Twitter’s value just went up ever so slighty – I just installed their widget on the right-hand column. After much encouragement by Brian Wallace I have decided to try and make Twitter a regular part of my routine. I have been trying to think about how Twitter could be of use to local businesses and I am not 100% convinced that it’s a big thing for them but here are some initial thoughts:

1. Services like Summize can help you find all of the Twitter users in your area, although it seems like you can do this by just searching Twitter for your city. I did this a few weeks ago when I “followed” everybody on Twitter in Pleasanton.

2. The protocol of Twitter seems to be “if you follow me I’ll follow you” so you may be able to quickly build up a network of locals.

3. You may want to consider branding your Twitter name with whatever kind of service you provide – like “local search engine optimization guy” or something like that. This is an easy way to get across what you do without having to talk about it in every Tweet (a Tweet is a post on Twitter for those of you not in the know).

4. Find a way to talk about what you do without it sounding too salesy. And don’t only talk about what you do. For example if you are realtor in Pleasanton you may want to Tweet about current market conditions, new homes on the market, etc. But you also may want to talk about a great new restaurant (which would be a miracle in Pleasanton) or the results of the Livermore Rubber Duck Races. Here’s a good way to break it down your Tweets:

Related to your business: 10%
Local info: 20%
Comments on important issues of the day such as Angelina Jolie’s twins: 20%

Conversations with other Twitsters about what they want to talk about: 50% (at least)

Now a lot of the Twitsters in my area seem to be high schoolers so you may also want to supply info about the location of the next keg party.

And of course how about following me on Twitter?  I promise it will be fascinating for you.

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9 Response Comments

  • Jack DeNeut  May 16, 2008 at 8:25 am

    We ( are using Twitter for local search in a slightly different way. We’ve created a Twitter “bot” that will respond to local search queries and send back a direct message with the results of your search. Many Twitterers in Europe use Twitter through SMS, so this is a convenient way to do a business look-up on the go (you send a tweet by SMS, and get the result back by SMS).

    Our Twitter bot lives here:

  • Andrew Shotland  May 16, 2008 at 8:35 am


    Thanks for the clarification. This is pretty cool. I am actually more interested in the local keg parties though 🙂


    Another cool idea but I think it needs some work. I just entered “@nelso bar in paris”. After about 3 minutes some listings that were hard to figure out showed up in my replies tab on Twitterfox but I still don’t see them on Still a pretty cool idea.

  • Andrew Shotland  May 16, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Update on Jack’s Twitter thing – I didn’t notice but I did get email results pretty fast and apparently they are not deep in Paris yet. I just tried “S&M bar berlin” and got the following:
    Alexander Bar Hotel NH Berlin, Grolmanstraße 41, Berlin. +49 30 88 42 68 33. Insel-Berlin, Alt-Treptow 6, Berlin. +49 30 20 91 49 90. Berlin Beach Club, Leipziger Platz, Berlin. +49 30 39 87 75 08.

    No way of knowing how good these are so if any of my readers with a fetish find themselves in Berlin let us know.

  • Jack DeNeut  May 16, 2008 at 8:59 am

    The replies are by Twitter “direct message”. Not quite sure how those are displayed in Twitterfox.

    It’s true that the 140 character limit is constraining for a service like the Nelso bot (but this is true of SMS services generally), and that a list of places can be hard to read.

    The service works best for when you know all or part of the business name, and just want to get the address or phone number.

    This works quite well. For example, a tweet like “@nelso u vejvodu prague 1” (a famous pub in Prague), returns “Restaurace U Vejvodů, Jilská 4, Praha 1. +420 224 219 999”. On many phones, the phone number will be highlighted, so you can call with one click. I use this service when I get an SMS from a friend and he tells me he’s in a bar I’ve never heard of, or when I want to make a reservation at a restaurant and already know the name but don’t have the phone number.

  • Andrew Shotland  May 16, 2008 at 9:04 am

    Yes I definitely see the potential here as a SMS 411. And if you can append tweets that reference the location (or web reviews even) you’ve got something pretty cool.

  • Simon Slade  May 16, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    I have been enjoying Twitter recently, although I am a little late the the bandwagon. Thanks for the tips on how to communicate and not make it sound too salesy!

  • Mick Cullen  November 24, 2010 at 5:27 am

    Andrew I’m also finding that my Twitter Profile URL is coming up in the first page of Google for some of my local keywords which gives me another listing on the first page. So thats a bonus too and a reason for local businesses to use it.

  • Andrew Shotland  November 25, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Mick, I am seeing Twitter URLs showing up more and more on page one of organic results, so using these URLs creatively can have nice benefits.