Businesses that Buzz on Twitter

Twitter can be an invaluable business tool: a perfect way to boost your brand’s presence online and build a large following of existing and potential new customers.

Twitter has been shown to increase sales by directing more traffic to websites, with many users saying they’re more likely to make a purchase from a brand they follow on Twitter. The customers you engage through social media are more likely to buy again, and more likely to share your content and recommend you to their own networks. So Twitter can be great for business. But only if it’s done well.

Let’s take a look at five big brands who are doing just that: using Twitter to engage successfully with their customers and boost their profiles.

(1) Tesco

Supermarket giants Tesco have over 110 thousand followers – and you don’t get that just by tweeting about special offers.  Of course there’s promotion, but there is also interaction, and lots of it. As well as replying directly to users who tweet them with customer service issues, the brand knows its target market inside out, tweets accordingly – with running commentary on shows such as ‘Downton Abbey’, which would certainly appeal to many of their followers.  The tone is always light hearted and friendly, but ultimately professional – a perfect balance.  Sister account, @tescomobile is well worth a look too.  As the name suggests, it’s a separate account set up in relation to Tesco’s new mobile phone offerings, and as you can see from the screen shot below – they’re definitely on the ball when it comes to a little banter in the name of healthy competition!

Some would say it was a risky move by the company – a slip in professionalism perhaps, and indeed it was eventually removed – but not before over 100 retweets and a good amount of positive PR were generated!

And check out this incredible brand ‘love in’ on Twitter, which began with a conversation between Tesco and a customer.

What can you learn from Tesco? Define your audience, know who you’re talking to, and don’t be afraid to show the personality behind the brand!

(2) ASOS

I talked in detail about ASOS digital campaigns in my blog about online retail. ASOS actually run several Twitter accounts, all very successfully; but the one I’m highlighting is their main, or everyday feed. With over 568,000 followers, they must be doing something right! Actually, they do several things right. Defined tone to compliment brand image? Check. Personal replies to @ mentions from customers? Check. Just enough promotional tweets to get customers excited without being overly salesy? Check. Clever use of personalised Hash Tags? Check. ASOS’s ‘#TodayIs’ tag invites their followers to share a moment of their day, some of which are then retweeted, which of course all makes for some top quality organic engagement.  It’s a simple strategy, but oh so effective.

What can you learn from ASOS?  Engage with your audience by getting them involved, and #HashTag your way to success.

(2) Just Eat

Take away website Just-Eat is another great example of a big brand that really knows how to engage with their customers. They have set a casual, friendly tone that suits the brand perfectly, and their social media team work hard to reply to many tweets every day, as well as setting up giveaways, competitions and fun little snippets to entertain as well as engage.  They’re another great example of a brand creating their own regular hashtags too, from the shamelessly promotional #TakeawayTuesday to the just for fun #WeirdWednesday, they encourage followers to get involved, a key ingredient for successful engagement.

This example shows they don’t just send an obligatory or standardised reply either – they take the time to take an interest and engage with their followers:

What can you learn from Just-Eat?  Engagement is key and unique hashtags are a great way to get noticed.

(4) The Onion

America’s Finest News Source’,  The Onion isn’t perhaps a business in the traditional sense, in that their ‘product’ is their content, which is free, but they are truly a masterclass in tweets that get retweeted. How do they do it? By creating fresh, unique, shareable content.  And lots of it!

In turn, their tweets regularly go viral, and so their audience just keeps on growing!

What can you learn from The Onion?  Content is king – and humour works.  Make sure your content is good enough to be shared!

(5) Innocent Drinks

What the smoothie making giant Innocent Drinks doesn’t know about social media, isn’t worth knowing. Their 165,000+ followers didn’t happen by chance. They’re the result of well thought out strategies that engage, educate and entertain. Their promotional tweets are well and truly balanced out amongst their funny photos, retweets from their followers, charity news and much much more.  They excel at building a social media network that people want to be a part of, because of its community feel and entertaining content.

For a funny picture of a llama to score 131 retweets, and 85 favourites, you definitely need to have an actively engaged audience!

What can you learn from Innocent?  Engage, entertain and educate.  Build a community that people want to get involved with and success will surely follow!

Take a few notes from these Twitter geniuses and you’ll soon be on your way to your own social media success story.

Some other great examples of businesses that buzz on Twitter here.

Twitter launches new advertising campaign fro SMEs

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  1. Thanks for highlighting these examples Jonny. There are always so many things to learn. The other side to this engagement of course is the platform it provides for you in times of crisis, one that Tesco would have been grateful for during the horse meat issue. As you highlight, the common denominator of all these examples is hard, consistent work that pays off in different ways. Thanks again.

    • Jonny Ross says:


      Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts, yes agree social media certainly gives the best platform for being able to publically deal with a crisis these days!!

      Have a great christmas!

  2. I am a fan of the onion – great site and brand. The only downside here is that the budgets and resources these companies employ deliver these results. This is well outside the scope of your average business. These are highly paid, dedicated, experienced professionals employed by corporate machines in most cases. Am I right in think Innocent is actually owned by Coca Cola for example?

    • Jonny Ross says:

      Hi Stuart,

      Thanks for dropping by, whilst I agree all of these are big budget companies, I am confident in most cases any average business can learn and do similar.

      Tesco are showing us how the line of etiquette has clearly moved, and whilst innocent is owned by coca cola, it’s still a very simple idea “lamas ruining photos since….”

      My hope is to inspire SME’s to be more active on twitter and understand the benefits to be had!