Twitter Tips For Local Businesses

Since Twitter began, large and small businesses alike have had a hard time monetizing its usage into a calculable formula. Any attempts to drive interaction into sales are quickly viewed as automated tweets in response to mentioning specific keywords.

There was a time when, as a pest control company, we monitored pest-related keywords such as “scorpion, house”. We were hoping to find people that had mentioned finding a scorpion in their house that lived within our service areas. As soon as we found a match, we’d reach out to that person, informing them we could help them and to check out a specific website. All our attempts were seen as automated responses, when in fact our employee was actually tweeting them direct.

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When it comes to Twitter and business, remember this: It’s about communicating, not selling. To the delight of social media purists, Twitter is the near perfect platform for online interaction, not online commerce.

So, while you get the idea of using Twitter for business sales out of your mind, here are a few practical tips for small or local businesses.

1. Twitter is an open channel for customer service.

In less than a minute, anyone in the world can contact your company directly, without having to sit on the phone in a hold-line while jumping from menu to menu. It’s the next best thing to having your cell number and sending you text message. Some companies shy away from using twitter as a customer service tool because they don’t want to open the flood gates in one forum and let the river run dry in another. Well, welcome to Twitter! It’s unlikely that your twitter account will only be used for customer service inquiries, so don’t just assume it’s going to be the new complain-line.

2. A retweet is just as good as a follower.

Don’t get caught up in a popularity contest. It’s not always about how many followers you have. Having your content retweeted to their followers is a ringing endorsement in and of itself.

3. Engage reporters.

I handle a lot of the media request that come to our pest control company. I have secured news stories on Twitter, simply by keeping my eyes on the streams of local reporters. One day, a reporter asked if anyone had any good story ideas. It was in the middle of summer, our busy season, and I offered to take him on a scorpion hunt. The next night we were shooting live for the 10 o’ clock news in the backyard of a local resident. Follow all the reporters, producers and editors for your local news outlets, and keep a close eye on them.

4. Humanize your brand.

Twitter, and social media in general, is about connecting two human beings, not two twitter accounts. So, be human. Is your hometown team having a big gime this weekend? Is there a local festival happening near downtown? Keep a human voice. Don’t just push out self-promoting content every 6 hours on an automated schedule. Chat with people.


Steve Bitter is a Marketing Manager with Bulwark Exterminating, based in Mesa, AZ. Bulwark Exterminating is an industry leader in providing high quality pest control service. Bulwark is fully operational in seven states, including eleven major cities. While Bulwark provides pest extermination for common insects such as ants, roaches, crickets and spiders, the company’s differentiating specialty is scorpion control. Bulwark uses the finest and most effective products in the world to solve common pest problems.

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  • avatar

    I like the “Humanize your brand” it’s all about making people think you are talking to them, not just a crowd. Great header.

  • avatar


    I know that Twitter definitely is a great tool to promote one’s business rather than trying to sell directly a product or service over this social network, but I have never thought that tweeting about local events, news, and even the weather, it’s possible to build a stronger local presence.

    Have to try it with an online project that exactly is aimed to people who lives in my same city.

  • avatar

    Hi bkilam111,

    I actually have sad news for ya, its still the same as it is now. Probably even worse. Most of the twitter accounts with high counts have more then a 50% fake twitter follower count, and most of their tweets are bought for per tweet.

    I never really got into the whole twittersphere myself, but I just don’t feel the need to try and gain followers that will just spam my news feed.

  • avatar

    I’m only new on Twitter I never much bothered with it before but am considering setting myself up a small home based business, which i’m still nutting out, and try to utilize social networking medium.
    The tips you have shared here are great and will be very useful, thanks!

  • avatar

    “A retweet is just as good as a follower”

    retweets and followers, while both great for twitter marketing, have completely different effects.

    A follower is sort of like having a customer on your email list — you have multiple chances to market to them and they have a sense of trust in you.

    Retweets on the other hand are great because they expose your message to new potential customers while acting as a personal endorsement.

    A follower could always retweet one of your future posts and it’s always possible that you will gain a follower or followers from the retweet. Although I would gladly receive either action, given the chance I would take a guaranteed follower over the off-chance that you could gain multiple follower.

    As they say, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”


  • avatar

    I personally never use Twitter any more, but back in the days when I did I found that a lot of spamming took place. Maybe not as much as now, but it was pretty bad. Messages you thought were real and sincere, turned out to be ads that people get paid for people like clicking on, if that made any sense. I just had a bad experience and left quickly. Maybe it was just me though, I don’t know.


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