Want more customers for your local business? Have you considered using Twitter to connect with customers?
In this article, you’ll discover how to use Twitter ads and organic techniques to bring more foot traffic to your local business.
#1: How to Build a Local Audience via a Twitter Follower Campaign
Before you reach out to potential customers on Twitter, you need to have people following your feed. It’s difficult to put an exact number on how many followers your Twitter account should have. It depends on the size of your business and the potential customer base in your community. Perhaps a few thousand is enough if you run a local business like a burger joint or you’re a CPA with only local clientele.
If you lack a good follower base, consider running a Twitter follower campaign. To set up a campaign, go to ads.twitter.com and sign into your Twitter Ads account. In the upper-right corner of the screen, click Create Campaign.
Then select Followers as the objective of your campaign.
On the next page, fill in your campaign details and select your funding source (if you haven’t advertised on Twitter before). Also set a budget and enter your campaign start and end dates.
Next, set up your first ad group. You’ll be bidding against other Twitter advertisers to reach your target audience so ad rates aren’t set in stone. However, rates generally average around $2.50–$3.50 per follower.
Define the Target Audience for Your Twitter Campaign
Next, define the audience you’re targeting. With Twitter’s demographics filters, you can narrow your audience by:
- Age range
- Technology used
- Whether they’re using a new device
Think about how you can use Twitter’s demographic filters to zero in on your potential customers and turn them into followers.
If you run a local barbershop, you might choose to market to males, while a local nail salon might target females. A local arcade may use Twitter’s targeting filters to reach a younger demographic, while an audiologist will likely focus on older followers.
If you have a non-English–speaking customer base, click in the Locations, Languages, and Technology field and select Languages to browse other language options.
The Platforms targeting option will let you target people using iOS or Android devices, or desktop and laptop computers. These options can come in handy if you run a computer repair shop or sell smartphone cases. Similarly, the option to target owners of new devices would be helpful if you sell tablet or phone cases, or accessories for laptop or desktop computers and want to target customers with new devices.
If you scroll down to Audience Features, you’ll find options to target potential followers based on their behavior on Twitter, including:
- Events they’ve mentioned
- Interests they’ve tweeted about
- Topics they’ve discussed
- Follower lookalikes (followers who are likely to have similar interests to followers of another Twitter account you identify)
- Keywords they’ve used
- Movies and TV shows they’ve mentioned
Choose Your Twitter Ad Creative
The last step is to choose your ad creative. Consider giving your potential Twitter audience an incentive to follow your account. That incentive could be anything from a gift card to branded promotional items you send to the 100th or 1,000th follower.
The best rewards involve discounts or giveaways of your products or services. This tactic is even more effective if the reward encourages people to visit your business in person to claim it. For instance, if you run a local accounting firm, you might offer a discount on tax preparation or other financial services for some of your new Twitter followers. For a hair salon, you could offer a free trim or shampoo and blow-out to a few of your newest followers.
Once you’ve filled in all of your Twitter campaign details, you’re ready to launch your campaign.
Give New Followers a Reason to Keep Following You
After the time and investment you put into creating a Twitter campaign, you’ll need to keep your new followers engaged. If you see your number of new followers drop after your campaign, it means you failed to provide valuable content to keep them interested.
Of course, you want new followers to do more than just follow you. You want them to interact with your business, hopefully by visiting and making a purchase. Tweet content that will make them want to do both.
For a local bakery, you might tweet every morning when the donuts, croissants, and bagels are out of the oven. This encourages local followers to monitor your feed closely to know when to stop in for their favorite freshly baked pastry treat. If you run a local pharmacy and are offering flu shots, tweet out this information to potential customers. Regularly tweet out the latest on recalls or new medications to keep customers informed.
You can also post contests and giveaways exclusively for your Twitter following to give people a reason to keep following you and ensure they never miss a tweet.
#2: How to Identify and Reach Out to Local Prospects on Twitter
In addition to running Twitter ads, you can also search for potential customers who may need your products or services, and let them know about your offerings. Begin by brainstorming what your potential customers might be tweeting about.
An auto repair shop could look for local people tweeting about needing a new transmission or a brake pad replacement. A dental office might search for people complaining about a toothache or in need of a root canal. If you manage a cafe, you could search for tweets about people looking for a latte, cappuccino, or just a plain old cup of joe in your neighborhood.
Once you’ve figured out what your ideal customer might be tweeting about, use Twitter’s advanced search features to find them.
To do a basic search, type your keyword—”coffee” for this example—in the Twitter search box and press Enter.
