If you have a business that is local-centric? By that I mean, does your business rely largely on local customers? Many small businesses do, and of those that do, most of those customers come from 5 miles away or less!
Of course you can a website and be visible to people across the country, and even across the globe. But this doesn’t necessarily translate into getting those local customers who will call you on the phone or walk in your door.
So how does a small business attract those customers who work or reside nearby? Social Media venues including Twitter are an important part of your internet advertising campaign to reach those ideal customers.
You can actually use Twitter to find folks you live in your city or town or even neighborhood–or if they don’t live there, they frequent the area, maybe because of work.
Searching for Local Tweeps
Since people who tweet (aka “Tweeps”) at least once in a while will tweet about things that are going on around them, places they have been locally, etc, you can search on tweets that are about things going on and other places that are near your business.
Some of these things are pretty obvious, but you can search by City name, a business name, a special landmark, a museum, the library, a community event such as a parade or fundraiser.
In your Twitter account, in the search box type the name of your city, town or neighborhood and see what comes up.
For example when I searched on Loveland Colorado today I saw that one of schools had a problem this morning, there was a Pet Expo last weekend, some local job postings…
If I click on the “People” link, then I will see people and businesses that list in their profile they are from the Loveland Colorado area. You may find that if you search on “Your Town” including the quotations you will have a more refined search, so try it both ways.
Click on the Advanced Search link and you will get to a more detailed search screen. Here you can list you town and a distance you want to search for people (in some locations you may be able to see a tab in your initial search Tweets Near You…but this feature does not appear to be available to all of us!)
You can also enter your business name in this search function and see if anyone is tweeting anything about you. For example, I entered Loveland Museum as the phrase I was searching on and selected tweets from within 15 miles of Loveland and saw a nice Tweet about the Museum from the newspaper.
Follow Found Tweeps
One of the things local businesses want to do with their social media accounts is to follow people who are in their area. To follow someone that you have found through this Advanced Search function (or that you found by other means) click on their name
and when the new box opens up (they call it a flyout) click on the follow button.
Following other people and businesses in your area is a great idea if you share common interests. It doesn’t mean you have to follow every “Tom, Dick or Harry” in town, but it CAN be a great way to connect and meet other people who you might not otherwise meet. You’d be surprised what you can learn about your town or neighborhood by following people on Twitter.
How Does This Help?
Twitter and other social media venues are about engaging in the conversation. So if someone is tweeting about something in your area you can enter the conversation. This can be social or business or both.
For example, if you are a photographer in Loveland you might search on ‘photographer or photography’ near Loveland to see what people are saying about photography in the area. There might be other photographers tweeting about a great shoot or you might find someone looking for a wedding photographer.
If you carry specialized products, you can search on the brand or a phrase that relates to that product and see if people are searching for it, giving you an opportunity to let people know that they can find it at your store.
I’ve found people who are coming to Loveland and are looking for places to see. This can be a great way to let folks know about your favorite park, event, or restaurant.
For more tips on how to use Twitter to connect with local customers, read this article.