How To Use Twitter To Network With Your Local Community

How To Use Twitter To Network With Your Local Community

If you have a local business, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be connected to local customers. But some business owners find it difficult to not only locate, but also network effectively with their local community.

Here are some tips for businesses looking to enhance their local presence on Twitter.

Search for them

In order to network with your local community, you have to find your local community. And there are a few ways you can do this.

First, try Twitter’s advanced search. Here, you can enter keywords (like your business name, industry, or a common search term a customer might use). You can opt to turn on your location settings, and Twitter will serve up search results that are from Twitter users near your own location.

Alternatively, you can use third-party Twitter apps to find different segments of your local community. Nearby Tweets will display tweets near you if you share your location, while Trendsmap will show you trending topics in your area – perfect for sparking or joining a conversation.

It’s smart to create a Twitter list or saved search when using these resources, so you have one dedicated place to view – and interact with – local tweets.

Know your hashtags

Once you’ve located your local community on Twitter, it’s time to start networking with them.

Pay attention to any hashtags or keywords that they use frequently. Many local communities have built grassroots ways of organizing themselves on Twitter – like using a hashtag whenever they post a local event, and another one when they write a local restaurant review, for instance.

When you understand which hashtags are used by your community, you can join in! Tweet relevant, timely thoughts, ideas and opinions directed to your community, and use the appropriate hashtag. Be sure that whatever you tweet isn’t hashtag hijacking (i.e. make sure it’s relevant to the hashtag you’re using), and always add something of value.

Offer local deals

When you’ve established yourself as a conscientious local tweeter, regularly participating in community events, you can move on to the real reason you’re on Twitter – to get more business.

People on Twitter don’t like being marketed to directly, so an aggressive sales pitch probably isn’t the way to go. However, if you have been networking effectively within your community, sprinkling in some promotional tweets every now and then won’t be frowned upon.

Again, you want to make sure you are offering your local customers something of value. So rather than simple tweeting that they should come visit their store, give them a reason to: offer a Twitter-only, time-limited promotion or coupon. This will show your local community that you want to give them something back.

When promoting your business to your local customers on Twitter, just remember that they didn’t sign up to be bombarded with advertisements. Make sure that the majority of your tweets (80 percent or more) are not self-promotional, and instead contribute to the community itself.

(Map image via Shutterstock)

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