5 Ways to Use Twitter to Connect With Local Customers

social media how toDoes your business rely on local customers? Are you looking for ways to make your business more visible in your neighborhood?

You know that the Internet puts your business within a few keystrokes of people anywhere around the world. But did you know that social media tools, especially Twitter, help you pinpoint people who live and work in your neighborhood?

Twitter allows you to locate people who live or tweet in your city or neighborhood, people you know, as well as people you don’t yet know. This makes Twitter the ideal tool for infiltrating your neighborhood.

How to Search for Local People

Most Twitter users occasionally tweet about the things around them. This means that you can find local people by searching tweets for things in or near your business location.

For example, you can search for:

  • City name
  • Neighborhood or community name
  • Local landmarks
  • Local businesses
  • Event venues, museums and public locations
  • Local fairs, parades and community events
  • Hashtag identifiers for a local community or event

When you search for your city name on Twitter, you have to look for all of the possible ways people may type it. Experiment with the options to figure out which ones give you the best search results. You can also use Twitter’s search operators to string together multiple options in one search or exclude items from your results.

twitter help center

From this list you can fine-tune your search query.

#1: Find Local People Using Tweets Near You

Twitter lets you search through current tweets to find the name of your city, a neighborhood name, a local landmark or a business. You can narrow the results to only the tweets posted near your location.

Search Twitter for your city name.

Use the Twitter search box to find tweets about your location. Twitter shows the most recent tweets that match your search on the Tweets tab.

twitter search city tempe tweets redacted

The Tweets tab shows current tweets that contain the city name "Tempe, AZ."

View the tweets posted near you.

Click the Tweets Near You tab. Twitter shows a list of the most recent tweets that match your search posted by people near your current location.

twitter search city

Click the Tweets Near You tab to find tweets in your results posted by people near your location.

Review the list of tweets and follow local people.

Read the tweets in your search results. When you find a tweet from someone who might be in your target location, click the account name. Twitter shows you a brief account profile in the flyout in the right pane. In the flyout, click Follow to add this person to your Twitter community.

twin palms hotel flyout

The flyout shows a brief Twitter profile with the Follow button.

#2: Find Local People With Your City Name in Their Profile

Twitter allows you to search through profiles to find people who list your city name. Unfortunately, Twitter only shows a few people, not everyone who lists your city in their profile.

Search Twitter for your city name.

Search for your city name (and its variations) in the Twitter search box. Twitter shows the most recent tweets that match your search on the Tweets tab.

Search for your city name in profiles.

Click the People tab. Twitter shows a list of people whose profile location contains your city name.

twitter search

Click the People tab to find people who list your city name in their profile.

Review the list and add local people.

Review the people in your search results. Click the account name to display a brief Twitter profile in the flyout. Click Follow to add a person to your Twitter community.

#3: Find Local People With Twitter Advanced Search

Twitter’s advanced search page allows you to add geography to your search. For example, you can search through the most recent tweets posted within 1 or 5 miles of a city by name or zip code. The search results are current tweets, so every time you do this search, you get different results.

Display the Twitter advanced search page.

Set your geography range.

In the Places box, identify your city by name or zip code, and select your range using the drop-down options.

twitter search advanced

Twitter lets you search for all tweets near your city by name or zip code.

Review the list of tweets and follow local people.

Read the tweets in your search results. When you find a tweet from someone you want to follow, hover your mouse over the account name. Twitter shows a brief account profile in a hovercard.

twitter search advanced

You can follow a Twitter user from the hovercard or expand it to see more profile information.

Click More to see the expanded hovercard with more profile details. Click Follow to add this person to your Twitter community.

twitter search advanced

You can follow a local Twitter user from the hovercard.

#4: Find Local People Using Twitter Grader

There are many Twitter search tools developed by other companies that help you search through the tweet stream and Twitter profiles to find people in your locale. Twitter Grader evaluates the effectiveness of Twitter users by calculating a grade from 1 to 100. They list the top 50 people in each city as the Twitter Elite.

Display the Twitter Grader Top Users by Location page.

Search for people in your city.

twitter grader

Twitter Grader is a free tool that allows you to check the power of your Twitter profile compared to millions of other users who have been graded.

