Advanced Social Listening Using Geolocation

You probably already know that Twitter can be a great tool for listening to your current and potential customers. You can search for keywords, brand mentions, and other relevant things people may be talking about. But there's more to it!

Twitter also allows you to find all these conversations happening in your local area. This can be incredibly powerful.

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How Geolocalated Search Works

When people tweet, they have the ability to disclose their current location. Not everybody does it, but there's a lot of people who do, especially on the mobile platforms.

Most of the time, their location doesn't matter—it doesn't show up in the tweet or work as a check-in. But it allows you to find their tweets using the right geocode.

A geocode looks like this: geocode:49.248523,-123.1088,50km. It incudes latitude, longitude, and the radius around that location. If you add this code to any of your keyword queries on Twitter, you will get back tweets coming from that specific area.

Why Use Geolocalated Search

The basic reason for geolocating your searches is that you want to filter out tweets that don't matter to you and concentrate on the ones that do.

For example, if you own a local coffee shop, you can narrow down your search for posts mentioning coffee from the whole world to your area specifically. Isn't that amazing?

How to Do It

For the sake of this example, I'll be using HootSuite, but you can use any other social media dashboard or even the basic Twitter search tool. Also, let's pretend that you own a small trendy local coffee shop.

1. Add  a new search stream.

Search for something that matters to your business. Fox example, coffee.

2. Narrow down your search.

Use the tips from my "How to Monitor Everything on Twitter" series to narrow down your search to questions about coffee. At this stage, tweets will be appearing from all over the world.

3. Add geolocation filtering.

As a local coffee shop owner, you probably don't care about what people think about coffee on the other side of the globe, so let's geolocate! Click on that 'crosshair' button to share you location. It is important that you do it at the location of your coffee shop.

Once you've saved the changes, you'll have your targeted local search results in front of you. Now you can follow these people, engage with them, spark conversations, and drive sales.

How to Search Beyond One Location

Sometimes, just one city is not enough. You may want to search for tweets at a number of places or want to cover a whole country. Unfortunately, there is no easy default way of doing this, but again geolocation comes to the rescue!

To search for tweets in cities other than your own, you need to find the geocodes of those cities. Use tools such as GeoCoder.ca and Travelgis.com to find the codes, and then translate them into the format that works with Twitter: geocode:LATITUDE,LONGITUDE,RADIUSkm.

Last thing you need to do is replicate your search streams with the new geocodes and enjoy targeted results. Here's an example for Vancouver (left) and Toronto:

If you want to cover the whole country, select a number of major cities, get their geocodes, and set up all necessary streams with large search radius.

That's it for today! If you have any questions or need help setting up your local Twitter search streams, leave me a not in the comments below. And don't forget to share you success stories!

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