According to research released recently by O2, the mobile phone provider (“Small Businesses are Catching Twitter Bug,” Richard Tyler, The Telegraph, 16 March 2009), almost one in five small businesses now tweet regularly. Although the larger, multinational firms were the first to jump on the Twitter bandwagon, increasing numbers of small to medium sized businesses are taking the plunge.

In many ways Twitter is a more useful tool for mom-and-pop operators than for the big players who have the deep financial pockets and large advertising budgets. Twitter, on the other hand, is free, easy to use and is the newest, most useful tool to increase sales and profits.

Cost savings

Small businesses that use Twitter save on marketing and recruitment costs. A substantial amount can be saved using Twitter instead of traditional marketing methods, an impressive cost reduction from the small business perspective. Having a Twitter account can be more cost-effective for smaller enterprises, and the intimacy of tweets suit their business philosophy and approach better than impersonal, sweeping advertising campaigns.

Spread the word

A crème brulee cart operating in San Francisco grew by word of mouth utilizing Twitter. Within a few months the proprietor had quit his day job to keep up with demand. (“Mom-and-Pop Operators Turn to Social Media,” Claire Cain Miller, New York Times, 23 July 2009) Such a success story illustrates that direct marketing, like Twitter, is a powerful tool for small businesses looking to expand their customer base. Business owners can also tweet about discounts or new products, reeling in new customers and enticing repeat business.

Relationship management

Twitter also helps small business keep in touch with suppliers. Their microblogging tool allows small businesses to connect to other small companies, promoting a sense of community that goes beyond traditional geographical borders.

An antique store in Texas connects with customers in New Jersey and orders supplies from out of town – all through Twitter-based relationships. (“Mom-and-Pop Operators Turn to Social Media”) Twitter has the ability to increase contacts, whether with suppliers, potential customers or support services like accounting and consulting firms.

Author's Bio: 

Jeannine Clontz, IVAA CVA, MVA, EthicsCheck™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit:, or contact her at