We previously posted an article on setting up a Twitter account for your micro business, but we wanted to expand on that and offer insight into how to use the platform to find new business leads or find customers already talking about your company using the site’s search feature.
You might have a good grasp of what Twitter is and how it works, but you probably don’t know that in many respects it’s a real time search engine that can tell you what people are talking about and what they are saying. People could be talking about your business, what you offer in your area, or even asking for recommendations from friends. Unless you know how to tap into the search tools, you’ll never know. Here’s how to utilize Twitter’s search to listen and determine who you should be connecting to.
To get started, log onto search.twitter.com and select the “Advanced Search” link.
The advanced search is a robust tool that allows you to browse Twitter by select keywords (or filter ones out) and to tie your search to a geographical area. For example, if you are a diner in Boston, you can do a search for people discussing meals in your target area.
Once you have added in all of the search terms, click the “Search” button at the bottom of the page.
When the search has been completed, take a look at the data to see if it is showing you relevant Tweets. If it isn’t, you can easily hit the back button on your browser to further broaden or refine the search. Once you have your search created, you can do a number of things to save the parameters for a future search including bookmarking the page or adding the query’s feed into your RSS reader or third party tool. With the RSS method, you can have the updates sent directly to your email account using many different platforms.
When you are comfortable with the data, be sure to set up a regular listening schedule to get a sense of the conversation being had around the topic. After listening for a while, you should look for the best opportunity to join the conversation on behalf of your company. Twitter is one large cocktail party conversation, if there is something that you can offer insight into, feel free to chime in. If the conversation is around your product or something that you offer, you can offer your services, but don’t be overly promotional. For example if someone is looking for lunch options, you might offer the following Tweet “@Vistaprint what are you in the mood for? If you are up for some Italian cuisine or pizza, here are our specials URL.” When you drive customers to your location through Twitter conversations, you should create a special Twitter discount so you can track foot traffic to Tweets.
Aside from prospecting, you can use these kinds of searches to keep tabs on your competition and local events to see if there is a way for you to participate in.
If you are new to Twitter or debating whether or not Twitter is right for your business, you can also use this search feature to search for your business to gauge the interest and participation levels by your customers.
Have you utilized Twitter search for your business? If so we’d love to hear how in the comments below.