Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly: Find important Tweeters in your target market

Now that you’ve chosen a target market, you want to know more about what they want. If your customers use Twitter, it can be a great listening post. Plus a tool to get your message out. If they don’t, move on to a more useful tool.

Follow them: Before you can listen to and interact with target customers and industry leaders, you have to follow them. You’ll be most productive if you focus on the best contacts. How do you find the best contacts?

Follow leading industry bloggers. Google blogs: followed by the industry you want to find. For example, if your business offers computer system installation, upgrades, and maintenance, you might follow tech radio broadcaster and podcaster Leo Laporte (@leolaporte), New York Times tech columnist David Pogue (@pogue), or Wall Street Journal tech  columnist Walt Mossberg (@waltmossberg). If your main customers are  restaurants, you could follow the National Restaurant Association  (@WeRRestaurants) or The Back Burner (@thebackburner). You get the idea.

Use Twitter Search. Go to search.twitter.com and click on ‘advanced search’. If your main customers are restaurants, enter keywords associated with restaurants in the ‘words’ section. In ‘places’, choose a city where you do business, and choose a distance around the city. So if you enter ‘restaurants’ in ‘all of these words’, and choose a radius of 50 miles around Tampa, you will get a listing of 20 most recent tweets from that area. Look through the list for people with lots of followers, or with interesting tweets. Follow them. Repeat the search every few days to find different tweets.

Try Geochirp. www.geochirp.com lets you choose a location, a radius up to 50 miles, and a search term. It returns a list of tweets that meet your conditions. Check them out.

Listen: Use the search tools listed above to follow comments about your company and product (probably without the geographic limits.) If you see comments frequently, someone should be responsible for checking these comments every day or every few days, because some situations require a quick response.

Respond to complaints quickly and professionally. Move conversations about complaints to your email or other private communications if possible.

Ask questions about possible new products or services. Ask what could be improved. Don’t forget to thank people who make positive comments
about your company.

Spy vs. Spy: You should also follow comments about your competitors and their products. If your company has a growing market share, there’s a good chance your competitors are watching comments about you.

Security! Security! Security! Be sure to activate the secure connection option, which encrypts your communication with Twitter. Make the change in your account settings. (settings – HTTPS only) This gives you more protection from hackers in a Wi-Fi environment. Do it now!

Next: use Twitter to attract followers and get your message out

Want to know more? Call the Pinellas County SCORE chapter at (727) 532-6800 or email score@scorepinellas.org

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