How to Use Twitter to Find Local Blog Content

Filed in Blogging, Social Media by Matt McGee on March 30, 2009 0 Comments

Twitter is responsible for the most popular blog post we’ve written on any of our four hyperlocal real estate blogs. Here’s how it happened, how we use Twitter as a content source for all of our local blogs, and how you can do the same.

Twitter, Kanye West, & Local Blogging

It was just about a month ago when I saw this tweet from a fellow Tri-Citian:

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The link points to a blog where rap star Kanye West is shown wearing a Kamiakin Braves letterman jacket while appearing on BET television. Whoa. Major celebrity wearing the jacket of a local high school in a TV appearance??!!?? Crazy. I grabbed a couple of the photos and wrote this post on our Kennewick Real Estate Blog within 15 minutes of the original tweet.

What happened?

You can imagine how this news spread like wildfire throughout all of the local high schools. When the kids and parents went online to search for “kanye west kamiakin braves” and related terms, our blog post showed up first. We’ve received 25 comments on that post, far more than anything we’ve ever written, and here’s a look at the traffic spike (which lasted a couple weeks):

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The first spike is the day after our post. The second spike is the day the local newspaper picked up the story, mentioning our blog URL twice in the print article, and linking to us from its web site. We received almost two weeks of substantially higher traffic. Granted, most of this traffic was from high school students — not Cari’s target market as a real estate agent. But there are other benefits, even for a real estate agent: That post is giving Google all kinds of positive click-through data about our blog, it earned the blog’s highest-quality inbound link, and will help the blog’s overall SEO efforts.

All of that from Twitter – from following someone I’ve never met in person, but who lives in my area.

I should also mention that we’ve also found other local blog content from Twitter. One recent example is a post about a power outage in Richland that came from another local Twitter user altering us that his neighborhood had gone dark.

How To Find Local Content on Twitter

Follow other local folks who are using Twitter.

It’s that simple?

Yep.

Even if I don’t know them?

Yep.

Should I follow everyone in my area who’s using Twitter?

That depends how many locals you find on Twitter. When I started out, I followed anyone and everyone because I didn’t how big the sample was. As I’ve continued to find more locals on Twitter, I’ve unfollowed some people and started being somewhat more selective in following new people.

Give it a try and you’ll eventually figure out what works for you.

How do I find local people on Twitter?

Great question. Read on…

How to Find Your Neighbors on Twitter

There are several sites/tools that make it easy to search for people near you that are also on Twitter. Try any or all of these….

Twitter.com Advanced Search

Twitter offers a “place” search on its advanced search page. Just put in your zip code and choose an appropriate distance to search, and Twitter will show you tweets from people in that area.

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ChirpCity

Enter your zip code or city name and ChirpCity will show you tweets from people in your area, as well as tweets about your area. What I like about ChirpCity is that it shows a lot of results on the first page after you search — no need to click through lots of pages to find people to follow.

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NearbyTweets

With by far the most attractive design, Nearby Tweets offers slightly different functionality than the above tools. Just visit the site and Nearby Tweets will automatically detect your location (based on your IP address) and show you local Twitter users as well as recent local tweets.

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I don’t have a favorite among these. I tend to use ChirpCity and Nearby Tweets more than Twitter’s advanced search, but they’re all helpful in locating local Twitter users. Try them all and use the one you like best.

One Last Tip

When you follow a total stranger on Twitter, there’s a good chance that person is going to come check out your Twitter profile. They’re going to be looking to find out why a stranger just started following them. I like to make sure my most recent tweet answers that question for them. So, before I go looking for new neighbors to follow, I make sure my most recent tweet is something like this:

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I want them to know why I’m following them, and hopefully give them reason to follow me back. Give it a try and see what happens.

To wrap this up … as a local blogger, your success is dependent to a large degree on making connections with local people and keeping tabs on what’s going on in the community. Finding and following neighbors on Twitter is a great way to do both. When it’s used correctly, Twitter can be a great source of hyperlocal blog content.

Have you used Twitter to find local blog content, or to make connections with your neighbors?

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