Erica Swallow on Mashable talks in depth with three small business users of Twitter on how they grow and maintain their presence in the tweetstream and the advantages of doing so.
They're Chanel Huston, owner of Boutique de Bandeau, an Etsy shop selling handmade couture-inspired hair accessories; Lev Ekster, owner of the Cupcake Stop; and Alexandra Moskovitz, marketing manager of Epicurean Management, owners of two Italian restaurants and a wine bar.
They view Twitter as "another method of hospitality" and feel that it's well worth the effort it takes to build and maintain a flow of followers. "Dialogue" and "rapport" with customers are key terms in the interview. They seem to prefer an internal presence, rather than external PR, for maintaining a distinctive voice on Twitter and suggest how that's manageable.
A good, close-up look at using Twitter for business.