Most Canadian business owners understand social media's potential from a marketing standpoint. However, like many aspects of online business and marketing, they struggle with the strategic use of individual networks. One social strategy that is often overlooked is geo-targeting, which allows you to target national or hyper-local consumers.
Statistics have shown Canadians are some of the top Twitter users in the world. According to eMarketer, Twitter usage in Canada will climb to 7.5 million in 2016. Learning how to engage these Canadians can have a direct impact on sales, branding and customer satisfaction.
"There's a big user base in Canada, but they are not necessarily the most sophisticated users," Kirstine Stewart, managing director of Twitter Canada, told the Globe and Mail. "Some are, but we have a lot to learn -- I'm talking about people, brands, institutions. And there's revenue work to be done -- working to figure out how to position brands on Twitter."
You can reach Canadians (or more local target markets) on Twitter both organically and with paid advertising options. The ROI of this strategy is often high because you can increase traffic and conversions online and/or offline.
Increase Your Organic Reach on Twitter
1. Make sure your profile clearly identifies your business as Canadian.
2. Consider having a French version of your Twitter account, or post both French and English tweets.
3. Increase your exposure by retweeting content from popular Canadian Twitter users when it's suitable for your audience. Many will interact, respond and/or follow you.
4. Use media hashtags (#) to communicate with Canadian television shows that are related to your business (or random Canadian shows if you're topically diverse). Popular TV shows, ranging from entertainment to business programs like Dragons' Den use hashtags while on the air. Others may not use them live, but still have hashtags associated with them. Tweets are often retweeted to the show's large fanbase. Many shows will also retweet your comments if you address them to their account with "@" or through their brand hashtags.
5. Make a list of Canadian Twitter users who are in the habit of retweeting comments sent to them. Send thoughtful, valuable comments from your business Twitter account. Adding a clever photo may increase the chance of your comment being retweeted.
6. Hold Twitter contests and mention Canadian eligibility.
7. Participate in Canadian "Twitter parties" and throw some of your own. Twitter parties are virtual events intended to increase engagement with customers or potential customers. They usually offer prize draws, fun questions, and more. It's all brought together under a unique hashtag of your choosing. For an example of a Twitter party announcement and registration page, check out the Food Bloggers of CanadaBlend & Extend Twitter party.
8. Post about currently trending Canadian events.
Invest in Twitter Advertising
Twitter has several advertising options that will add geographic precision to your Canadian campaign, including:
9. Geo-targeting allows you to select a location where you want to reach consumers. You can select "Canada" or narrow it all the way down to a postal code. As a rule, the broader the area that suits your particular campaign goals, the more people will be reached. For example, you'll reach far more British Columbians by geo-targeting British Columbia, than you will by selecting numerous postal codes within British Columbia.
10. Keyword Targeting can be a useful way to both extend and focus your local reach. For example, instead of selecting a keyword like "iPad," you could use "iPad Canada." A potential Canadian customer seeking product information about iPads may find the info anywhere, but when ready to buy they're more likely to search for local sources.
11. Website Tag for Remarketing is a very effective way to reach Canadians who have already visited your website. Add the code snippet to your site and Twitter will automatically start matching your visitors' cookie ID's to Twitter users. Eventually, Twitter will have compiled a list of users for you to target in your advertising. When they log into Twitter, your ad can automatically show up in their stream.
Now that you understand how you can target the Canadian market as a whole, you can apply the same strategy to a more local target market, such as the city your business is located in. Build a fantastic website to drive your Twitter traffic to. Pack it with fresh, high-quality content to share on social media and bring your online marketing strategy full circle.
If hundreds of people voluntarily follow you into a room to hear everything your company has to say, it should be easy to work the room and make sales. Twitter is that room, learn how to work it.
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook
MORE ON HUFFPOST: