By Thomas Lashier
Welcome back to another short blog on how to utilize social media to help grow your business (for free)! If you’ve been following along, you’ve probably set up a company Twitter profile to interact with prospects and customers. Maybe you even listened to us and figured out the best time to tweet. But now how do you find these customers on Twitter?
The good news: finding customers on Twitter is easy. And free. And fast. So follow along with us, because we’re all about helping business leaders like you get more customers for free (you don’t even need a Twitter account to follow along!).
In the spirit of the Olympics (USA! USA!), let’s say that you sell snowboards and offer lessons to snowboarders of all skill levels. However, your faced with a challenge: you are in Des Moines, Iowa. As you know, Iowa has snow but no mountains (and very few hills). How do you find snowboard customers and prospects in the middle of the Great Plains?
1. Visit search.twitter.com.
Navigate to www.search.twitter.com and click on “Advanced Search”.
2. Enter Search Terms To Find Customers.
As a local company (like us!), you’re looking for people talking about snowboarding near your location in Des Moines, Iowa. In the “Advanced Search” menu, we type in snowboard in the “All Of These Words” entry form. You an enter more words here, and Twitter will search for tweets that include all of the words entered. Similarly, you could search for an “Exact Phrase”, like Freaky Fresh Marketing or specific hashtags, like #Olympics. You can also exclude words if you’d like.
We choose English as the language of the tweets we’re looking for. Then we go down to the “Near This Place” entry field and enter Des Moines, IA. This means Twitter will only search for tweets within a 15-mile radius of Des Moines.
You can also select if you want these tweets to be positive, negative, questions, or include retweets. In our example, we will include retweets. Now click the big blue “Search” button.
3. Engage Naturally With Potential Customers.
Now for the fun part. Take a look at the tweets that come up within your search, and you’ll see how you could use your organization’s Twitter account to interact with customers that are actively looking for your services. Some examples:
Someone. Teach. Me. How. To. Snowboard.
— Hannah Balukoff (@Hannahhh218) February 9, 2014
Hannah, who lives near Des Moines, wants to learn how to snowboard. Your company gives snowboarding lessons near Des Moines. How hard would it be to tweet at Hannah something like “Hannah, snowboarding is a blast! Come visit us at ABC Snowboarding before March 1st and your first lesson is free! #snowboarding”. Then, when Hannah responds, respond to her! Start a conversation and be conversational, not creepy.
I want to see one of these snow board dudes try this run on one of those $12 boards from WalMart
— PlannedSickDays (@PlannedSickDays) February 9, 2014
While we don’t know their name, this Twitter user seems to think that Walmart’s snowboards are cheap and the Olympic snowboarders wouldn’t be able to perform the same on cheap Walmart boards. However, your company makes outstanding snowboards. Let this Twitter user know and make it fun: “Agreed. #TeamUSA can’t win gold with cheap boards. If you want a champion board, visit ABC Snowboarding. We’ll give you 10% off before 3/1!”.
This is simple, free, and personalized. It shows that your brand is listening in real-time, and it opens up conversations that will be visible to other customers and prospects in Des Moines and beyond. If you participate in Twitter on this level, you immediately place your small business ahead of 90% of other small businesses struggling to use social media to grow their business.