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Mining twitter for Leads

Getting leads and business by participating on sites like twitter is a very intriguing notion. Now I’m not talking about barging in and hocking your wares to anyone with an @ – you wouldn’t do that in an offline setting, say at a cocktail party, would you? But, think of that same cocktail party, you’re having a chat with someone who is going on about how they can’t get good help to staff their business, and you just happen to have the answer for them. You might suggest a great solution and viola, land a nice piece of business.

Well, that virtual cocktail party in going on all day long on twitter. The problem is, it’s a bit like a party held in the Rose Bowl, if somebody in section 101 needs what you do, but you’re in section 334, you’ll never meet each other.

This is where some powerful twitter and 3rd party tools can come to help you make sense of it all.

Meet twitter Advanced Search – the basic twitter search function is a great time saving filter and allows you to set-up searches on your name, company name, brands, competitors, all the basic stuff, so you can monitor your business and reputation and even know when people are replying to your tweets.

Advanced search, however, is where the real data mining comes to life.

twitter advanced search

Advanced search allows you to filter everything that’s being said for your keyword phases in your town, for example. Think that might be useful? Let’s say you are a network server specialist in Tucson, AZ – if you set up an advanced search for people in Tucson, AZ complaining about their server – and you got those complaints in real-time – could you develop some hot leads? – here’s the search for that

Creating advanced searches around topics that would identify someone as a hot lead is really pretty easy using the form on the advanced search page or you can use a host of operators in the basic search page to create some interesting searches. For example, want to know if anyone in Detroit is asking about marketing – your search would look like this – near:Detroit within:50mi marketing? Note the question mark after the word marketing.

People are asking questions, complaining, and searching for stuff in every corner of the world on twitter and these people are often more than happy to hear from someone who can provide an answer locally. With a little practice you can set-up a series of tweets that might turn up leads for your business every single day.

Again, this is not an invitation to spam people, but with a little care and the fact that you can identify people through the flood of tweets, people expressing needs and wants, you can proceed to target and educate these folks by starting a conversation and answering their questions thoughtfully.

Build your network – you don’t need to stop at leads, you can also turn up some great potential strategic partners locally using this same approach.

Using the RSS function – because every search produces a unique RSS feed you can subscribe to all the searches you set-up and determine useful and that way you can get them in your RSS reader. I like this because it allows you to keep your searches sorted so you can respond and follow-up appropriately when you have the time.

Another great RSS trick with twitter is to republish search results. Let’s say you are hosting a conference and you want to publish all the buzz in and around your conference or webinar – you simply create a #hastag unique to your event and then search that tap, grab the RSS feed and use Feedburner’s Buzz Boost feature to easily post the dynamic feed on your site – I used this during Make a Referral Week – see the Make a Referral Week on twitter example on the left sidebar.

You can also set your searches up in a twitter client such as tweetdeck so you have desktop view of searches as they come in.

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  • http://www.refocusingtechnology.com/ Jeremy Lattimore

    John, thank you for the article. It’s a great reference for building from Twitter. It is amazing what a powerful resource Twitter can be for building your networks and building your business.

    Thanks.
    Jeremy @ RefocusingTechnology.com

  • http://hdcaricatures.com Brandon Hill

    His is ridiculously great. I had thought about how this could be pushed far beyond casual microblogging. Thanks a lot John.

  • http://www.aafeders.com Marcus

    Thanks for another eye-opening post John! I’ve been using Tweetdeck for a few months now and have several searches set up. But I really like to receive messages from TweetLater where I have a bunch of searches where people mention things regarding my business.

    I recently read an article where Twitter may overtake Google in search someday. Could be true!

  • http://franklinbishop.net/ Blog Expert

    Twitter is an awesome tool for marketing. That is if you use it right.

