Twitter Spotlight on locals: How to Connect Ten Ways

Twitter Spotlight on locals: How to Connect Ten Ways

Twitter Spotlight on locals: How to Connect Ten Ways

If you have a brick-and-mortar store, such as a shop or a restaurant, what’s the best way to get people to your place? Although I’ve written a previous post, Social Media: 7 Ways Your Business Can Connect with Locals, there are other ways to get people in the door.

Follow Locals through Search

Now following locals might seem obvious–locals will be your best source of traffic–but how, you might ask? Search on a city, neighborhood, or county (or a hashtag). Find something you have in common with people, whether that’s tweeting about the weather, puppies, or beach photography. Follow locals, retweet their content, and talk to them.

Be Curious

Be Curious

Be Curious

I’ve said it a million times–talk to people. No matter which platform you’re on, that is the key. Ask questions, give compliments, and be generous. Say hello, say thank you, and be curious. Curiosity is your best friend on Twitter.

Tweet Specials

Give people a reason to come into your shop. Tell them what your specials are. What gives your place the edge? Tweet about that. Why did you start your business? Tweet about that. You can also “pin” a tweet to the top of your feed so it’s the first thing visitors see when visiting your Twitter stream. You can even “pin” that tweet on mobile.

Add High Quality Content

Look at the analytics on your Twitter. Who’s following you, and what do they like? If you want more of the same kind of followers, give your audience what they want. Do they like technical content? Art? Give them that.

Use Beautiful Images

Use Beautiful Images

Use Beautiful Images

There are so many images to choose from. If you’re a restaurant, tweet images of your food. If you’re a shop, tweet what you have for sale. And make the images beautiful! I see so many accounts with ugly images. Don’t be that business!

Use Maps

Use Maps

Use Maps

Tell people how to get to your shop! Go to Google Maps, and map a nearby location. Now take a screenshot of the route, add a caption, and pin it to the top of your feed.

Use the Heck out of Lists

Make lists, use them daily, and share them with others. They’re free and make you look pro. Also, if you don’t use lists, you will surely go insane. You Too Can Be A Guru’s Bridget Willard has some terrific examples of good lists here: Organize Your Twitter Stream–Use Lists. You can create lists by city, neighborhood, or county.

Join Chats Your Audience Would Like

Check your analytics and join chats that will draw in people who are your best audience. Are the people techies? Join a techie chat! Are they boomers? Join a Boomer Chat! A couple of my favorites are: #BufferChat (Wednesday mornings at 9 am Pacific) and #DigiBlogChat (my chat about all things digital/blogging Tuesdays at 1 pm Pacific). Twubs has a list of chats that may interest you.

Make Followers Feel Like Friends

Make Followers Feel Like Friends

Make Followers Feel Like Friends

Share what excites you. Share non-business content, too. Tips on things you have learned. Maybe a secret place nearby, a good venue in the area, or an app you really like. Put up posts from museums, or a little trick you learned.

Meet in Person

Of course, this is ultimately what you want. Make sure their visit is positive by giving the same great customer service and friendliness that they experience on your social media.

How Do You Get People in the Door?

Did I miss anything? I really do want to know! Leave me a comment! Thank you.

Twitter Lists for the Power User

After having seen people complaining about being listed on Twitter, I thought it was time to update this post.

You might have seen other people using lists on Twitter, or dabbled in creating lists once upon a time, when you first joined Twitter. Maybe you have been added to others’ lists and are curious about why people create them. If so, this post is for you!

Lists are a good thing!

First of all, being listed means that someone thinks your content is valuable. I don’t know how the opposite view got started, but it’s out there now. People will say in their profiles no lists please. You know what? I want people to list me! Please list me! Also: if someone really wants to stalk you, they could put you on a private list and you’d never know. Tweets are public, unless your account is private.

Why Twitter Lists?

Lists are an effective tool for organizing people you want to keep close at hand, those you don’t want to miss, or those you want to keep track of every day. Lists are also a way to gauge an account’s effectiveness. If you’re trying to decide whether to follow an account, check to see if that account is on anyone’s list. If not, that account may have bought fake followers.

Improve Your Followers to Following Ratio

You don’t have to follow the people you list. So you could put all the major news organizations on a list instead of following them all. And if you know someone will never follow you back (for example, @DalaiLama follows NOBODY), you can put him or her on a list. If you add those folks to a list, it will improve your followers:following ratio and also help you cut down on the noise while raising the quality of the tweets you see.

The Nuts and Bolts

Twitter allows you to have 1,000 lists with up to 5,000 accounts each. Even for a power user, that’s a lot of lists! Advanced Twitter users spend a lot of time maintaining lists, you’ll discover. So before you create your own, I recommend you go shopping and look at how people in your industry set up their lists. For example, take a look at Robert Scoble’s (@Scobleizer) fabulous lists. Could you use similar naming conventions? Or could you subscribe to one or more of his lists rather than reinventing the wheel?

