HOW TO: Locate business sales leads on Twitter

27/11/2009 at 10:47 am Leave a comment

Twitter users frequently ask the Twittersphere for recommendations on suppliers of good are services; or they’ll happily share what it is they’re looking to buy next in the hope another user can offer some tips or advice.  These shared needs offer enormous potential for business, as each one is a potential sales lead.  Read on to find out how to locate those posts and respond to them.

The search engines are worried.  More and more people are asking the millions of people they can now reach on social networks their questions rather than going to traditional search sites like Google and Bing.  And why wouldn’t they?  Rather than getting thousands of irrelevant results presented by the best a robot and database can achieve, they are asking real people and getting real answers.  Social networks have enabled a return to word of mouth in a way that hasn’t existed since search engines claimed they could do a better job.

(I have blogged on this very topic so for more detail go to “Why smart business are looking for leads on social networks, not Google”.)

This presents a great opportunity for businesses.  When a Twitterer posts a need or request for a recommendation, they don’t care who answers.  But they’re very likely to take seriously the answer they get.  It could be their followers are able to answer, or maybe not.  But no one really keeps tags on who is following them anyway, so if YOU answer they’ll treat your reply with the some seriousness as any other.

All you need to do is to find out who is tweeting a need for what it is your business does.  And that is where our Twitter Sales Leads tool comes in.  Here’s how to use it.

If you’re an existing WeCanDo.BIZ member you can go straight to Step 3.

Step 1
First off, if you haven’t done so already, come and sign up using your Twitter ID at WeCanDo.BIZ:

Step 1: Signing in to WeCanDo.BIZ (click to enlarge)

We require a few pieces of information about you that Twitter doesn’t provide, but you only have to give that once — we DO NOT sell it on! — and then you’ll be able to sign straight in using your Twitter ID via OAuth, Twitter’s official way of supporting third party applications (we are Twitter application developers).

Step 2
Next up, we need to find out a little about your business, so complete a Business profile — it’s free!

Step 2: Complete a Business profile (click to enlarge)

All of the information we request is necessary to help find you sales leads and to authenticate your association with the company you are adding.  It may seem detailed but it helps to reduce instances of company identities being hijacked.

Make sure to spend a little time and thought on your keywords as these will be critical.  Think of the words that potential customers will use to try and locate a company like yours and use all possible variants.  For example, if you are an accountant, use “accounts”, “accounting”, “accountancy”, “tax”, “VAT”, “year “, “end”, “companies”, “house” etc.

For free you get 10 keywords but if you need more upgrade to a Pro Networker, which gives you 50 keywords.

When complete, you’re ready to starting playing with our Twitter Sales Leads tool which you’ll see a button for at the top of the website page along the green bar.

We show you the keywords associated with your business an enabled you to use combinations of these, either together or alone, to find people with a need for what you do on Twitter.

To try it out, tick just some of the keyword boxes and then click “Search”.  Note that if you select the “ALL” option, the tool will look for all the keywords you have ticked being present in a single tweet, e.g. “I need someone to do my year end accounts“.  Otherwise, it will bring up tweets where it sees ANY of those keywords in a tweet.  This will bring more results but many are likely to be inappropriate matches.

Step 3: Searching for Twitter Sales leads on keyword combinations (click to enlarge)

Try various combinations of keywords to bring up different results.

Added: The sceptics of you may be thinking that you can use Twitter search tto find the same results.  As well as scouring the 27 millions tweets a day for your keywords, we also look ONLY for tweets where there is an expressed need, like “looking for”, “we need”, “can someone suggest”, “can anyone recommend” etc.  If you have 10 business keywords you would need to do 50 seperate Twitter searches to find the same results; even more to search on combinations of keywords!

Step 4
You can find out more about the people behind interesting leads you find, plus reply to them to position your offering or ask if they still have a need.

Just click on the “More info >>” link under each tweet to find out the location of the tweeter, the number of followers they have and to get a link to their website to find out more about them.

Step 4: Finding out more and replying to needs (click to enlarge)

This area also offers the ability to reply to a tweet.  You don’t need to add the “@user” bit as we do that for you behind the scenes.  Just type your response.

To the right of this area you can choose to follow that Twitter user if you wish.

Note that the above options will only be available to you if you have signed in to Twitter through our site using OAuth, but you can do that on the Twitter Sales Leads page even if you logged in through some other means.

Replies will come into your normal way of interfacing with Twitter, be that the Twitter website or a tool like TweetDeck.  Our aim is to broker the introductions so you can start dialogue with a potential customer.

Next week we’ll be adding the ability to create lead for each identified opportunity within your WeCanDoCRM Social CRM system, so you can keep track of it through to close.


All feedback welcomed! Just post below.


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