Review the list of people.

Twitter Grader shows the Twitter Elite list for your city. When you find a person you want to follow, click the Twitter account name.

twitter grader

Locate a person you want to follow and click on the Twitter account name.

Click on the full name.

Twitter Grader shows an account summary. Click on the full name. Twitter Grader pulls up the Twitter profile for the user.

twitter grader account summary

Click on the Full Name to display the Twitter profile for this user.

Follow the user.

In the Twitter profile, click Follow to add this person to your Twitter community.

#5: Find Local People Using Twellowhood.

Twellow is a public Twitter directory. The Twellowhood feature allows you to find people by location.

Display the Twellowhood map page.

On the Twellowhood map, click your continent, then country, then state or province.

twellowhood

Twellow lets you drill down to a city from a world map.

Select your city.

Twellowhood displays a list of cities with Twitter users for your state or province. Click on your city name in the list.

twellowhood city list

Twellow displays a list of cities with the number of Twitter users in each city.

Review the list of Twitter users and choose people to follow.

Twellow displays a list of Twitter users in your city. Review the people in your search results. When you find someone you want to follow, click the account name.

twellowhood user list

Click on the Twitter name to display the Twitter profile for this user.

Follow the user.

Twellow pulls up the Twitter profile for the user. In the Twitter profile, click Follow to add this person to your Twitter community.

How do you reach out to new people on Twitter? Have you tried any of these tools? Do you have other strategies that work for you? Share your successes in the comments box below.

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About the Author, Charlene Kingston

Charlene Kingston teaches small businesses how to build a strong online presence with a thriving community through her blog, free webinars, courses, ebooks and personal consultations at the Social Media DIY Workshop. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.colemanmg.com Antonio Coleman

    This is good because if you offer marketing services or something..because your able to connect to with them and hopefully bring them in as clients.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • http://askaaronlee.com Aaron Lee

    Awesome, I knew a few of them but I didnt know there was a twellowhood, thanks for that!

    Now I can test it and see if there are more countries it in, notice not many of these directories are worldwide

  • http://www.mybusinesspresence.com/ Karen Clark

    One thing I’d add is once you follow them (or even if you don’t) add them to a Twitter list for your area. I have a few local lists so I can read the stream of just local people when I want to increase interaction among those with whom I want to do local business – or just want to catch up with local happenings.

    I also do the above suggestions for areas in which I’d LIKE to do business, as a way to get to know the people and community.

    Great article!
    Karen Clark

  • http://www.VirtuallyYoursFromCT.com/ Anne-Marie Regish

    Fantastic article Charlene! And thanks for additional tips Karen @MyBizPresence!

  • DonnaGilliland

    Charlene, thanks for the tips. Thanks @CharleneKingston for a great article all of us should keep close at our side for reminder. Have a fabulous week. Cheers, Donna

  • http://GenerosityMarketing.com/ Bryan Bliss

    Karen is on the right track. using lists is my favoritet way to find, engage and attract local twitter users. Appreciate the work curating and assembling other local users have done in the lists that THEY build. when you find a local person of interest, check out their whole profile and see if they are included on any lists or if they have created any local lists. often times people will only have a few dozen users on their local list so you can also create your own larger list where you add all of the users on all of the smaller lists you find. the limit is 500 last time i bumped into it. difference between lists and following the individual users is you are able to see the posts of all those in the list without having to add them to your list of those you follow ( in case you’re getting close to or are capped by the 2000 follower limit)
    I made a cool thorough video on finding users, searches, using lists, hashtags, personal vs professional or cause related accounts. http://youtu.be/EsOjqfmTotQ

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com/ Ricardo Bueno

    Hi Charlene,

    I like each of the tips you mentioned above – they’re definitely resourceful!

    What’s worked for me, is finding a list of upcoming Tweetups in my area, and attending as many as I can to solidify connections/relatinoships with other local Twitteratti. There’s nothing quite as effective as spending some face-to-face time with people.

  • kaziam

    OOoooo nice list of tools. I’d never heard of Twellowhood either. Off to go check it out!

