By Marie O’Brien
It seems that everyone is talking about Twitter these days, and the top two questions seem to be:
1. What exactly is Twitter?
2. Can I really use this to grow my business?
What is Twitter
We’ve addressed the “what is Twitter” in other blog articles, but I must admit that I’ve found an even better definition than ever before. Yes, it’s microblogging. Yes, it’s social networking. However, the best description that I can provide is that it is a lot like CB Radio. (Those of you who are old enough to remember the CB Radio craze of the 1970’s can appreciate that analogy.) With Twitter, you can reach out and follow people and even jump in and out of their conversations. The people can be complete strangers, but once you find them, it’s easy to connect with them and continue conversations.
How to use Twitter to Reach Local Business
So, the next big question is always “how can I use this for my business?” It is a long-term process to build your Twitter following and it takes time and dedication to use the tool properly. It will obviously be more successful if you can find/follow people (Tweeters) who are in your target audience.
For example, if you sell to a particular geographic area — whether you’re a restaurant or a homebuilder — then you want to make sure that you’re reaching the Tweeters who live nearby. The challenge for many people is just how to find those specific target audience members! It’s not as hard as it sounds, thanks to the great Search tools that Twitter offers.
Here’s a tip on how to use the Twitter search to find those people on Twitter who are based in your local area:
1. After you log into Twitter, go to search.twitter.com
2. Click on “About Twitter Search”
3. From this page, select the “Advanced Search Page” link
4. Next, use the “near this place” field to enter in the zip code of your business, so you can find people from your local area.
5. This form also will help you to narrow down your search to find people by particular keywords or hashtags (the category name is preceded by the # sign, such as #homebuilder).
6. Once you see the list of people who meet your criteria, you can manually click on each one and determine if you want to “follow” them. It’s common Twitter-etiquette that they will in turn ‘follow you back’ so this is a smart way to build your following quickly.
The advanced search tool on Twitter is one of the most valuable tools that you will find to cultivate your “follow” list. Keep in mind that for this to be successful, you need to be an active member of the Twitterverse, providing regular tweets of business related, helpful information (with an occasional sprinkle of personality), so that you’ll give your new pals a reason to “come back” (that’s the CB term for ‘follow you.’)
Now you have it, good buddy. The secret to finding out the Tweeters’ ‘twenty.’ Over and out.
Written by Marie O’Brien, VP of Marketing and Client Services for Blue Tangerine Solutions. Blue Tangerine Solutions is a leading Web site development and Internet marketing firm headquartered in Melbourne, Florida specializing in the homebuilding and real estate industries. Marie O’Brien is a self-described Internet junkie and a fan of social networking. She can be reached on Twitter at @BTSMarie and via eMail to Marie.OBrien@BlueTangerineSolutions.com.