Happy birthday, Twitter! Today (March 21, 2014), Twitter turns 8 years old. To celebrate Twitter's special day, we've gathered eight Twitter success stories of how business owners, freelancers, public relations firms and job seekers have turned tweets into big breaks. With more than 500 million tweets being sent each day, many tweets have gathered dust and crickets in the corners of the Twitterverse. But for these folks, those 140 characters is where it all began.
1. Sometimes, you approach prospects (and celebrities).
"I've used Twitter to attract freelance projects and new clients. I've also used it to help boost the visibility of my projects. For example, I was able to secure endorsements from Holly Robinson Peete, Sheryl Underwood and Yvette Nicole Brown for an advocacy project that I worked on targeting women of color, simply by tweeting them. I've been able to get journalists to cover client stories by tweeting them as well. The potential is enormous! It's my favorite social media platform." — Ty Mays, owner, Perfect Pitch Public Relations @PerfectPitchPR
2. And sometimes, they approach you.
"Immediately after launching my company in 2009, I was approached via Twitter by Pat Kiernan, longtime NY1 morning news anchor and former host of VH1's "The World Series of Pop Culture." He was very interested in what we do, and wanted to be a part of it. I am proud to say that since then, we have formed a wonderful event partnership, having collaborated on dozens of events, including the largest public trivia night series in all of New York City, which we produce and Pat hosts." — David Jacobson, owner/producer, TrivWorks @TrivWorks
[14 Social Media Marketing Solutions for Small Businesses]
4. Tweeting can help you get in touch with the right people.
"We are a corporate and marketing communications firm, and our profession is undergoing a fundamental shift in how we conduct outreach with the media. Quickly falling by the wayside are the days when we'd pitch a journalist with a four-paragraph query letter. Instead, it's becoming increasingly common, and journalists are very welcoming of pitches in the form of 140-character tweets. Just yesterday, in fact, our firm, on behalf of one of its real estate clients, successfully placed a story with a producer at HGTV.com that began with a direct tweet. Once she expressed interest, we followed up with her requested source material, photos, etc." — Gerald S. Freisleben, president, FoleyFreisleben LLC @FolFry
3. And even land you a job.
"I was originally hired by the Chicago Tribune to bring a digital angle to the books section after using Twitter to basically live-tweet and crowdsource stops for my book tour about five to six years ago. I then morphed that gig into being the social media lead for the newsroom, and then into my current role." — Amy Guth, general manager, RedEye/Metromix @amyguth
5. This guy gets to be called a "Twitter-preneur."
"I have made quite a splash for myself as an entrepreneur, and Twitter has been a huge key to this. From sponsorship deals to new clients, Fortune 500 pitches and CBS Radio meetings, Twitter has helped me scour the Internet for qualified individuals and organizations to reach out to, approach key contacts and secure next steps. Twitter is helping me secure press, blog interviews, and all sorts of new business leads and clients every day or week. Currently, I am fundraising through Twitter by reaching out to billionaires, millionaires and venture capitalists to grab their attention, get their agreement to speak about topics I present, and set meetings for sponsorship or investment calls for me and my partners." — Josh Bois, co-founder, GlobalGoodNetworks.com @JoshBois
6. And this guy bought a house.
"I launched my PR agency in late 2007, after spending seven years with a Philadelphia agency. In 2009, I wasn't much of a Twitter user, but I signed on once in a while. One day, I saw a tweet from a former colleague highlighting an article she had placed in The New York Times. It heavily quoted an entrepreneur I had previously located and 'groomed' as a source for exactly this type of story. I'd spoken with this gentlemen many times, and had placed him in a few articles myself. After reading the article, I sent him a short email, congratulating him on his mention in the Times. He thanked me and, in the same note, asked what kind of PR program he could get for $XXXX per month. Soon after, he became my client for that amount. His business put my agency over the top in terms of profitability in 2010, and as a result, I was able to purchase a home in early 2011 — my first since divorcing and selling my prior home two years earlier. I've always credited Twitter with getting his business and, ultimately, my beautiful new home!" — Gary Frisch, founder, Swordfish Communications @SwordfishCom
7. Tweets can make customers out of followers.
"We recently started a Twitter campaign by hiring a young freelancer. We were unsure on the impact it would have, but it is making a huge difference at trade shows we attend. Many people who have started following us on Twitter are coming to see us, thus resulting in more sales for us." — Paul Burris, co-founder, TouchIN2 Technologies @touchIN2tech
8. In the end, it's all about making connections.
"Twitter is one of my favorite social media platforms. I have connected with reporters that have done stories on me, a radio show producer that has invited me to be a regular guest on her show, met awesome joint venture partners, and initially met group and private clients. My strategy is fairly simple: I share content frequently through the day and intentionally connect with people. Over time, relationships are built through tweets and connecting on the phone." — Stephanie LH Calahan, founder, Calahan Solutions Inc. @StephCalahan