How to Pinpoint Your Twitter Audience

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 how to pinpoint your twitter audience

With 288 million active users, it pays to know how to find your specific audience.

Twitter has 288 million active users with 500 million tweets being sent out every day, supporting 33 different languages. That is a lot of  information to compete with. Twitter is different from Facebook because with Facebook, the news feed pulls in posts from businesses and people that you interact with. The more interacting, the more you see their posts. This is not the case with Twitter. If you follow an account, whatever they post is being put out real time. If you missed an update, you will have to go to their profile to see said updates.

With all of that noise, how do you hone in on your audience on Twitter for optimal interaction?

Here are a few ways to Pinpoint Your Twitter Audience:

1. Use Twitter Query Operators:

The use of query operators on Twitter is nothing new, but I think it deserves a little more attention that it normally gets. These operators allow you to search for a variety of exact phrases or even search for a phrase with a positive or negative connotation. The easiest example of a query operator is the hashtag search. It may be a search you already use, but if not, the search is simply #KeywordHere. This will bring up the top results for whatever keyword you put into the search like:  search for hashtag on twitter

Now, say you wanted to search for something cycling related, but you are noticing that there are a lot of nature pictures related to cycling. How do you get rid of those nature pictures, but keep the cycling pictures? It’s the search query: cycling -nature cycling minus nature twitter search

If you are looking for more search queries, Twitter has a full list of them on their site.

2. Use Geotargeting to Hyper-focus on Locations

This is one of my favorite things to use when searching for a specific audience in a specific location. The query search is:


That probably doesn’t mean much to you right now, but it will in a second.

Here are the various terms in the query above:

geocode is just telling Twitter that you are using this specific query.

longitude,latitude is literally the longitude and latitude of the location you wish to search around. e.g: “39.008419,-94.346046″. The easiest way I’ve found to locate the coordinates is to search for a location on Bing and they will be on the left side. bing maps location
circumference is how far you want your radius to be around the coordinates you found in the above step. The best tool I’ve used to find that radius is this one from Google Map Developer.

Now, putting it all together looks like this: geocode:39.102951,-94.583076,20mi

With this search, you can find everyone that has tweeted recently in the town you chose with those coordinates you found on Bing.

3. Use Keyword Search Tools

Everyone has their own unique vocabulary. Some are just misspellings of words, while others are entirely different phrases for one word. Some people can describe things in a few words while others, it takes a whole sentence. It’s hard to truly know what people are going to type, which is why there are Twitter search applications to help you find varying keywords for searching.

Here are a few keyword tools to help you along the way in researching the terms your audience uses.

Free Keyword Suggestions Tool (Google keyword suggestion tool -free)

– 2.0 (find related hashtags, top influencers, and usage patterns of Twitter hashtags -free)

Trends24 (detailed breakdowns of trending terms)

Keyword Tool (get 750+ Google keyword suggestions for free)

Keyword Shitter (provides a long list of keywords for free)

By using those tools, you can search for similar keywords and widen your understanding of your audience. By having these similar keywords, you can use the hashtag query search feature from #1 or even throw that keyword in front of the geotargeting phrase like so:

#tswift geocode:longitude,latitude,circumference 

taylor swift search

Make sure you keep the formatting from above or else the search will not work. I find this feature handy when there is an event related to an industry I am looking for and I wish to find local updates to see how people are mentioning the event, which leads to even more keywords available for search. After I have located those people, I will interact with them be either commenting on their tweet (a comment goes a long way, but please, don’t make it all sales-y), favoriting it, or even following them on occasion if I think they will have something else I will find beneficial to my feed.

4. Spy on Competitors

As a business, you should know who your competitors are and what they are up to on a weekly, if not daily, basis. There are a number of applications you can implement to help you keep up with their online activities.

Why would you want to do this? If they are succeeding with their social profiles and you are just starting out, you can emulate them to a point. If they aren’t hitting any major points in the audience, you can try a wildly different strategy or even go looking around to find a true online competitor. *Note: I should have stated that your real-life competitors could be entirely different from your online competitors.*

Some of the most useful tools I use are:twitter advanced search image

– Setting up Pages to Watch on Facebook. Here is a great guide by Social Media Examiner that hits every point I could make. With this feature implemented on Facebook, you can then go through to their Twitter profiles and see how their presence is there.

–  Google Alerts (monitor the web for content that gets sent to you in real-time)

Twitter Advanced Search (search Twitter using advanced search features)

twilert (Real-time email alerts for keywords)

Social Mention (an easy to understand breakdown of brand mentions and interactions)

Topsy  (measures social media sentiment in real time)

There are a number of other, more specific, applications on the internet that are useful in finding your competitors and keeping up with them, which is why I am going to leave that for another post in the future. It’s a broad subject and I will want to hit on all points.

5. Twitter Trends and Chats

Twitter is all about being used “in the moment.”

You’ve undoubtedly been to a crowded event and seen people taking short videos or selfies and then looking down at their phone for a minute. It is highly likely that they just posted on Twitter with a related hashtag to the event E.G.: #TSwift at a Taylor Swift concert. If enough people post the #TSwift hashtag in a select area, it will become trending, which can be searched for. You can either manually change the trends search option (see image below) or have it done for you through  TrendsMap (but you can also use the ones listed above also).Twitter trends kansas city trends

With these trends, you can interact with a group of people discussing the same topic. Don’t be afraid to interact directly with people by re-tweeting their tweet the proper way, favoriting their tweet, or commenting directly on their tweet.

If you are somewhat witty or know how to use online picture editing tools, you can create custom content with a trending hashtag. You never know… you just might hit a sweet spot and  “go viral.”

Twitter trends can sometimes stem from a group of people being asked questions by a solo party with everyone chiming in with their opinions. These are called Twitter Chats. Sort of like Q&A sessions. They are more than often planned and range from topics consisting of movies, 90s pop culture, and content marketing. Don’t be afraid to join in on these chats, but don’t go about selling your product until the chat is over. More often than not, the leader of the chat makes time at the end for plugs to your website or whatever you want to say. It is social media after all.  Here are two resources I use all the time to find various Twitter chats:

Google Doc of regularly updated Twitter Chat List 

twubs Twitter Chat Listing filtered by your timetwitter chats

In conclusion:

  • You need to know who your online competitors are so you can see if their social media efforts and strategies are working and then play accordingly.
  • Having applications to pull keyword searches from around the web saves time and effort.
  • If you are a local business only, keep up with Twitter trends and join in the conversation.

Now, go forth and find your Twitter audience!
– Jackson Salzman

P.S. If you want to learn why every business needs to be on Google+ now more than ever, check out my last blog post

10 reasons why your business needs to be on google plus header

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