How To Use Twitter To Find Customers

by Shockley Au August 30th, 2010 

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 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.


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

Shockley Au

Shockley is an experienced digital marketing consultant, helping businesses succeed online through SEM/PPC, SEO, Social Media, and Web Analytics. He is certified in Google Analytics, Google AdWords, and Bing Ads, and also blogs at State of Digital. Follow him on Twitter @ShockleyAu.

Shockley Au

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5 Responses to “How To Use Twitter To Find Customers”

  1. Mike Sansone says:

    Great piece. In my experience, if a search term proves to be so broad, use personal pronouns.

    An example would be to add "I'm" to "looking for a new job" or "my" to "job sucks" to filter out some marketing messages.

    Thanks for this – a great way to extend your twitter ears:-)
    .-= Mike Sansone recently posted: Justin Brady Designs Elegant Virtual Book Signing =-.

  2. Shockley Au says:

    @Mike: You're very welcome. Drilling down via personal pronouns is a great idea – especially if you need to filter out irrelevant tweets. Thanks for your comment. :)

  3. Great stuff Shockley, thanks. I would warn people not to say the same thing to everyone – if I get a bulk message from marketers on Twitter, I'm always tempted to hit that "report spam" button.

  4. Shockley Au says:

    @Andy: Absolutely. Learning more about the people you're approaching helps to establish a connection, and to differentiate yourself from all the other marketers in the Twittersphere. It's not that difficult either – just read their stream!

  5. Wow.. wow.. wow… this is amazing.
    .-= Local Plumbers recently posted: Electric Underfloor Heating Engineers Plumbers Outdoor Geo Induction Ducted Systems =-.