where the same business strategist was also attending.
  5. Andrew met the strategist in person and, as a result, was invited to collaborate on the strategist’s new book.
  6. Andrew became a contributor to Business Model Generation, one of the top 10 business books of 2010 as voted by Fast Company and Inc.
  7. He was invited to attend a conference in Amsterdam with other contributors. He has used the book and framework extensively in his business, has expanded his network of contacts and has won business because of this credibility.

Follow Andrew at @ajenkins.

3. Authors

Amy Ballon and Danielle Botterell own Admiral Road Designs which makes personalized fleece baby blankets (that make fabulous gifts, incidentally). Recently they launched a book, Mom Inc., stories and experiences about the world of mompreneurship.  Twitter has been great for spreading the word about the book and for sharing media links. Amy notes, “they are tweeting to us about buying our book!”

Follow Admiral Road at @admiralroad and Mom Inc. at @mominc.

Amy also tipped me to Kelly Oxford, an Edmonton stay-at-home-mom of 3 who, through her digital writing – including Twitter – has landed a book deal and has a sitcom in the works. Trust me: she is very funny. Twitter is the perfect medium for her short, sardonic observations and a very easy (and fast) way for fans to discover and share her, including the likes of Howard Stern, Jimmy Kimmel and Jessica Alba.

Follow Kelly at @kellyoxford.

My friend Mike Fraeitta shared a story about a SciFi author who was successful with Twitter. The author would follow people who tweeted about books that were similar to the kind he wrote. Those people would follow him back. He soon had enough of a following of other people interested in science fiction that, when he had a new book to sell, he had an audience of customers who, as it turned out, bought his books. Like magic.

Follow Mike at @MikeFraietta. (Sorry, I don’t know the SciFi author specifically, but Mike is worth following.)

4. “From concept to market” consultant

I wasn’t quite sure how to categorize Sheena Repath’s business, IdealSamples. Suffice it to say that this is a company which helps bring product ideas to life: if you have a concept, the IdealSamples team will help you through the process, saving you time, headaches and money.

Sheena admits, that she was like everyone else when she first started using Twitter. She couldn’t figure out how it was going to help her business. However, very quickly she experienced the following when active on Twitter:

  1. It helped her establish credibility.
  2. Allowed her to create a conversation about what IdealSamples does, a new concept in business.
  3. Twitter was (is) great for educating people on how IdealSamples can help them.
  4. Twitter gives them a channel to share tips and advice before expecting clients to buy.
  5. Twitter also makes it easy for IdealSamples to research and qualify potential customers.
  6. Twitter makes it easy for people to understand exactly who IdealSamples is, what they do and what they stand for.
  7. Twitter is a great tool for referring business.

The number 1 thing Sheena noticed as a huge benefit of using Twitter? Normally when you start a business type that hasn’t existed previously in the market, it takes time to educate people, build rapport and to start letting people know you exist. Twitter allowed IdealSamples to jump into the market without spending any money and allowing things to grow organically.

Follow IdealSamples at @IdealSamples.

5. Autism application

This one is from my friend Mike Winter, President of Chalkboard Marketing, whose wife Sara has used Twitter almost exclusively to market her business. She’s built a website and application for Teens and Tweens on the Autism Spectrum to communicate with one another called Squag (www.squag.com). Mike noted that given the Internet has been such an incredible resource for parents with children affected by autism, Twitter was a really unique tool for reaching them directly and for washing out some of the noise that you would get through more traditional marketing tools.

Follow Squag at @squagdotcom.

As you can see, using Twitter for business successfully extends beyond “social media consultants”. But this is to be expected. After all, it’s just another communications channel.

Do you have any stories of Twitter business success to share?

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