Twitter May Soon Challenge Foursquare with Local Timeline “Nearby”

Twitter may soon become more relevant to small businesses in the “local” marketing arena.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Twitter has been testing a new location based timeline for its mobile app. The timeline, called “Nearby” shows tweets that have occurred near your location, whether you follow that twitter account or not.

Twitter Nearby

Image from WSJ

The “Nearby” display shows a map with a pulsing blue dot to indicate the user’s current position, and icons noting the location of recent “nearby” tweets. Below the map, the timeline displays the tweets, along with the appropriate matching icon.

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For “Nearby” to work, the user has to have allowed their location to be added to their tweets. Twitter has allowed users to add their location since 2010, but must be activated by the user as the default position is “off”.

To activate your “location” sharing, click Settings > Security and Privacy > Tweet Location.

Marketing Implications of Twitter “Nearby”

Twitter is one of my favorite social media sites. It offers a wide and deep reach; opportunities to easily connect or engage with others around the world, and is a great platform for promoting a blog. However, when it comes to the small, local based business, I rarely recommend it as a marketing priority.

From a small business marketing perspective, a “localized” timeline could be really beneficial. To start with, it would make it much easier for small business owners to identify, connect with, and follow other local users of twitter. In addition, it could be used more like foursquare – to advertise/promote short-term specials; to announce live music; the starting of, or updates from special events, or open appointments that passersby may be interested in filling – the possibilities and benefits to local business could really be limitless!

What are your thoughts on a “local” twitter feed? Would it benefit your business (or your client’s business)? How would you use it?

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