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Use the search filters on the right to narrow your search. Choose From Anyone because you don’t want to limit this search to people following you. Under Location, choose Anywhere or Near You. Your choice depends on if you want to limit your search to people near your location or cast your net a bit wider.
To access Twitter’s Advanced Search feature, click the Advanced Search link in the Search Filters box. Or click the three dots to the right of the search box and select Advanced Search from the drop-down menu.
In the Advanced Search window, you’ll find an extensive list of options to narrow your search. Twitter will find tweets using any terms you enter in the All of These Words box. If you want to find an exact phrase, type it into the This Exact Phrase box.
Search for the comments and questions your target audience might be tweeting about. For a cafe, a potential customer might tweet something like “need coffee.” In this case, enter that search term under This Exact Phrase.
At the bottom of the window, you’ll find an option to narrow your search by timeframe.
After you enter your search parameters, click Search at the top right of the window. Look through your search results to find comments you might respond to and conversations you could join. If your search results aren’t relevant, you may need to tweak your search parameters a bit and try again.
When you find relevant tweets from people in your area, reach out to those Twitter users and respond to their tweets. For a local cafe, tell caffeine junkies where they can find a cup of java in your town. If you own an auto repair shop, tell people where they can get repairs. For a dentist’s office, tell the person with the toothache they should make an appointment.
#3: How to Promote Your Local Store and Products on Twitter
Once you’ve developed a following on Twitter, here are a few ways to use your account to support your business.
Tell People How to Buy From You
One of the most obvious ways to promote your business on Twitter requires only a small investment of time but forgetting to do it would be a huge lost opportunity. Make sure you include your business address, phone number, and hours where appropriate on your Twitter account. Show prospective customers how to take the next step if they’re interested in your products or services.
You could also share a link to take customers directly to this information on a landing page. Florida eatery Venus Pizzeria doesn’t list their hours but does include an address and phone number on their Twitter account. The company also provides a link to a full menu page for digital orders.
Holistic San Diego dentist Dr. Fen-Hui Chen doesn’t include any of her contact information directly on her Twitter account. Fortunately, potential patients just need to click on the link on her Twitter page to be taken directly to a landing page with the address, phone number, and online booking system for appointments.
Tweet Photos and Videos About Your Products, Services, and Team
As the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. The same goes for videos.
Check out this mouth-watering photo tweeted by Annie’s Burger Shack in Nottingham, UK. Doesn’t it make you want to swim the Atlantic—or the English channel—just to get a bite?
If you run a local barbershop, share photos or videos of your work. This could be a video of a specialty cut or beard trim in progress or a photo of the end result. If you’re a realtor, tweet photos or even walkthroughs of your latest listings. What better way to tempt potential homebuyers to call you for a showing?
You could also post photos of your team at work or a behind-the-scenes look at how your business creates the product or service your customers love. If you run a local moving service, share images of your team loading a sofa or dining room table into your truck. If you own a local lawn service, show team members trimming grass and removing tree limbs and debris.
Spotlight your employees if they regularly work directly with customers. Tweet something interesting to help customers get to know your team better. It could be a personal passion, a loveable personality quirk, or just why they enjoy what they do. A video or photo will make the experience even more intimate for customers.
You also need a message to emphasize the values of your brand. If you run a farm-to-table restaurant, share photos from the local farms that produce your ingredients. This shows customers the farmers they support by visiting your restaurant. It engages them and makes them feel like they’re making a difference too.
Share Up-to-Date Information About Your Business
Your tweets should be more than just promotional. You can also use your Twitter feed as a way to keep customers informed about your business. Here are a few ways to do that:
Talk about special seasonal offerings. If you operate a florist shop, you might tweet out special Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day offerings.
Discuss new products or services. Perhaps you work as an independent financial advisor. If you have a new service that helps clients apply for small business loans, tweet about it to your followers.
Share upcoming or ongoing changes to your business. In this post, Steak-N-Egg Diner in Tenleytown, DC tweeted about changing hours due to construction of a new restaurant.
Whether you own a local five-and-dime, a self-service laundromat, or an ice cream parlor, Twitter features helpful tools to drive customer foot traffic through your front door. All you need are the skills to harness the power of Twitter and put it to work for you.
It’s important to cultivate an audience that comments, likes, and retweets your content regularly. If you find your followers aren’t engaged—even after a successful client campaign draws in a larger audience—you may need to rethink your content.
What do you think? Will you try any of these tips to connect with local customers on Twitter? How do you use Twitter to drive foot traffic to your business? Share your thoughts in the comments below.