Whenever I talk with a small business owner about Twitter, I usually get this response, “I just don’t get Twitter!”
As a small business owner myself, I can relate. I’ve had a tough time getting a handle on Twitter. I have an account and I tweet occasionally, but I’ve been pretty sure that I’m missing the boat on using Twitter as a marketing tool for my business.
I didn’t know how sure I was until the first night of the Social Media Success Summit 2010, when I heard the keynote address of Guy Kawasaki, the founder of Alltop.com.
I learned more about Twitter in that 90 minute presentation than I’ve learned anywhere else. In an earlier post, I talked about where to find content to share on Twitter. But today I’ll share one of the most powerful uses for Twitter – the search function.
One of the first things you should search is your own company or brand. Go to search.twitter.com and find out what people are saying about it. As you view the results, you’ll have the opportunity to engage people, because if you see a positive or negative comment, for that matter, you can respond directly to that tweet.
The next thing you’ll want to search is your competition to see how they fare in the Twittersphere. Then, you can compare your brand with your competitor by typing in your company’s name, followed by the word “OR” and your competitor’s name.
The search function is also useful for prospecting for clients. Let’s say you own a camera store in Orlando, FL. You can do a general search for photography, and get hundreds of results from all over the world. But, if you use the advanced search feature, you can narrow down that search by city or zip code. For example, you could search for photography within a 25-mile radius of the Orlando zip code of 32826. You can narrow that down further, or expand it – choosing a distance between 1 and 1,000 miles.
When you set up a profile on Twitter, you can include keywords about your profession in your username and bio. Instead of using Twitter search, you can search for those keywords in Google. To find a keyword like photographer in the title, go to Google, and put the following : intitle:”photographer* on twitter” site:twitter.com in the search field. The results show everyone who has the term “photographer” in their title.
To search for the word photographer in a Twitter user’s bio, you would put the following in the search field: intext: “bio *photographer” site: twitter.com.
You can see how handy this type of search can be to help you find your target market on Twitter.
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