Audience: Local Business and Social Media

San Francisco

Are you creating a brand within a certain geographic area? Are you wondering where to begin locating local customers? There are plenty of ways to connect with locals while still not ignoring a wider audience! Starting with a simple plan is the best way to go. Here are a few ideas.


Facebook is still one of the stickiest and best platforms for engagement. Despite all the complaining people do about it, Facebook is still probably the most popular platform. Use photographs and behind-the-scenes posts to engage with users. Some limited tagging can be good, too, if your business model has you out in the field engaging with your clients. For instance, a car dealer might take a photo of a recent client with their new car and tag that person on Facebook. You can also do a search within your city to find other potential clients nearby.

Use Lists on Twitter

In Twitter, you can create lists of locals. For instance, I have lists of local people within the San Francisco Bay Area. You could create a list for your city, your county, or your state depending upon where you do business. Even if you’re an online-only business, you might be limited geographically.

Use Advanced Search within Twitter

If your business has a limited range, you can specify a certain geographic area within Twitter using advanced search. This feature is excellent for service businesses, in particular. Specify a particular distance from a city, say 15 miles. You can use this feature even if you don’t live some place yet. Say you’re moving to San Francisco and want to hear what people there are saying–you can still specific accounts tweeting near San Francisco. Twitter itself has some pretty good examples of search terms.

Check Local Sports Teams and Events

You could look at the conversations around local sports teams or events. For instance, the New York City Marathon is trending as I write this. If my business was in New York City, I could see who’s going to an event by searching for a hashtag, such as #NYCMarathon, and see who’s talking about the event. That could be great for someone who sells souvenirs or even a local taxi business.

See Who Follows the Local News

People who follow local news channels may include your audience. See who follows the news outlets or city government where you live. You may want to have conversations with some of the more active users.

Use HootSuite’s Chrome Extension with Google Maps

Did you know with HootSuite’s plugin you can enter your business address into Google and then check local tweets nearby? This is a very cool way to see active people near a particular address. This might be the perfect way to see what people are talking about in a specific neighborhood.

How Do You Find Locals?

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments! Thanks!


  1. Good morning Carol,

    My target audience is an owner or an occupant of a warehouse or manufacturing building in Southern California. I generally work in the 20,000-70,000 sf range. Any suggestions on tapping in to that market?


    • [Interrupting]

      I’d start putting on a list (and lightly stalking) industrial and manufacturing companies. People often move, as you know. So, once you find them, put them on a list and make it a priority to start conversations (even if it’s not about moving right now).

      What you want is “top of mind.” Oh wait, I need a floor leveling place – we follow @CovaltLevling on Twitter. They sent us a flyer, and my superintendent is meeting them at a job to bid it as I type.

      So for you, as you develop these relationships, they’ll think of you if they want to move or expand.

      That’s my two cents.

    • Hello Allen,

      What Bridget says is fabulous advice. Another strategy is to shop around for other people’s Orange County or Warehouse or Manufacturing lists. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. I’d follow the people on those lists aggressively, lightly stalk (as Bridget says), and be seen as the problem solver. Find out what their problems are and try to solve them.

      Lists solve so many problems. And you may find something in common with those companies. Then I’d try to drive the conversations offline, find an excuse to meet, and become more top of mind, always. For instance, “hey, I saw this article…thought you’d like it.” Or how about, “I’m going to be nearby, and would love to take you to your favorite coffee shop.” And be generous.

      Also search for certain key words, like “moving,” “relocating,” etc., in your Twitter feed.

      Hope that helps!

  2. This is great. I started an “Orange County” list for the same reason. We don’t work in San Diego or Phoenix, etc.

    Though I love people all over this nation on Twitter, it’s good to connect with the people at home and those are great suggestions!

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