LCN marketing director Barry Fenning last month started a couple of Twitter accounts for his company, to see if it could help boost sales at the 29-person strong business.

I talked to him to find out how social media can help make a difference to small businesses.

How and why did you get started with Twitter? What was the overall aim?

In August we created a Twitter profile and announced this to our existing customer base. Since then we haven’t looked back.

Growing existing accounts has been a major focus of our initial strategy. Twitter also allowed us to attract a growing number of new customers, although it is tough to gauge the exact number as a lot of benefits of Twitter are indirect referrals, through word-of-mouth, blog posts about our company/promotions, and so on.

Who manages your Twitter presence?

I manage the Twitter account and the MD of our company regularly steps in to help out whenever needed. We have two other brands under the parent company, Advantage Interactive Ltd.

The Twitter profile for our AI Datacentre colocation and managed hosting brand has attracted leads that have resulting in five-figure B2B sales. Not bad considering there was no advertisement cost to securing these leads. That Twitter account is managed by the Managing Director of Advantage Interactive, Mark Boost.

How did you start attracting followers?

We sent an email newsletter to our customers telling them that once they followed on Twitter they would receive money-saving promo codes for domain names and web hosting products.

Once a user followed us we sent a DM with the link to an exclusive page. Visitors were also given the opportunity to tweet the following message:

“ is offering exclusive Domain Name and Web Hosting discounts to Twitter Followers – Visit”

We are able to ensure that these customers are the first to know about our new products/promotions. 

In a lot of cases we introduced our own customers to Twitter and attempted to provide them with as much useful information as possible so they can grow their business through Twitter as we are doing. Twitip, Mashable, and in numerous instances, Econsultancy have been referred to them as fantastic information resources.

Are you tracking ROI from Twitter? Is it working out for you financially? 

From a financial point of view, we have been able to track a lot of the direct revenue associated with our activity on Twitter. 

All links are tagged so they will appear within the campaign section of Google Analytics. This allows us to see how many visitors, transactions, and associated revenue with all of our tweets. 

The fantastic thing about this is that anyone can do the same at absolutely no cost (Google Analytics, tracking stats, and tweets are all free to use). 

The current promotion has had fantastic results and allows us to engage with our customers every day with great ease.

Can you give us any idea of the sales uplift?

Since creating our Twitter profile the associated % of new transactions directly coming from this source is 2%. 

Due to the huge volume of the new transactions from direct traffic, organic results, and newsletters (which account for significant percentages of the overall site traffic) we have been extremely pleased with the sales Twitter is sending our way. 

Also, with the increasing cost of CPC ads Twitter is turning out to be a fantastic medium for attracting new customers (with a significantly higher conversion rate than our site average it must be noted).

What about the brand benefits? 

The branding benefits from our actions can’t be quantified but we’ve been able to use and Google alerts to keep up with any and all mentions of our company. 

Real-time search results in Twitter search allow us to see if there is a grumble by any customer. We will attempt to contact this customer without delay to ensure we can work with them to find a resolution to their issue.

We also listen to customer feedback and use it to help us design and develop our site and products.