Starting a new business is a commitment that comes with a certain amount of risk. No matter how hard-working, passionate and skilled you are, the customers are never just guaranteed to come and it is estimated that some 20% of small businesses will fail in their first year.

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Billy By, from Missouri City, Texas, was heartbroken to find that his dad’s brand-new donut store, Billy’s Donuts, wasn’t getting any customers at its grand opening. The donuts looked delicious (they are donuts after all), the shop was bright and sparkling new, everything was ready for a successful start to Billy’s Donuts. All that was missing were the people.

Billy’s dad, being from an older generation, perhaps didn’t know the importance of social media for marketing in this day and age. Billy does though, and he took to Twitter to share a pic of his dad looking ‘sad’ about his predicament.

Now, social media gets a lot of stick at times, bringing out the very worst in us as we shout at each other obnoxiously and say things to each other that we never would in real life. But it definitely has its good side too, as people can come together for a good cause and help someone in need, fostering a real community spirit.

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It didn’t take long before the online buzz turned into a physical one as people started queuing up to get their hands on Billy’s donuts. While some online campaigns have attracted criticism for promoting ‘slacktivism,’ defined as “the practice of supporting a social cause by means such as social media, characterized as involving very little effort or commitment,” this was the real deal.


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And it wasn’t long before demand overtook supply, and Billy’s donuts were completely sold out. The kolaches were apparently a particular favorite for many.

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Billy’s original tweet now has over 325,000 retweets and over 700,000 likes, as people banded together to give this family-run business a boost. People started showing up at the shop in huge numbers, and Billy’s dad sold out so rapidly that his delicious donuts became a highly sought-after prize. “So delicious..mmmm” People wrote, also describing them as “the best ever.” Billy further helped out his dad’s visibility by starting an Instagram page full of mouth-watering pics, which already has 100k followers just a few days later.


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The feelgood story shows just how social media sites like Twitter can be harnessed for good, rather than the divisive rhetoric that the platform has become better known for. Such was the positivity around Billy and his dad’s business, some Twitter representatives couldn’t help but head over and try some donuts themselves.

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What a wholesome, sweet story of positivity and kindness. Billy’s dad now has a thriving and highly-regarded business, thanks to the canny marketing of his son and the goodwill of strangers. Instead of heading to the usual big chains for your donuts, consider local, independent traders instead, and if you can make it to Texas, check out Billy’s dad!


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And just to prove that Billy’s dad is no flash-in-the-pan social media 15 minutes of famer, glowing reviews of his donuts came pouring in from plenty of satisfied customers. He had done everything right when building his own small business, he just needed that little push to get the ball rolling. He can thank his son for that!