Why Local Businesses Should Care About Twitter's New Nearby Feature | Organik SEO

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Why Local Businesses Should Care About Twitter’s New Nearby Feature

by Organik
on February 7, 2014

5 minute read

Twitter is a social media giant and has gone global. About 4.5 million small businesses use Twitter now, with 76% of users using their mobile devices to access the site. As Twitter grows increasingly mobile, it’s vital for businesses to jump on any new experiments or offerings. Twitter has recently launched Nearby, which allows eligible users to see tweets posted by people in their immediate vicinity, no matter if they follow them or not.

Nearby is only available right now to a small group of users who have decided to opt-in to allow their local information to be shared on Twitter. There is a tab located by the Home tab within Twitter’s mobile apps that lets you use the new Nearby feature. The interactive map identifies the user’s location and showcases pins for the locations of nearby users who have recently tweeted. You can click on any of the pins to view and engage with the user and their content. Nearby lets you interact with people around the block and several miles away.


Small businesses can use Nearby on Twitter to promote sponsored tweets within the Nearby map so they can target users. Many are speculating that Nearby could be Twitter’s first attempt at entering the local space market in a way it hasn’t been able to do before. Because Nearby is still in its beta phase and users must opt-in to share their location, this new feature isn’t fully developed.

As a local small business, you can take advantage of Nearby now in hopes that the feature becomes permanent. Here are some easy steps you can take:

1) Share Your Location

The default setting for location services for Twitter accounts is “off” so you’ll need to first opt-in your mobile device to access Nearby. For each individual tweet, you must make sure that your location is shared each time. For iPhone users, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, and ensure that Location Services is turned on. Within the same screen, you can also grant permission for your Twitter app to access your location.

The tweet you compose will include location information (latitude/longitude) and sometimes a town or city. Important note: You must be tweeting from your local small businesses’ PHYSICAL LOCATION in order for your location to appear correctly on the Twitter map tool. If you want to tweet about your business while you are not actually there, you can turn off location services.

2) Do Your Research

To better understand the new Nearby feature on Twitter, spend a couple of days previewing it. Read the conversations of people in your local area. Scroll through local tweet pins that appear near your business. You should also toggle to locations outside your area and see what tweets are happening miles from where you are. These tweets most likely won’t be applicable to your small business but you can get a good read on what is trending nearby and the key locations of conversations. You’ll be able to see what people are talking about and what other local businesses are saying.

3) Become Part of the Conversation

Engaging with Twitter users that have never heard of your small business or that you have never talked to can seem overwhelming. A great way to ease in to the conversation is by following influencers in your area and engaging with users in a way that is helpful. If you own a restaurant, for example, you could tweet to “@janedoe, we want to meet our neighbors and would like to offer you 20% off your meal.” If that person comes in and uses the promotion, make sure their visit is special. They are more likely to spread the word about their experience.

You can also engage with a local user by offering your expertise, even if the question isn’t related to your own company. This positions your business as a good resource for the community. Another idea is to tweet from a popular hangout in your area. By tweeting something relevant about what you are doing, you can promote your business as well. For example, if you own a local boutique, you might tweet, “Grabbing coffee at @localcoffeeshop before our big 20% off sale around the corner.” By sharing information about a favorite dish at a local restaurant or a new business that just opened, you can grow your reputation and promote your business both online and in the community.


4) Promote Special and Discounts

By using Twitter’s new feature Nearby, your small business tweets will be seen by all local users and it doesn’t matter if they are following you or not. You can promote special and discounts to a wider local Twitter audience. When creating promotional tweets using Nearby, you want to keep in mind that many of the users have had no exposure to your company or service. Therefore, you need to not only promote your business to those who already know you, you must also promote to those who don’t. Take an ice cream store: they send out a tweet to their existing Twitter followers about new flavors. But later that day, they also send out a tweet about a free ice cream for new customers who sign up for some type of loyalty program within the next 3 hours. You can target tweets to specific zip codes but you have to use the desktop version of Twitter and no one is sure if those tweets will show up in Nearby.

If you found this information helpful, be sure to check out our post “How to Gain and Lose Twitter Followers”. The Organik SEO team is passionate about helping businesses grow by tapping into the power of social media and SEO. To discuss how we can help you grow your business, contact us today! 

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