Private Versus Public Lists

Private lists are those that only you can see. Public lists are for everyone. One benefit of having a public list is that you can offer it as a service to your followers. For example, @WindowWorksUSA has a list called San Francisco, which is a list of people who are in San Francisco (you can see the list icon on the left in the image below). You could occasionally send a tweet letting your followers know that the list is available. When you update the list, you could even let your followers know that, too.

Three Types of Lists

To see lists, go to a Twitter profile page, click on “lists,” (see above) and you’ll see the lists you create, lists you’re subscribed to, and lists you’re on.

Subscribe to Interesting Lists

While you’re shopping for lists, you will see some interesting ones. Subscribe to them by simply clicking on the “Follow” button.

Examples of Lists

You might have a list called “Social People,” with the people you want to follow and retweet every day. You could also have a private list called “Enemies,” with your competitors on it. If you’re researching something embarrassing, you could create a private list for that. Or, if you have a hobby, such as watching cat videos, you could create a list called “Crazy Cat Ladies.”

Display your lists so you can quickly see who's tweeting what

Display your lists so you can quickly see who’s tweeting what

Reading Tweets from a List

If you have a scheduler, such as HootSuite, in your arsenal of Twitter Tools, you can create a column for any list. So, for example, say you have subscribed to @Scobleizer’s list, Tech News. You can create a column and follow the technology news every morning through Twitter! Just scroll until you see a story you want to read. And if you’re looking for content to retweet, how about a list called “Retweetables” of your favorite sources (those that your audience would find valuable)?

How Do You Use Lists?

You’ve probably seen some imaginative lists out there! Let me know how you use lists, or ways you’ve seen others use them that you like, or dislike. Please leave a comment, below.

Twitter: Best Practices

Twitter Best Practices

Twitter Best Practices

You’ve heard so much about Twitter and how to tweet, schedule, run tweetchats, etc. You may be running your own account, or managing one for someone else. What best practices still apply? Here are some things I’ve learned over about six years.

Talk to People

I’m tired of saying to engage, so will say it another way: talk to people. Chat with them, thank them, tell them stuff, retweet their pictures, read their articles and blogs, laugh at their jokes. You know–much like you would in real life! As Derek Silvers says in his video there’s A Real Person A Lot Like You on the other side of that computer. Hat tip to bestie Bridget Willard (@YouTooCanBeGuru) for that video.

Subscribe to Toyota Equipment's Lists on Twitter

Subscribe to Toyota Equipment’s Lists on Twitter

Use Lists

Lists are the great underutilized tool of Twitter. Here’s my post about lists for the power user if you’d like to read it. And if you want to see an example of someone who really uses lists, check out Toyota Equipment’s (@ToyotaEquipment) lists. While you’re there, follow them and subscribe to a few lists. You won’t be sorry.

Discover the Discovery Tab

If you click on the Discovery tab, while you’re on Twitter, you’ll see a mix of popular tweets and tweets from those you know and like. It’s an easy way to find content to retweet, see what’s trending among friends, and catch up quickly.

The Hashtag Can Sarcastically Undercut Your Own Tweet

The Hashtag Can Sarcastically Undercut Your Own Tweet

Employ Hashtags

A hashtag helps you organize your tweets, find others’ tweets, have a decent tweetchat, and mock your own tweet. It has even evolved into something else, as this fab article from the New York Times, In Praise of the Hashtag, points out.

Retweet with an Image

If you want to be a super resource, tweet someone else’s link, but add an image! This super charges their tweet, and makes both of you look good. Here’s the how-to directly from Twitter. It takes maybe 15 more seconds to do.

Report Spammers

Twitter is a community. Reporting spammers helps everyone. Most spammers don’t last too long on Twitter because they tend to get shut down fairly quickly. Wouldn’t it be nice, though, as Hunter Walk says, if Twitter closed the loop and told us how our efforts stop spammers? Yes, it would be.

Follow People

Don’t be a snob. You don’t know who people know. For instance, there’s a contractor who doesn’t follow me back because I’m not in his neighborhood. Little does he know I live about 10 miles away from him! And I run accounts that would retweet his content and probably also use his services. I tend to follow anyone who looks legit if their content is at all interesting. I don’t follow bots, spammers, porn accounts, or repetitious accounts.

Join Tweetchats!

Want to know who’s real and who talks? Join tweetchats in your area of expertise and interest. For fun, you could even engage in some way outside your usual area. If you’d like to join mine, it’s #DigiBlogChat (Tuesdays at 1 pm PST). Here’s my post about how to participate in tweetchats.

Twitter isn't all glitter and unicorns

Twitter isn’t all glitter and unicorns

Believe in the Power

Twitter isn’t all unicorns and fairy dust and glitter. But you can meet real people. You can discover your own deeper interests, keep up on the news, enter contests (if that’s your thing), or even donate a kidney, as my buddy Amy Donohue (@TheFabSocial) did. (Her tweetchat on live organ donation is #KidneyChat Mondays at 7 pm pst, by the way).

What’s Your Favorite Best Practice?

Did I forget one? Probably. What’s yours?


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!

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