Monday, June 15, 2009

#1 Central Florida Business Who Uses Twitter

The top 10 Central Florida businesses on Twitterposted
by Etan Horowitz on Feb 27, 2009

(Here is part of the blog article we were mentioned in)

More local companies are jumping on the Twitter bandwagon and are using the tool to connect with customers and promote themselves. Orlando still doesn't have a ton of local businesses on Twitter, and there are some glaring omissions - such as Publix - a company that prides itself on customer service, or Gatorland, an old-Florida attraction that has a loyal following. In fact, our world renowned theme parks haven't really embraced Twitter to connect with guests and fans. Walt Disney World has a WDWNews account, but it doesn't interact and mostly provides links to photos and other information.
Other companies have a presence on Twitter, but they aren't using the service to its full capacity. For instance, Bright House Networks has an account called "BHNInsider," which is maintained by employee Chris Berry. But unlike Comcast and even Embarq, Bright House rarely uses the account to respond to customer complaints and issues. I'd also like to see the Orange County Library System do more with its Twitter account than just feed links from its Web site.
To get a better idea of how having a presence on Twitter can benefit both companies and their customers, read this great article from Mashable about 40 of the best Twitter brands and the people behind them. One key benefit is that like NASCAR fans who are loyal to their favorite driver's sponsors, consumers often will shop with one business because that business is on Twitter and its competitors are not.
The two local businesses that seem to be using Twitter most effectively are Orlando Ichiban, a Sushi restaurant on Orange Avenue, and The Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.
Orlando Ichiban has created some buzz by allowing people to submit orders via Twitter and the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida recently used Twitter to solicit blanket donations. That request was retweeted by a lot of local folks and the Coalition said they got a great response.
Here is my list of the top 10 Central Florida companies that are using Twitter most effectively. I see lots of new local businesses joining each day, and I'm sure as these establishments start using the service they'll get more comfortable with it.
In compiling this list I looked for a few things. First, the company had to tweet fairly regularly and do more than just automatically feed news and information from a blog or Web site. Companies earned points for responding to mentions of their names on Twitter and mentioning deals or coupons in their tweets. I also appreciate companies that post photos or give a behind the scenes look into their operations.
Please note that I only included local establishments that deal with consumers, such as restaurants, retail shops, hotels or services. As you would expect, there are a lot of local web design studios, marketing firms or other companies on Twitter that provide services to other businesses, but I didn't include them. I've also left media organizations such as the Sentinel and local TV stations off this list.
Following/Followers: 1,999/1,038
Sample tweet:

MO on Twitter: This account announces news of new store openings, specials and gives out information on buying a franchise. I'd love to see some Twitpics of pizza as well as some interaction with other Twitter users.
Following/Followers: 634/407
Sample tweet:

MO on Twitter: Orlando Ichiban has probably done the best job using Twitter to market itself and bring in new customers. They allow ordering via Twitter and have even hosted a gathering of local twitter users. Lots of interaction with other users as well as tweets about sushi.
Following/Followers: 238/193
Sample tweet:

MO on Twitter: This Florida tex-mex chain uses its Twitter account to reply to people who mention its name on Twitter as well as give information about new locations. There were some interesting exchanges recently when several Twitter users wrote that they were giving up Tijuana Flats for Lent and the TF Twitter account responded to each of them. As with all the restaurants on this list, I'd like to see some more pictures of food posted to Twitpic

Please click on the link to read the entire article.

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