  • http://www.ridertech.com Matt

    There are some great market-specific sites too…

    http://twitter.ridertech.com (action sports)

    http://www.exectweets.com (executives)

  • http://askbusinesscoach.wordpress.com courtney benson

    Very useful input for anyone looking to garner business and provide value. You’ve added great value to your readers.
    Thanks!

  • http://www.apnijobs.com Kashif

    Good advice. I used the advanced search to help a fellow Tweeter found some resources in Philadelphia.

  • http://www.seo-check.dk Steen Seo Öhman

    Great post

    Have been working a little bit like this, and it works. You are further down the road and much more refined than me, so thanks for sharing your methods.

  • http://www.egracecreative.com Brandon Cox

    When I first started using Twitter, someone told me it would be the future of lead generation. I didn’t believe them until I started receiving leads. Now about 1 out of 4 proposals I offer to new clients comes through Twitter – some find me, some I find using the method you’ve outlined here. It’s a great tool for this purpose in addition to all of the other great purposes.

  • http://www.goeverywhere.com GoEverywhere Team

    Seriously valuable information you’ve provided here. I can see many ways that my personal business could benefit from this approach, and intend to implement it as soon as possible.

    The analogy of the cocktail part is very appropriate. If you walk up to each person there and say “Hi, do you want to buy a house?”, you won’t be around for very long. A lesson that needs to be learned by so many…

  • http://ewkrausecom.com/theportal Elaine W Krause

    THANKS so much for today’s post. I’ve been hearing about Advanced Search for weeks, but still hadn’t managed to connect the dots.

    I provide tech & biz writing services to the O&G industry. Am certain there are colleagues out there I might be networking with, as well as writers/reporters who cover the industry. More than I’ve found heretofore, in any case.

    So this was helpful & I thank you.

  • http://SalesOnlineWorld.com Dax Turner

    Great Post! People are looking for innovative ways to acquire business, especially in this down time of economy. Twitter is also watched as a medium to generate leads. But, targeting twitter just for leads will lead to spamming. We don’t need to over-utilize twitter for this.

    Leads will come our way if the company is dedicated and give cost effective ROI for people to succeed.

  • http://www.somedaysyndrome.com Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome

    Wow, great information. I’ll add it to the list of all the different ways I could be marketing/filling the hopper. Each month I try to pick just a few or I’d be working 16 hour days and that’s not why I’m starting my own business.

    I can see a sub-market of consultants developing here as Twitter-miners to help those of use who just don’t have the time.

  • John Jantsch

    @Alex – I agree, I think there is a business in there for just that kind of thing.

  • http://www.medlawplus.com/legalforms/ Joe

    I found the code on this page useful in encouraging people to twit my blog posts:
    http://twitthis.com/

  • http://hartofsuccess.com/ Stefanie Hartman

    Great article. Twitter is such a wonderful tool for growing a business.

  • http://www.dnaofsuccess.com Jack Zufelt

    Great post! With more and more people joining and using Twitter everyday it is becoming all the more useful and beneficial.

  • http://www.digitaloperative.com BJ Cook

    Hey John,

    Good use of the RSS technique. We’ve been using that to stream our company’s activity via our own hashtag into our homepage. You can view #dostream in Twitter or check out our homepage.

  • P. Tsaldari

    Dear John, I’ve really tried to wrap myself around the advanced searches and I don’t get the operator thing at all. I’ve read the support info and I’m trying very hard to understand this part of twitter. Just joined I’m completely lost – can you help?
    tks,
    PT

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  • http://www.tweetroi.com/ Twitter Marketing

    Ya this is great advice for individual profiles. Great info, John.

    You can also use a PPT like http://www.TweetROI.com to bring more potential followers to your profile, or just directly market to other people’s followers without even using your profile.

  • http://www.onlinetenders.co.za/ Tenders

    Twitter is so great for obtaining business leads, as well as obtaining breaking news in your industry!

  • http://www.onlinetenders.co.za/ Tenders

    Twitter is so great for obtaining business leads, as well as obtaining breaking news in your industry!