  • http://www.snap-marketing.co.uk Snap Marketing Website Design

    This is a really great piece of practical advice and how to make social media marketing really work for you at a local level – and there is much business to be gained by raising your profile locally. We have built a great local client base for our website design business and Twitter has been a great tool in achieving this. One last piece of advice – track and measure where you clients are coming from – then you can keep doing what works and cut out what doesn’t! Thanks for Charlene.

    Matt

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    Great point. I think of Twitter as a great way to infiltrate the neighborhood!

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    So glad that you like TwellowHood! It comes in handy for finding people. I’ve used it to find Twitter users before I travel, also.

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    You make two excellent points, Karen. You don’t have to follow people to put them on a list, and that is a great strategy for reaching out to people. And I love that you use Twitter to break into new service areas. Smart ideas!

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    Thanks, Donna. Have a great week yourself.

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    Twitter lists are a powerful tool, Bryan, like you have pointed out. The last time I pumped up against the list limits, each person could have 20 lists with a limit of 500 members each. That’s a lot of people you can monitor and engage.

    Here’s Twitters official description: http://support.twitter.com/groups/31-twitter-basics/topics/111-features/articles/76460-how-to-use-twitter-lists

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    I love your comment, Ricardo. I think Twitter is powerful for keeping in touch with people you already know. My local Twitter community is like that. We are always running into each other at events around Phoenix. I’ve also met new people on Twitter in far away locations, people I may never meet face to face.

    Tweetups are a great way to expand your online community. Would you like to share some of your resources for locating tweetups? I’m sure they would help others.

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    Thanks. I use Twellowhood a lot. I’m glad to share it with you.

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    Thanks, Matt. I love that you mentioned tracking and measuring results. It’s such an important part of a healthy social media program.

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    Thanks, Matt. I love that you mentioned tracking and measuring results. It’s such an important part of a healthy social media program.

  • http://twitter.com/TenkaInc Tenka

    Is there anyway to find local List?

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    Thanks for asking that great question, Tenka. The easiest way to find a local list is to find someone local. Display their profile. Check to see if that person has created a list of local people. (Check the Lists tab.) Then check to see if that person appears on a list of local people. (Check the listed number next to tweets, following and followers.) If that person doesn’t lead you to a list, try another, and another. Even if you do find a list, keep checking other local people to find even more local lists.

  • http://www.buzzedup.co.uk/ Mick Dickinson

    This is good stuff, thanks. However for #1 and #2 I only see ‘Tweets’, ‘Tweets with Links’ and ‘People’ as options. Am I missing something?

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    Hi Mick. Wow. I just recreated the search myself and the Tweets Near You option is missing for me as well. I can’t find anything in Twitter’s help or blog about removing that feature. It’s possible that they have removed it temporarily because of traffic. They do turn on/off features when traffic is high. I also just checked my iPhone Twitter app. It still have the Nearby option inside search.

    This is a mystery. I’m going to keep unraveling it, and see what I find. Thanks so much for pointing this out.

  • http://twitter.com/ChrisBook Chris Book

    Charlene – Great job spotlighting the importance that social plays in local business. What’s troubling is that businesses face so much guess-work when trying to identify consumers and then once they do, there’s not a great deal that they can do to act upon it. This “next step” is what’s truly hard to accomplish when farming through people who may be near you and then trying to develop a relationship out of little more. T

    he key is facilitating relationships with your in-store customers, turning them into walking advertisements, while leveraging their feedback to improve your business

    ChatterPlug is an AZ-based startup that tackles this problem, helping businesses interact with their on-location customers in a live manner, take action on these interactions with a full-scale analytics platform and operate multi-location businesses through a single interface.

    Really nice post,

    Chris Book

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    Thanks, Chris. Strengthening your relationships with existing customers is always a smart strategy. Good luck with your start up.

  • Rjins

    Great article Charlene!

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    Thanks. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Shilpi Roy – Virtual Assistant

    Thanks Charlene for this great post. I came to know more apps with which Twiiter can be used to connect with our customers.

