Everybody has a Twitter account these days. Just about every business, celebrity and even pets and other inanimate objects have found a home on the wildly popular service. Two years ago , if your company was on Twitter you were cutting edge, but not anymore. Just having an account and sending some updates every now and then simply isn’t enough. Your business needs to stand out and excel if you want to use Twitter to its full potential.

There’s no golden rule when it comes to corporate Twitter accounts. Tons of companies have succeeded using lots of different methods, but there are certainly things you can learn from some of the best Twitter accounts out there. Here’s a look at 5 companies from 5 different industries who have excelled at using Twitter.

Media Temple | @mediatemple | Web hosting

black-mt-bug__42c5eacMedia Temple showcases how to best use Twitter for technical support purposes. They have built up a team dedicated to Twitter support called “Tweetologists” who scour the service for mentions of @mediatemple and are available to assist customers 24/7 though @replys and DMs. I’ve used the “Tweetologists” a few times when I’ve had problems with my Media Temple server and it is an outstanding way to offer quick support to your customers. Media Temple also does a great job of passing along relevant news to their target market. They frequently tweet about web design and development and always share interesting stuff.

Pizza Hut | @pizzahut | Restaurant

Pizza Hut has always done an excellent job using social media. They are generous by following over 27,000 Pizza Hut fans and frequently ReTweet and interact with their customers. There is always something interesting going on Twitter for Pizza Hut, whether they are talking about exclusive specials for their Foursquare mayors or talking favorite pizza toppings with their fans.

The Susquehanna Photographic | @susqphoto | Photography

header1Philip and Allison do a great job of publishing interesting tweets and is an awesome example of becoming a vital part of a local Twitter community. If there is anything exciting happening in York, PA, you are likely to hear about it through @susqphoto’s tweets or the many ReTweets they pass along. They’ve even got a list of York restaurants they enjoy. Whether York Twitter users are interested in photography or not, we engage with the Susquehanna Photographic because they provide great information for their whole local community. When the time comes to hire a photographer, the Susquehanna Photographic is at the top of our list.

Pittsburgh Penguins | @pghpenguins | Sports

I follow a ton of sports teams and none do a better job on Twitter than the Pittsburgh Penguins. The best part of their Twitter strategy is the awesome photos they pass along. There isn’t any other media outlet that provides real-time photos of the team’s new arena construction or of Sidney Crosby going for a skate. The Penguins Twitter feed shows a side of the team that I would otherwise never get to see and makes me feel like I actually know the players and am a part of the organization. It’s an awesome way to build loyalty to your sports franchise.

Zappos | @zappos | Online retail

zappos_logoMost companies hire use a social media expert or communications professional to run and monitor their Twitter feed. Zappos took a different strategy and CEO Tony Hsieh is the person behind @zappos. Hsieh’s personality shines through his Twitter feed and it creates a positive feeling for the whole brand in consumers’ minds. Followers read about soda cans exploding in Hsieh’s car or his temptation to buy a ShamWow…and hear about shoes sometimes too. Reading Zappos Twitter feed makes them feel like an awesome company. Zappos even offers a free VIP Membership to their site for Twitter followers.