4 Creative Twitter Uses in 2010

Filed in Featured, MY BEST POSTS, Social Media by Matt McGee on December 30, 2010 10 Comments

I know that Facebook has all the buzz and momentum, but I’m still very bullish on Twitter as a small business marketing tool. And I think there’s no better way to learn to use Twitter effectively than to see how other small businesses are using it.

At this time last year, I shared 10 Creative Ways Businesses Used Twitter in 2009. Start there for things that are still effective — and then come back here for four more examples that I found this year.

Instant Word-of-Mouth Marketing

This is an example that I often share when speaking at the GetListed Local University workshops: Patxis Pizza encouraged customers to tweet from inside the restaurant in order to get a discount.


Because of Twitter’s 140-character limit, that message may be a bit unclear. What they’re doing is inviting customers who are inside the restaurant right now to tweet about it, show the tweet to the wait staff, and Patxis will give a free beverage. They’re essentially creating instant word-of-mouth marketing by getting customers to announce, “Hey! I’m at Patxis right now!” Smart and creative.

Delight (Potential) Customers

I love, love, LOVE this. Interflora UK surprises random people with offers of free flowers after a rough day.


As far as I can tell, the company is searching Twitter for people who’ve posted messages about being sad, having a bad day, etc., and offering them flowers on the spot. How amazing is that? Imagine you’ve just tweeted something about a rough day, and suddenly a flower company offers you a bouquet to cheer you up. I guarantee you those people will remember it the next time they’re ordering flowers.

(Related: If you browse through Interflora’s Twitter history, you’ll see several other excellent examples of small business Twitter use — customer service, delighting potential customers, a few promotional messages, and so forth. Follow their lead.)

Twitter Quizzes

Mid-Columbia Insurance is a small, independent insurance agency here in my hometown. I was impressed to see the company quizzing its followers on the rules of the road here in Washington state.


This was a great way to be interactive and start conversations with followers, while also getting them to think about the product this company provides.

(Note: The quiz was a simple “call-and-respond” thing between @MCIns and its followers. I would’ve gone further and tried to get the quiz to spread to new people by having followers first retweet the question with their answers, and then offering a prize to the person who got the most right out of 10 questions.)

Empathize With Your Customers

Punch Pizza helped Minnesotans recover on the day the Vikings lost the NFC Championship Game.


They empathized with their followers and also took advantage of the communal aspects of being a sports fan. Plus, who doesn’t love free pizza??!! This offer was shared on Twitter, Facebook, and even Flickr. The result? Customers lined up around the block for free pizza. The local news covered the free pizza giveaway. And Punch Pizza says it gave away close to 10,000 pizza pies.

This is a really smart way to use Twitter, and you can get more details by reading Aaron Weiche’s in-depth article about how it all came together.

Your Turn!

What creative Twitter uses did you come across in 2010? Comments are open, so please share!

Comments (10)

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  1. Aaron says:

    Very creative ideas, thanks for sharing. It appears Punch Pizza found a way to use Twitter much like Groupon. My only question is how much did it cost top give away 10,000 pizzas and when do they realistically expect to make that money back through the massive promotion they got locally (which doesn’t always translate to more sales)?

    Thanks again; Happy New Year!

  2. Pat Schaber says:

    Hey Matt,
    Good post! Punch Pizza is one of my favorite places in the Twin Cities. They use social media very well.


  3. Mike Mueller says:

    I think the Interflora example is the most striking. The other examples require one to already follow the business’ feed but Interflora surprises random people and makes them aware of their business. It’s like a “random act of kindness” via Twitter! Great idea and very clever. Creates tremendous good will and a “pass it on” mentality….not to mention new customers.

  4. Alyson says:

    Hi Matt – I have a small in-store supply business here in Texas and I really appreciate your Twitter tips! Twitter can be intimidating so it is nice to see what other small businesses have come up. I really like the way Interflora has used Twitter. Not only is it a nice gesture but has the potential to have a huge ripple effect – I’m sure those people who were offered free bouquets told all of their friends!

    Thanks again for sharing!

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