Twitter is still the easiest social network to use to find and converse with just about anybody - celebrities, experts, prospective clients and employees alike.
All you need is the right set of ideas and tools.
Here are five workable hacks for prospecting using Twitter.
1. Build a Twitter search funnel that automatically qualify prospects
Twitter is a pool of expressed opinions and important questions. You simply need to a way to identify the right ones that point you to your prospects, and Twitter’s advanced search is a great place to start.
For instance, someone might tweet, “Does anyone know an interior designer in Denver?” or “I’m looking for an interior designer who can present using AutoCAD.”
#PEI refers to a place, Prince Edward Island.
Twitter’s advanced search gives you the ability to catch those conversations and jump-in where it matters.
List down all the questions or opinions that your prospects might be sharing, and run advanced searches for them on a regular basis. In the interior design example, those questions and opinions may be:
- We need better decor in the office space.
- I’m planning to redo the kitchen
- What is the best time of year for landscape installation?
Each niche probably has several potential keywords or queries that can help you identify great prospects. You can use Twitter’s advanced search to find yours.
Twitter’s search feature also offers multiple features to help optimize your results. For instance, if you enter a long-tail keyword and choose “All of these words”, the tool will match the words in your query without considering their order, while “This exact phrase” will take the order of the words into account.
You can also use account-based, location-based, and sentiment-based filters to qualify your tweets:
After finding the tweets, you can simply hit reply and respond to them. Once you have identified prospects, another way to catch their attention is by adding them to a Twitter list and engaging with their content on a regular basis.
Use IFTTT recipes to automate and increase the effect of your prospecting efforts
One of IFTTT's applets sends you an email each time someone mentions a keyword or hashtag that you are monitoring. This was a hack that marketing expert Daniel Knowlton found. To set that up, you first have to create an account on the app.
Once you have, click on My Applets > New Applet.
Click on the plus symbol to choose your service, trigger, and action to create your recipe.
Pick Twitter as your service, “New tweet from search” as your trigger and “Send me an email” as your action. Before that you’ll have to enter the keyword that you want to monitor, for instance “Landscaping in San Francisco”.
You can then find the users who have mentioned your keywords on Twitter, follow them and add them to different Twitter lists based on how far up the conversion funnel they are, and interact with them accordingly.
2. Define and monitor potential purchase signals across the internet
The Twitter funnel described above covers only your prospects on Twitter who are mentioning certain keywords. You should ideally support that strategy by monitoring prospects off the platform as well, because there are several top-of-the-funnel prospects and people inactive on Twitter whom you might miss. You might also miss several micro-influencers who aren’t caught by the automated funnel (it has certain limitations).
You could find these prospects anywhere on the internet and then interact with them on Twitter.
First, set up keyword alerts on a bunch of keyword monitoring tools. In my experience, I’ve noticed that most of these tools function differently, so I like to use a combination of 2-3 of them for an ongoing project.
Say you run a nursery selling potted plants and balcony decor. You want to increase your sales quickly before spring. You can:
- Reach out to individual prospects (including ones that you can catch here that you miss on the automated prospecting funnel)
- Active micro-influencers who can talk about you give you access to prospects
Enter your keyword and choose how frequently you want to receive a report. You can also add location and language filters if you want only local results:
Add a project on Brand24. Use “Required keywords” and “Excluded keywords” to refine your results. You can also choose sources, exclude sites, and request both email and mobile notifications:
Once you have hits on these keywords, locate the authors of those posts on Twitter and add them to your Twitter lists. Interact with them on a regular basis.
3. Set up a regulated content outreach system
Once you have connected with prospects on Twitter and possibly inspired them to follow you, it’s important to keep them engaged with the right content. By building a Twitter presence that reflects your expertise, you can create awareness with top-of-the-funnel prospects and convince mid-funnel prospects that you are a serious contender.
According to DemandGen Report – 2016 Content Preferences Survey, nearly 50% of B2B buyers refer to up to five articles before connecting with sales personnel.
Begin by curating top-notch content in your niche to share on your Twitter pages.
Create a Twitter list with the top 10 influencers who share the best content in your niche:
You can retweet posts that relate most to your brand from the content on that list.
You can also use social media management and content curation tool DrumUp to setup a powerful content outreach system.
Signup on the tool and choose keywords for which you want content suggestions:
You should see a fresh lineup of content suggestions under the “Recommended” tab daily. You can schedule the content you like to your social accounts from there.
If you can’t manage to read and approve the content by yourself, use DrumUp’s Slack integration to send your “Recommended” stream into a Slack channel where your teammates can help you read and approve some posts.
You can do that by clicking on the Slack icon on the bottom left of the dashboard.
To make your content reserve more complete, add RSS feeds of the 10 best news publications and blogs to the “Feeds” tab:
You should see the latest posts from those publications and blogs in your “Feeds” stream, from where you can schedule them to your social accounts.
Also save the posts you like to the library using the star symbol anywhere on the dashboard so you can read them later or create a reserve for a rainy day.
Finally, also add your blog’s RSS feed to the Feeds tab and set it to autopost so every post published on your blog automatically goes out on all of your accounts:
Identify the people regularly interacting with your content via Analytics on the Twitter dashboard by referring to your top mention and top follower.
Usually, when these repeat over months, you could possibly have a superfan, influencer, or brand advocate whom you can activate to create big impact for your business.
4. Gather insights from tangential tweets
Focusing on specific keywords and demographics can make you myopic, causing you to miss interesting insights that aren’t fully related to your niche.
For instance, many marketers consider non-competing companies targeting the same audience as good benchmarks for content research.
Let’s take tech developers as an example. One company develops arcade games for mobile apps. The other develops strategy games for the Nintendo Wii. Now they both target more or less the same demographic – under-35 year-olds who play games – but they don’t compete on any level.
So it isn’t enough to just monitor your competition, you also need to monitor companies targeting the same people as you because they can give you a lot of inspiration and content ideas.
On your Twitter lists, ensure that you don’t only look at what people are saying about your niche, but also what they talk about in general. You might discover likes, dislikes, passions, concerns, and lifestyle choices without having to pay for expensive research.
You can also subscribe to public lists of influencers and people targeting your audience to search for insights.
Note what people are talking about and the hashtags that they are using. Interact with the people on your Twitter lists regularly.
5. Use live broadcasts to pique prospect attention
Livestreaming is here and already exploding. Facebook has Live and Twitter has Periscope, and many big brands already have strategies in place to make the most of the trend.
The good news is that many small businesses are not there yet – you won’t see a lot of livestreaming on their channels. You can still move in and make an impact before the mass shift from television to digital happens, as Tom Ward observed in his Forbes 2017 trends post.
On live video, people can experience what you have to offer rather than read about it or listen to it. Take full advantage of that. Your audience can also see your team, the people behind the product.
AudienceBloom has a great set of ideas for livestreaming, so I’ll just share that with you here.
It is a good idea to create some buzz before you launch a livestream so you have a sizeable audience for it.
You could announce it at the end of a Twitter chat, so the people leaving that chat can quickly move to your livestream. You can begin with short ones that pack a punch before moving to something longer once you have mastered the art of video engagement.
It is now over to you to test these ideas for your business. I always try one new thing each week and give myself the entire week to properly implement it. You could try that strategy to put these hacks into practice as well.
About the Author
Disha Dinesh is a Content Strategist at Godot Media, a leading content agency. Her interests include social media and content marketing. When she's not on the hunt for content and social media trends, she’s foot-tapping to the latest in progressive music.