5 Essential Tips For Local Businesses On Twitter

Twitter is working hard to become a place for local businesses and customers to connect – so now’s the time to develop your local strategy.

We’ve compiled 5 tips for local businesses to maximize their impact on Twitter, helping you use your 140 characters to reach the customers that care about your product most.

These tips are hot on the heels of yesterday’s news that Twitter is quietly working on a local tweet discovery tool. Although details are still sketchy, it looks like the tool will surface tweets sent by local tweeters using geolocation.

This is a pretty big deal, since this is only a hop, skip and jump away from Twitter offering local businesses the opportunity to target ads based on how close someone physically is to their store.

If you’re looking to get a head start on all this exciting local tweeting, here are 5 tips to get the most out of Twitter:

1. Use Twitter’s advanced search – a lot

As a local business, Twitter’s advanced search will quickly become your best friend. Twitter allows you to refine keyword searched by location. It’s as easy as putting in a phrase that you think potential customers would tweet, entering your city in the “Near this place” field, and watching the tweets stream in. You might need to play with the keywords a bit, but once you’ve discovered the dozens of people tweeting about “emergency dental care in Pittsburgh”, you can save that search for future reference.

2. Network with local influencers

It’s important that you get your business on the radar of the movers and shakers in your town. Try using Tweet Grader’s Top Twitter Cities list to locate your city, and click through for a list of the most influential users. Or, use Twitter’s advanced search again and determine which accounts are most active in your city. Put a handful of these into a list to start, and try to interact with as many of them as possible. Even if these accounts aren’t your target market, they’ll help raise your Twitter profile locally and get you on the radar of the folks who are.

3. Get to know your competition

It’s a good idea to not only keep tabs on influencers and potential customers on Twitter, but also the competition. Conduct a competitor analysis to see what your competition is up to. Who knows, maybe you could learn a thing or two! You can put your competitors into a private list if you want to keep checking back in on them periodically.

4.Tell everyone you’re on Twitter

It might seem like an obvious thing to do, but many local businesses forget that they already have a customer base when they start out on Twitter. Put up signs in your store, add your Twitter username to your business card, Facebook page and website, and spread the word about your presence. You don’t always have to be the one to go out there and get customers – sometimes they’ll come to you, as long as they know you’re there.

5. Keep your content fresh, interesting – and low on self-promotion

When starting out on Twitter, I usually recommend that businesses send tweets using the 70/30 rule: 70 percent of tweets should be engagement and other people’s content, while 30 percent can be used to promote their business. This 30 percent usually shrinks after a few weeks. This is because businesses quickly learn that people aren’t following them to be spammed with advertising – they’re following for their ideas, insights and thought leadership. So go ahead and promote your walk-in special or holiday deals on Twitter. Just make sure this isn’t all you’re doing.

Do you have any tips for using Twitter as a local business? Share them in the comments below!

(Map image via Shutterstock)