    Shilpi
    Singha Roy

  • http://www.aaroneden.com/ Aaron Eden

    This is a great article Charlene! Fantastic! This gave me an idea on how to use Twitter more effectively and to target specific leads! Thank you also for introducing apps such as Twellowhood, I will try this one and hopefully it’ll add leads to my business. Keep it up!

    Kudos to SME!

  • http://www.seo-first-page.com/seo-services.html SEO Services

    Really nice post…
    Great article Charlene!

  • http://www.newtraffic.nl Internet marketing specialist

    Lovely post Charlene. The thing is everybody is talking about Social Media but making it functional for business is key before they will adopt it. The Return on Investment of Social Media is important but with the tools you mention it will bring some light in the darkness.

  • http://twitter.com/PRcoffeetalk Karen Lee

    Bet you are ranked high up there in Twitter Grader Aaron!

  • http://twitter.com/PRcoffeetalk Karen Lee

    Dear Charlene, thanks so much!! Nice article! I’m often baffled at why Twitter isn’t adding more of these functionalities offered by third-parties into their own environment in order to make it more powerful and user-friendly. It’s like they are purposely reserving some “secret weapons” for the twitter elites. Imagine how much the average users are missing out if they don’t follow closely social media blogs as such.

  • https://twitter.com/OMAlkmaar OMAlkmaar aka Granny

    Nice post Charlene,

    I shared it on my twitter for the Dutch because your post contains nice tips for them as well ;-)

    Regards,
    Grannie (Hans)
    http://omalkmaar.blogspot.com/

  • http://thesis911.com/ thesis

    absolutely agree with you) you are right!

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    I’m glad the article gave you practical advice.

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    Sometimes, a new idea is all we need to change the way we interact and really grow our business. I believe it’s all about making small changes, small improvements, all the time. I’m honored to be part of your business journey.

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    You make an important point. Businesses can use social media to achieve their goals, but they need some practical education about the tools and strategy first.

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    Thanks for sharing the article with your community. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    I’m glad you enjoyed the article, Karen. I’m constantly amazed by the smart and clever ideas that people have for new Twitter tools.

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  • Matthew Coates

    Charlene, this looks so good I’m going to have to print it out and highlight!

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  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    I’m glad it’s helpful to you, Matthew.

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  • http://anyessays.com/ Custom essays

    Yeah… You are absolutely right! Twitter is really useful in marketing services. And this article introduce a lot of very good tips! A want to thank fo this article! It’s very good information. And it will be very useful for me!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jeffreydean.h Jeff Hendrickson

    This is great Charlene. I’ve been needing this kind of info for my new venture so I’ll come back and take notes asap. Very well done!

  • http://twitter.com/colormkt Tito

    This post is really a good help, twitter grader and twellow are very useful tools.

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    I’m glad you found the article so practical, Jeff.

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    There are many Twitter tools out there, some I find more useful than others. I’m always happy to share my favorites. I’m glad you enjoyed the article, Tito.

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  • Peter Zmijewski

    Awesome ways to connect common people to connect to twitter….can catch us at http://www.how-i-made-my-first-million.com/

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  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    Being able to connect with strangers, every day people, is one of Twitter’s strengths. It’s a great way to meet new people and discover interesting people who might be around the world or right in your backyard.

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  • http://www.icheapmarketing.com iCheap Marketing & Design

    Charlene, thank you for referring to this post

  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    You are welcome!

  • http://twitter.com/Rosa8282 Rosa isela perez

    Hi everybody

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  • http://www.EntrepreneurSuccessPrinciples.com/ Edmund Lee

    Fantastic Twitter tips!  Thanks Charlene for the advice on how to discover people in the local market =)

  • http://twitter.com/vpathak vivek pathak

    Nice marketing tips.  In case you want to track local tweets on the run, check out this free android app : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.orgmeta.LocalChatter

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  • http://sinupret.co.za/ SinupretSa

    Twitter used to be able to let you say for example… “topic near:Johannesburg”  then a few days ago it disappeared, has this feature been disabled?

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  • http://www.cobrapest.com Rob Sullivan

    Charlene as with all of your other posts about twitter you have added to my list of ways to use twitter. I am taking notes as I read all of you posts. Thanks once again.
    Rob Sullivan
    Cobra Pest Control-Rhode Island









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