Businesses both big and small are flocking to social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Foursquare. The fact is that a presence on these platforms not only allows companies to engage in conversations with consumers, but also serves as an outlet to drive sales through deals and coupons. And while major brands like Starbucks, Virgin, and Levi’s have been participating in the social web for some time now, the rate of adoption among small businesses is increasing too. According to a recent University of Maryland study, social media adoption by small businesses has doubled from 12% to 24% in the last year. But as these businesses look to Facebook and Twitter to connect with customers, many are finding that some strategies work and some do not produce results. We’ll be exploring these questions at a panel on Social Media and Businesses at our Social Currency CrunchUp on July 30. We’ve found some local and national businesses using social media effectively, ranging from Levi’s to a creme brulee cart, whose case studies are below.
The Creme Brulee Man: Food from street carts have become a foodie favorite for San Franciscans. Food carts travel from neighborhood to neighborhood, offering their delicacies to a range of local foodies. But without a set location, how do these carts let consumers know where they will be? Well, through Twitter of course. Curtis Kimball, the man behind the enormously popular Creme Brulee Cart in San Francisco, has quickly amassed over 12,000 followers in a little over a year. He knows that most of his business comes from people who follow him on Twitter because Twitter is the only way you can find the cart’s location for the day, says Kimball, a former construction worker turned creme brulee expert. “It gives people a valid reason to follow me,” he says.