From the Bronx Zoo Cobra to Charlie Sheen -- You Are What You Tweet

From venomous cobras to tiger blood references, the animal world is taking Twitter by storm and small businesses are using it to their advantage.

A highly-venomous Egyptian Cobra escaped from her cage in the Bronx zoo last weekend and became an instant Twitter celebrity,  @bronxzooscobra.  The 20-inch snake Tweeted things like 'Leaving Wall Street. These guys make my skin crawl' and 'Enjoying a cupcake @magnoliabakery. This is going straight to my hips. Oh, wait. I don't have hips. Yesss!' Her snarky Tweets generated a near 200,000 following in just three days.

Love him or hate him, Charlie Sheen has a powerful Twitter (@CharlieSheen) following that can turn a small business into a booming entity. Just ask a hot dog stand owner in California.

Meet these gutsy companies cashing in on Twitter trends. Talk about #winning.


Going to the spa is typically considered a luxury, but that doesn't mean it needs to cost a fortune-- at least that's the mission of Spa Sally's 25Tuesdays, a Web site that gathers spa deals for $25.

When New York City-based @SpaSally noticed @bronxzooscobra was out of her cage, @SpaSally invited the cobra to warm up at a sauna down at Wall Street for just $25.

@SpaSally says it gained more than 60 new Twitter followers, a dozen or so new subscribers and sales jumped by a third after posting the invite on Twitter.


Hilton New York took note of the growing popularity of @BronxZoosCobra and extended an invite to the deadly Egyptian cobra.

“Since Hilton New York is an iconic midtown landmark, we thought it was right for her to stay a night in our 8,000-square foot penthouse suite, allowing plenty of room for her to roam around,” said Mark Ricci, director of corporate communications.

Hilton New York tweeted: “@bronxzooscobra Do you have a place to stay in NYC tonight? We can offer you the Penthouse ssssuite #snakeonthetown

When @BronxZoosCobra responded with: “Cushy and warm! RT @HiltonNewYork @bronxzooscobra Do you have a place to stay in NYC tonight? We can offer you the Penthouse ssssuite” the hotel tweeted a photo of the elusive cobra relaxing in the penthouse.

Twitter may be the new shiny tool for Hilton New York but this form of engagement goes back to Hilton's core mission. Ricci says, 'Guest engagement has been at the center of the Hilton brand ever since Conrad Hilton opened his first hotel in Texas back in 1919. Conversations that once took place in Hilton Hotels & Resorts lobbies are now happening through social media.'


Charlie Sheen created quite the stir at Infield Hot Dog Stand in Sherman Oaks, Calif., when the embattled celebrity created his own hotdog and Tweeted a picture of it on the stand’s menu to his millions of followers.

According to the stand’s owner, Robert Davitian, sales have tripled and are still going strong nearly 30 days after the creation of the “Charlie Dog with Tiger Blood.”

Davitian also said he has been approached by potential investors.

“I've heard that Kim Kardashian receives somewhere around 10,000 to promote businesses on Twitter,” said Davitian. “Would I have paid 10,000? No. But I am extremely appreciative of all the new customers Charlie's tweet brought us.”

You named your small business, you set up a Web site, and you even started seeing profits from it. What's next? You could set up a profile page on a social networking site, such as Facebook or Myspace. And/or you may want to head to Twitter, the member-based site that boasts of allowing you to virtually shout your company's message from a technological rooftop.

Every week, Fox Small Business Center will highlight companies that are making their brand known through social media. As small businesses, you are on the frontlines of re-starting our economy, and we want your voice to be heard.