Twitter is a great communication tool, but it can also be used for research purposes. In today's post, we will look at how we can use Twitter's own search engine to find new customers, by using its advanced search options.

Step 1

Go to http://search.twitter.com/ and click on "Advanced Search". The really 1337 kids can directly type in search operators.

Twitter Advanced Search

Step 2

Choose an area that the business serves, or an area where the target market lives. Here we have chosen Toronto and the surrounding area, up to 25 kilometers.

Twitter Advanced Search - Places

Step 3

This is where the magic happens. The actual words you choose will depend greatly on the nature of the business. Let's look at 3 different types of businesses, to help wrap our heads around what queries may be appropriate.

Chiropractor: [backache OR "back ache"]

Words - Chiropractor - Backache

Mexican Restaurant: [want "mexican food"]

Words - Want Mexican Food

Limousine Service: [prom]

Words - Limousine Service - Prom

There you have it! From here, you will have a list of the most recent tweets by people who could very well be your next customers.

Aside:

Twitter shouldn't only be used for talking at people – listening to what others have to say is important, as is demonstrated above.