How can Local Businesses dominate Twitter? I’ve recently been working with local bike shops to bring in more customers via creating a tailored social media strategy. Due to the sensitive nature of B2B, I can’t share exact examples or name the companies that I’m working with. However, I will be using examples from a generic Bike shop as I share some pretty easy to implement local social marketing tips for Twitter.
Twitter Follower Mosaic by JoelLaz under CC
Step 1. Join Twitter & Create your profile.
When you join you will want to complete your profile. Write a catchy bio, upload an exciting image to your profile, and be sure to design a professional eye-catching twitter background. A good twitter background can make / break your profile. It’s just a good way to show a certain level of professionalism.
Step 2. Follow Twitterers near you with same interests.
For the example of the bike shop we will do a search for: bike near:dayton,oh within:50mi
What this search tells us is we’re looking for anyone who has used the word ‘bike’ and lives within 50 miles of Dayton, ohio. If you’re a restaurant you could use pizza in place of bike, or any number of terms related to things your customers might be tweeting about.
I will generally only go about 3 pages back. I’m really just looking for some recent active users who have that term fresh in their mind. Repeat this step with every keyword you can think of till you’ve done about 250 max. I recommend never doing more than 150-250 per day, it’s not worth getting your twitter account suspended, or flagged for spamming.
You really just want to get some bicycle enthusiasts to read your tweets. These people will also be sharing your tweets in the future if you provide value to the community. Think outside the box when coming up w/ new terms example: Schwinn, bike, bicycle, cycling, triathlon, etc…
If you happen to see interesting bike fact related tweets or blog posts on biking, or even events going on – go ahead and retweet them. This will help build up your tweet value, and foster some good will.
Step 3. Follow Your LOCAL Twitterati.
I know the call letters for one of the news stations here in Dayton, OH is WDTN. I further have been able to find the twitter accounts of some of the newscasters. I spent awhile and if you look at who they follow, sometimes it’s a who’s who in the city, what I like to call your “Local Twitterati”.
I’ve found radio djs, business owners, churches, charities, bloggers, and more. They are the people with the most clout, or influence. The better your relationship with these people the more likely you are to end up on the news, in papers, or on the radio.
Step 4. Make a Master Tweet List.
Make a list of about 100 tweets that you could send out relative to your topic. 100 is a minimum, you could do 1000 if you like. Remember when collecting these quotes, or tweets to keep them around 130 characters. Twitter allows 140 characters but you want people to be able to add: “RT @yourusername” before each tweet in case they retweet them.
These can be bicycle safety tips, riding tips, fitness tips, quotes on bicycles, blog posts on bicycles, etc… Be creative and use a variety of different bike related tweets. If you have space add the hashtags: #bike #cycling #bicycle. This will increase the amount of times your tweets are found, and increase the number of people who end up following you on Twitter.
Step 5: Schedule your Tweets.
There are numerous different resources for managing twitter, and scheduling tweets. My favorite so happens to be HootSuite, or SocialOomph (Paid Version only for scheduling). Just login, decide when you want to schedule your tweets, and set it up to tweet.
It’s pretty easy and self-explanatory. Don’t schedule them all in a row, spread them out a bit, I’d recommend maybe 1-5 tweets per day that are automated, and only if they aren’t spammy. Informational tips are great, in that they provide value, and increase your influence and trust among your followers.
Step 6: Follow up on your Twitter Activities.
Check into your account daily and follow up with every @reply / mention that you get. When someone mentions your name like @patrickcurl in a tweet, it shows up in your mentions on the sidebar. Being effective on twitter is about being polite as well. Always respond to mentions, retweets, and direct messages (dm’s). If you only reply and say ‘thanks for the retweet’, thanks for following, etc…
You also might want to take a minute and look at people who’ve followed you, and follow them back in kind. This is optional but can help breed good will with your followers.
Step 7: Cross Link your Social Media Accounts.
Link your twitter account with your Facebook page, blog, website, and social networks. There are many different ways to do this from facebook apps, blog plug-ins, using tools like ping.fm, and much more.
Step 8: Integrate the New Social Media with your Old School Media.
Further you will want to let all of your current customers know about your new Twitter account, this will get you a lot more twitter followers. It’s also recommended that you give specials for your Twitter Followers and Facebook Fans (Likers). Be sure to integrate your twitter, facebook, and other networks by adding icons to your ads in newspapers, magazines, coupon books, and more.
Extra Tip: If you’re going to use Foursquare, I recommend you give a special to people who check-in, and an even better special to whoever is currently the Mayor of your venue. Be sure to hang a sign letting people know this, the more people who check in the more people here about your business and might end up checking it out.
Patrick Curl (patrickcurl.com) is a veteran when it comes to social media strategy, a freelance writer, blogger. His guest posts have been featured on several popular blogs. He offers businesses real solutions for maximizing social networks, and building their overall web presence from the ground up. You can also submit guest posts and share your Twitter tips.