For some businesses the World Wide Web holds no interest, to them it is the local, or even the Hyper-Local web where the seams of gold lie.
When I first started working online in the late ’90s the big draw was the ability for small businesses to be able to have a worldwide reach. No longer were they confined to local markets, constrained by advertising budgets or business location. In the East of England road networks did, and still do, present an issue for many businesses wishing to attract business from further afield. The Internet negated this constraint to some extent and opened up the market.
It still left some businesses thinking the web was not for them. What is the advantage of a worldwide audience to a small town cafe? Now the web has gone social, gotten a lot more personal, the online focus for business has started to shift too.
With it, the social aspect of the web has brought location. It is now possible to identify where people are due to their Social Footprint. Information that can be leveraged by local business to target customers based on their location.
Local is Relative
To some local means in a certain country, to others region or county are more pertinent, whilst city, town or village may be more relevant. In some bigger towns or cities local may pertain to a specific district, Hyper-Local.
So how can we identify people associated to a specific location?
Whilst location based Apps like Foursquare are built for location marketing, their up take in locations around the world varies greatly. Twitter is probably one of the easiest tools to use. Many people leave traces of their whereabouts, sometimes unknowingly, as a byproduct of things they say and do on Twitter.
Using Follower Behaviour
People will follow others on Twitter for many reasons, but one of the most common reasons is for information that may effect them. Based on this we can look for Twitter accounts pertaining to the area we wish to target. Following their users will raise awareness of our business and lead to a rich source of local potential customers.
Dependant of the depth of locality, a newspaper’s Twitter accounts are a great source for targeting followers.
At country level you could look at followers of The Times for example, the majority of the followers of the Times Twitter account are likely to be UK based. An added bonus is that the type of newspaper will attract a certain type of person too.
If you want to drill down based on a tighter location location we can now look at local newspapers. Town based publications are likely to have highly location sensitive followers and taking this to the extreme, church or village magazines that have Twitter accounts will be a source of Hyper-Local followers.
2. Radio Stations
In the same way that you can target newspaper Twitter accounts, radio stations provide another source of location sensitive followers. Apart from ex-pats, Twitter followers of the UK’s BBC Radio 1 station are highly likely to be from the UK. Drilling down locally BBC Radio Norfolk will give you county level Twitter followers.
With the rise in popularity of community based radio stations it is possible to drill down even further. Future Radio is a local community radio station covering the city of Norwich, whilst part-time radio station, Park Radio, covers the small market town of Diss.
The type of radio station you monitor will also reflect the type of follower it attracts, in the same way as newspapers. Radio 1 listeners in the UK will vary greatly to BBC Radio 4, therefore their Twitter followers will reflect this.
3. Geo Location
Getting a bit more technical you can use the longitude and latitude of a location to identify Twitter users in that area too. Specifying the distance from that exact location will allow for highly accurate results. This won’t show all users, only those that have opted to allow their location to be determined, for most uses this will provide a sizable number of results.
You can perform this search directly on Twitter, or with an alternate application such as Hootsuite, using the following format:
This example will show all Tweets, from users for which a location can be established, within 10km of the longitude and latitude given. By adding a phrase you can even look for people in a certain catchment area talking about a specific subject.
You can get the longitude and latitude of a location using the Latitude Longitude Finder, enter in an address or place the marker in a location you are interested in and the longitude and latitude is displayed.
Central Norwich for example is given as: Lat: 52.62876982164129 Lng: 1.2974848747253418.
With a bit of creativity you can apply this in many ways.
4. Local Companies
At a more granular level you can use companies in your locality as a source of potential followers. If they are on Twitter and serve mainly the local market you can can investigate the followers of their Twitter account as a source for your own marketing.
5. Location Names
Although far less reliable than other methods, monitoring for the use of a city, town or village name may also prove a fruitful.
As you can see using the methods above it is relatively easy for even the most locally focused business to raise awareness of their presence; growing a following on Twitter and start target marketing at a local level.
Do you have any more ways you can identify people’s locality easily online?
An additional method for sourcing local Twitter users is via use of an online tool called SocialBro. This free Twitter community management and analysis tool allows you to easily search the bio of Twitter users who may have included their location.
- Connect up your Twitter account to SocialBro
- From the drop down, top left, select “Search All Twitter”
- In the Advanced Search tab below it enter a location name
Your results will then be displayed, you can then order these in various ways and follow as required all from within the application.
Thanks to Jorgen for leaving this tip in the comments below.