Building a Local Twitter following…Chicken or the Egg?

Posted on November 14, 2010 by Jim Farnsworth

I’ve been racking my brain to come up with a viable way to build a local Twitter following.  Sure, there are programs like TweetAdder, that will automatically find thousands of followers.

But, locally, it can be a challenge, because you may find that , in your local area, not many people are actually using Twitter.

At least, that’s according to Twellowhood.  In Akron, there are less than 4,000 people listed as Twitter users.  Not a staggering number.  The entire state of Ohio only shows about 101,000 Twitter users.  Heck, Columbus, home to Ohio State, has less than 20,000 users;  I think the student population at OSU is greater than that.

The problem:  how to encourage people to sign up for Twitter.  More importantly: how to get people to receive Twitter on their Cell phones.  That would be the REAL power of Twitter.

By setting up Twitter for their cell phone, the user can receive directly only those tweets that they really want to receive.  The major problem with Twitter on a computer, as we all know, is that is it constantly scrolling.  Depending on how many people someone is following, your tweet may never be seen. By hooking Twitter up to your cell phone, the user can select who they want to receive tweets from on their mobile phone.  That way, they ALWAYS see those tweets.

So, the challenge is twofold:  get people to sign up with Twitter, and then convince them to connect it to their cell phone.  To do so, there has to be a reason for them to want to get a message from someone;  the standard, ‘What are you doing now’ crap is not worth the time.

But what if you could receive the luncheon special from your favorite restaurant?  a pizza shop sends out an after school special, which appears on every cell phone of the local high school.  KojiBBQ in los Angeles has 77,000 followers on Twitter; they track the daily locations of their lunch trucks;  Curbside Cupcakes, in DC, tweet their schedule to office workers in the capital.  Locally, I have found a few restaurants that post occasionally, and one that posts their luncheon specials daily, at about 10am.  That’s the way it is supposed to be used.

So, restaurants, coffee shops, and pizza shops would all benefit from having followers on Twitter.  And people would have a reason to follow them on their cell phones…on Twitter.  But to convince businesses to do it, you need to have followers…to get followers, you have to have a reason.  The chicken or the egg?

I think I have an idea.  More on my next post.