Manifesto: Twitter Goes Local

If you sell fine coffee and want to promote it locally, you can do that on Twitter. If you’re a service professional who wants to develop your regional business, try Twitter.  I’m having a lot of success marketing locally using Twitter.

One local business I work with has nearly 5,000 Twitter followers and 3,000 Facebook fans. Those feeds are active. With a platform like that, people really respond to what we post. They like keeping up to date on specials and promos. They like the open line of communications so that they can ask questions, congratulate us and yes, even complain a little. It’s all part of the dialogue.

My version of the 80-20 Rule

You’ve heard of the 80-20 rule. It’s usually explained like this:  Twenty percent of your efforts produce 80 percent of the results.

Well, I have my own 80-20 rule. It goes like this: Eighty percent of what you post has to be informational or educational, and twenty percent is purely promotional.

As another client who is promoting his book on Kindle wrote recently, “I’ve discovered that just by laying out small pieces of interesting stuff I can become involved in really important discussions with serious people.” What he means is that it’s all about drawing people in. Online, people turn away from purely promotional feeds, but if they feel engaged, they become loyal. Loyalty is good – they’ll return to your site, they’ll want to get to know you, they’ll engage. A lot of what we do in sales and marketing is really about building engagement and with engagement comes trust. The way that whole process starts is with people getting to know you.

Storyline is the Driver

If you want to be successful at this you have to have a storyline. A storyline is what sets you apart. It might be the story of how you got started, something good that you’re doing in your community or a unique approach in the way that you provide services. Say you have a coffee bar. Part of your story might be the sourcing of your coffee beans. If you have a family farm in Guatemala, that would be good material for blogs, Twitter and Facebook. If you lead trips there or want to educate people about sustainability or the benefits of worker-owned land, you can engage people in a conversation about all that online. Engagement is key.

How Do I Go Local on Twitter Without Going Loco?

I use Twitter as the leading edge for many online campaigns. How do I start? First thing, you need to find your audience. You can use or or better yet, sign up for the paid service of Tweetadder which allows you to search any Twitter user’s profile to find people in your area who are interested in your services. Then, start a dialogue – use the 80-20 rule – eighty percent educational and twenty percent promotional. To make this all a win-win, you’ll need to know what action you want your audience to take, whether it’s going to your site to order online, walking into your place of business, or clicking on your mailing list sign up.

What’s the Best Way for Me to Communicate Online?

Once you have your message focused, you have to think about the best way to get it out there. Facebook might not be so appropriate for lawyers but great for wineries. Twitter works for photographers and e-newsletters are the preferred online communication media for real estate agents. Lawyers and business advisors can find an audience on Twitter and maintain it on a blog or e-newsletter. The mix is different with each business. You might have to experiment a bit to find what’s right or research will lead you to the right answer.

Image credit:  S1m0nB3rry via Creative Commons license.

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Also published on Medium.


  1. ingrid

    Hi Lee,

    I love the 80/20 rule! Now I know I don’t have to promote all the time. I hate that part. I just like being educational, and you are right, with that, I got much better attendance in my yoga classes. Now I know why. Many thanks!


    • admin

      Thanks for commenting, Ingrid! Yes, I can see it when we look at the analytics on feeds and blogs – when we get too promotional people move away. When we inform and market in a good mix, we draw a crowd.

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