Twitter: The Killer Small Business App?

Okay, so even I’m getting tired of talking about Twitter at this point, but a new article from AdAge claims that Twitter could be the killer application SMB owners have dreamed about. And to make things even more exciting, the article comes complete with something most social media hype pieces don’t – actual stats and data!

According to AdAge, Naked Pizza, a “healthful” New Orleans pizza shop, recently began using Twitter to market their company and build a following online. The article doesn’t go into too much detail about how exactly Naked Pizza used Twitter, but it does reveal that on an April 23rd test run, sales from Twitter made up 15 percent of the day’s earnings. Not a bad number.

I went ahead and took a look at Naked Pizza’s Twitter feed and it’s clear why it’s been successful. It’s friendly, engaging and full of content that customers would naturally want to pass around. They’re highlighting loyal customers, sharing positive word of mouth and, all in all, creating a community around health conscious folks who also really like pizza. They’ve found their story and they’re bleeding it from their Twitter account. Naked Pizza is doing Twitter and social media right.

The power of Twitter for small businesses rests in two things: Its immediacy and the ability to target people in your geographic location. Twitter for SMBs is about being social and looking local. You want to zoom in on the demographic that would be most interested in your product and then reach out to them.

Reach out by using tools like Advanced Twitter Search, Twitter Grader and Twellow to find people interested in what you do and who also happen to live in your area. Once you find them, follow them and start up real conversations. Show them you’re there for them. Make the conversation focused on their needs.

This is something Naked Pizza Co-Founder Jeff Leach has been able to do really well. He was able to use Twitter to only target people within a three-mile radius of his store. He could tweet immediate lunch, send alerts, offer coupons for Twitters, respond to questions, etc. He also invested in a billboard near the store that actively publicizes the company’s Twitter handle – a move bold enough to earn Naked Pizza some TechCrunch attention.

To help small businesses get their feet wet in Twitter, AdAdge offered up five tips for local businesses. You can get the full dirt on each over at AdAge, but here are the highlights:

  • Track every sale
  • Twitter is not Facebook (it’s more immediate)
  • Create a conversation
  • Sell last minute inventory
  • Alert followers when you’re on the go

[SmallBizTrends can pick up some additional Twitter tips from the comment section of Anita Campbell’s Twitter Tips post from last week.]

The key for small businesses is to establish some social media planning beforehand and find ways to take the relationships you’re forming on Twitter and move them offline. You can follow tweetup to learn about “Twitter meetups” happenings in your area or try to organize one yourself simply by reaching out to your followers. While online networking is extremely powerful and can open up many doors, there’s no denying the power of a real face-to-face meet up where your customers can see who you are and learn about you in your element.

If people are becoming energized about your brand online, organize an event to bring them in and meet other local fanatics. Offer deals and other special incentives for those who heard about you online to make it official in store, in person. Have inventory you need to get rid of? Throw a Twitter Night party and make it all exclusively available to them. The more you support your community and help them to find one another, the stronger community you’re going to have. And that kind of word of mouth spreads like wildfire.


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

33 Reactions
  1. Travis Campbell


    Thanks for providing solid advice and direction here. More and more success stories (and *data*) are emerging for business owners using Twitter. Just yesterday, I used Twitter when I saw my content posted on someone’s site without permission. It was resolved peacefully, and taken down within 20 minutes, not bad.

    Thanks for bringing this report to our attention, and for building on it in a practical way.

  2. I enjoy reading success stories like this. A lot of people don’t want to see the true value of Twitter and dismiss it as a waste of time. I think Naked Pizza is doing it right by interacting with followers and not just advertising themselves constantly. I hope more data and success stories come out in time.

  3. Naked Pizza, huh? That’s an interesting name for a Pizza place. Not your usual Italian name like Dominics or something.

    I also want to add that there is still time to submit your Twitter tip to be included in our roundup of Twitter tips. Jump over here:

    — Anita

  4. Hi Lisa!
    We chatted via chat during a webinar, 2 or 3 weeks ago. Thank you for reminding me about this cool idea…

    Anita Campbell was nice enough to email the link to the story about Naked Pizza, in April. {because of the franchise model being used.}

    I wrote an article called “Twitter, Pizza, and a Franchise,” based on the story. Here is what TechCrunch said;

    “Aside from being among the first brick and mortar businesses to so prominently feature its Twitter handle, Naked Pizza is notable for a few other reasons. Its menu was created to offer the “world’s healthiest pizza”, with each slice only weighing in at a fraction of the calories and fat of standard pizza, while still tasting delicious, according to Yelp reviewers . Oh, and Mark Cuban just partnered with the company to turn it into a national franchise.”

    Cuban. HMMMM. Verrrry Interesting.

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  5. Love Twitter! Great article and learned a few extras I did not know about! Thank you so much for posting!

  6. Miles Technologies

    Very useful information – particularly the part about targeting within your geographic location. When well-planned and highly targeted, social media can be a powerful tool for business promotion.

  7. Useful article – the streaming aspect of Twitter makes it more like a radio station than a newspaper – if you miss a post, it’s probably gone in a day or so.

    So a steady broadcast of useful and relevant content seems like the key. Seems like a tremendous amount of energy to expend, would be curious about ROI others are
    seeing on this.

  8. Wow. Lisa, this is a great article! I already have read a lot of articles talking about Twitter and its uses. You know what makes this even more exciting — because of the evident existence of Naked Pizza! That was amazing, huh?!

  9. I just passed by their store today and noticed their twitter address is up there at the top of the sign. I didn’t notice their normal website address, which can of course be found easily on their twitter profile. A big light bulb just went off in my head. I need to start a business really quickly so I can market on twitter, heh.

  10. Martin Lindeskog

    Yeah, this is interesting times. I wonder when FriendFeed will take off?

  11. Lisa: Glad to hear that others are having similar success by using Twitter. 15%-20% of my blog traffic comes from Twitter and I have gotten several new clients as a result. Beyond sharing and adding value to your followers, the key to capturing attention is in writing interesting headlines to entice people to click on the link. I have made many friends and added to my SOI through Twitter.

    I agree: Twitter is the killer small business app.

    you can follow me on Twitter (@HomeStagingPro)

  12. Thanks for highlighting this article. It’s probably the best piece I’ve seen on how small retail businesses can use Twitter to leverage existing customer relationship to bring in new customers and new business.

  13. Hi Martin,

    Do FriendFeed is so similar with Twitter when comes to functionality?

  14. Martin Lindeskog


    I would say that FriendFeed has more features than Twitter. The thing is that Twitter has gained momentum due to its easy and hazzle-free “entry level” in order to get going. It takes some more time to get used to FriendFeed. I will continue to use both. For a short introduction to FriendFeed, check out this video:

  15. Twitter is one of those things that is both extremely useful, but annoying at the same time. It’s tricky to balance the marketing aspect with the actual social aspect. It’s nice when a company like Naked Pizza provides good information without the sales pitch. “buy my stuff” 20x a day is crazy irritating.

  16. Fantastic resource thanks a bunch! Check out Tony Sacco’s. I look forward to reading more from your blog. fort myers pizza is the best.