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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Feedburner, twitter

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