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TwitterTown: How To Engage A Local Market

“Well Twitter is good for you Scott, your market can be anywhere in the world.”

And so it begins. Another reason why a business claims it doesn’t need to engage their marketplace. For geographic based businesses it’s always brought up that they have no need to connect with someone in Toronto if they run a pizza place in Dallas. Fair enough (although connecting on a large scale has many benefits, but that’s a rant post for another day.)

If your business is “local” there are a few things you can do to help focus your Twitter efforts:

1. Use a keyword location-specific search in Twitter for people in your area.

A lot of people suggest using keyword terms to search for potential customers, but it doesn’t work very well for a local business. Even if you put the name of your city/town, that would mean the person who tweeted would have to put both IN the tweet (i.e. I need a massage in Toronto VS I need a massage). The way to solve this is to do a “near” search. By putting “near:Toronto” beside your keyword, it will bring up all tweets from people who listed in their profile their location that are near Toronto. So now the person who tweets “I want a pizza” can now be found geographically. Use either the “search” bar on the right-side of Twitter, or Summize.


The screenshot above shows all the results for searching “Massage near:Toronto”.


This isn’t an excuse to start replying to everyone on this list to say “COME USE US!! WE RULEZ TEH UNIVERSSSE! LOLZ!”. Reply to some people, say something like “Heya, we could help you out! Let us know, hope u feel better soon!”.


Please for the love of The Jesus and Mary Chain do not set-up a auto-reply system that will send replies to anyone that mentions a certain word in a tweet. Seriously, I will hunt you down and give you a stink-eye of epic proportions. These people have potentially raised their hand, the last thing you need to do is hit them up with a pre-written auto-tweet and then when they check out your profile, all they see is that same tweet to hundreds of others. Doesn’t make them feel all warm and fuzzy.

Most importantly, this tool should be used to see people in your area to start engaging with. Actually give a damn about them. Get to know them. You’re a person, and amazingly, so are they!

Set this search up in a program like TweetDeck so it automatically refreshes the search.

2. Use Twitter Grader to find the best in your area.

Twitter Grader ranks users by awesomeness (my word) not just by follower count. Using its location search you can find the best in your area to get to know.


Same rule applies here. Don’t be a jackass and follow just to send them ads. Engage, get to know people. It’s like a live networking event, except you can’t be cornered by the creepy-dude drinking scotch.

3. Twellow Pages. It’s like the Yellow Pages but people actually use it.

Using their Search function, you can search both by interests and location. This is a great site for finding people in specific industries.


Make sure you also list your own Twitter account in the directory under the “Register for FREE” link on the homepage

4. Tell them you’re there!

It sounds silly, but tell people you’re on Twitter. Put it in the company newsletter, in ads, at the check-out. You’d be amazed how many people are on Twitter and if they like you, they can spread the word to others in the Twitter world.

Any other tips you’d like to share? Any local biz that you know does a great job of this? Leave them in the comments and if they rock the casbah, I’ll add it to the post!

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Other great posts on the topic:

Using Social Media to Market Your Montana Brand

How to Use Social Media to Build Your Brand Locally