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How to Use Twitter as a Lead Generation Tool

Twitter is among the top three social networking sites today and offers a micro-blogging service that lets its users send, receive and share messages via tweets. Tweets are text messages confined to 140 characters and can include links. Twitter users currently Tweet over 110M Tweets/day, at the time of writing this article. With traffic like that, who can ignore the gold mine that is Twitter?

Twitter – no shortage of business opportunities

It is only natural for internet marketers to leverage Twitter as a lead generation tool. The beauty of Twitter is that it allows easy conversation and for someone who is looking for business opportunities. Obviously, you would not try and sell directly to anyone with the prefix “@”. Keeping your eyes open and being alert to what is going on certainly helps. For example, someone might be looking for a specific service, and if you have the solution, you could probably suggest it to them and end up making a profit.

The short cut to generating leads on Twitter

However, it is hardly practical to browse Twitter all day trying to find leads. Here is where we make use of third party tools to shorten the distance between you and the prospects. Let us take a quick look at what you can leverage:

Twitter advanced search

If you use Twitter, you are probably aware of the basic search function. This lets you save a tremendous amount of time while you run searches using your name, or your business’s name, your brands, your competition and other tags. This will help keep track of your online business reputation as you look at the response to your tweets.

However, the advanced search function is what you should really take advantage of because it lets you run a search for your keywords by geographical location. So, if you live in Jacksonville, KY, and run an advanced search for who is in Jacksonville, KY, you can see who is saying what in that area. You are looking at real-time data you can filter and develop into business opportunities.

When you look at the advanced search form, you will realize that it is quite simple to run a search around a prospective lead that you might have identified. You can also use Twitter’s “search operators” and use the examples to come up with your own searches. Let us say you want to find out who wants your services in Lawrenceville, GA, you would create a search based on those terms or search operators.

Being responsive is the key

Twitter is full of people who post questions, opinions, requirements and just about anything and it is up to the marketer to utilize these tweets. If someone is looking for something, they would be pleased to have someone respond to their need, to identify, filter and respond to people asking questions or complaining. This becomes even more valuable if it is someone from their area. As a marketer, you can plan and set up a series of tweets that could very well convert into hot leads on a daily basis.

Remember, though, that you must take care to see that people don’t consider you a spammer. Instead, identify your niche and target people in that segment by triggering an interesting conversation and being helpful, eventually generating leads.

Not just leads, but a whole network

When you work on generating business leads from Twitter, bear in mind that you can also build a community around you that could yield business partners for different aspects of your business that you could work with.

RSS feeds can be a boon

Every search that you run will bring up RSS feeds you can subscribe to. You can decide which ones are worthwhile from the comfort of your RSS reader. The RSS function keeps your searches well-organized, helping you respond to the ones you find lucrative and follow-up.

You can also use the RSS function to republish the results from your search. If you happen to be planning an event, you can create a buzz around it by doing this. You can create a #hashtag that is specific to your event, run a search on that tag and get the RSS feed. You can then use Feedburner’s BuzzBoost feature under the Publicize tab of your Feedburner feed to publicise the dynamic feed on your site. It is easy.

If you would rather do this right from your browser, use Tweetdeck to see the real time search results on your desktop.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to leveraging Twitter for lead generation. Do you have your own tips to share? Do post them in the comments section.

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