Finding leads on Twitter is so much more than just following hashtags or users. It can be an incredibly effective way to find new customers, generate sales leads and gain readers for your content. How do we know? Because we’ve not only used it here at Twilert (looking for people who may need help with Twitter features, Twitter monitoring and social media tools) but we’ve also helped tons of our users to come up with a lead gen action plan too.

In this guide we have put together all of our knowledge around using Twitter for lead generation, to find customers, clients and the people you want to be talking to.

Let’s get started.

Twitter to Find Leads Guide

The secret to lead generation on Twitter: Twitter search

To master lead generation on Twitter you first need to understand how Twitter search works. If you think of Twitter as a huge pool of leads, to get to the ones that matter you have to wade through a lot that don’t matter first.

Think of a hashtag: if you work in social media marketing you might follow #SocialMediaMarketing as a lead generation exercise. However, on this hashtag you’re probably going to see tons of tweets that aren’t relevant. They might be from competing companies, news aggregators or even spam.

The results could even be so broad that you’ll scan through the first 10 or so before giving up.

Similarly, Twitter lists are a great way to collect leads but they limit you to customers or clients you’ve already found, not new ones.

This is where Twitter search is your secret weapon. Twitter search narrows down hundreds, sometimes thousands, of tweets to just the few that matter.

Here’s how it works in a few simple steps.

Using Twitter search for lead generation

To begin using Twitter search for lead generation, think of a question a potential customer might ask online, or a question that you have seen a lead ask in the past. This might be something like:

Can anyone recommend a gas engineer in New York

There are two key ways you could search for this in Twitter.

1. Search for all keywords, in any formation

By entering the words Can anyone recommend a gas engineer in New York, Twitter Search will look for any tweets that contain ALL of those words, in any formation. If a tweet matches all of those keywords, it will be surfaced in your results.

Twitter search results

The reason behind why there are no results for this search is important and we’ll come back to it in a minute.

2. Search for a phrase

If you entered this question as a phrase, shown to Twitter by containing it in quotation marks e.g. “Can anyone recommend a gas engineer in New York” Twitter will look for tweets that contain that question in that exact order. Two of the keywords could be swapped in a tweet and Twitter will not show it as it is not an exact phrase match.

The important thing to note is that with both of these searches it’s unlikely you will get a large amount of search results, if any at all. Both are far too specific and unlike Google, which will look for a “close enough” match, Twitter’s search function uses Boolean search operators which are very specific.

With that in mind, there is a better way to search.

How to choose keywords for Twitter search lead generation

To find a method that’s somewhere in the middle of the broad scope of hashtags and exact question matches in Twitter search (too specific), you need to become a pro at choosing the few keywords that matter.

For example, if you think a potential question a lead might ask is Can anyone recommend a gas engineer in my area? you could search:

Recommend gas engineer ?

This pulls out the most important key words, but doesn’t add so many keywords that there are no matches.

gas engineer

The results will be specific enough for you to find leads that you can reply to, without you having to search through tons of irrelevant tweets.

How to format the perfect Twitter lead generation string

In our experience, there’s a magic formula of search string that seems to work for most industries.

First of all, you need a verb that relates to a question someone might ask. This could be recommend as seen above, help, tell or something similar.

Next, you need a noun or two that will narrow down the search and make it relevant to your niche. This could be gas engineer, hair stylist, social media agency, company, dog walker or anything you like.

If you are a location-specific business you may also want to pair this with another location-specific noun such as New York, London, Paris or even something smaller such as a region or state.

You may also want to add a question mark as this often splits out promotional tweets: “Check out our blog on how to find a social media agency” and questions from users “how can we find a social media agency?”.

Lead generation searches in action 

To see this formula in real life uses cases let’s look at some examples.

Twitter lead generation for an agency

You are: a social media agency looking to take on new clients

You search: social media agency recommend ?

 social media lead generation agency

Out of the immediate results, 3/4 are for people looking for recommendations of a new social media agency. From this, you could tweet the users, follow them, or get in touch and offer your services.

Remember, if you only want to see the latest tweets that match your keywords, you can filter the search results by “latest”.

Twitter lead generation for a tradesman

You are: an electrician working in the North London area

You search: recommend electrician north london ?

Twitter lead generation for tradesmen

Again, there are at least 3 results which may be relevant.

HINT: What you may notice with these results is that time is of the essence. Most people who turn to Twitter to ask for a recommendation are looking for a response there and then.

If you are months, or sometimes even days, late to the party you can often miss the opportunity or get beaten to the mark by other suppliers.

Once you have found the right keyword formula for you, try setting it up with our Twitter monitoring tool Twilert. Twilert monitors Twitter 24/7 and sends you email digests, hourly, daily or in real time, with the tweets that match your keywords.Twitter monitoring searchBy setting your prime keywords up within a Twilert, you can get notified by email every time there’s someone in your area, looking for your specific service. This will ensure you are fast enough to secure the new business.

Twilert email alert example

Twitter lead generation for a freelance photographer

You are: a freelance photographer looking for new projects

You search: recommend wedding photographers ?

Photographer lead generation

Another great example of a simple search and quality results.

Other lead generation Twitter search ideas

As well as the traditional verb + noun + question mark search you can also search for tweets where the user mentions your services, without actually asking for help.

For example, if you are a web designer you could search:

Hate my website 🙁

make my website faster ? 

can anyone help wordpress

All of which, could find you new leads and people to follow, interact with and potentially sell your services to.

Get started today

There is a certain amount of trial and error when it comes to generating leads on Twitter. Often it can take just a tweak of a word or two to go from a search that doesn’t generate the right results, to a whole host of results that lead to sales.

Think about the questions your customers might ask and the problems you solve, then use these to create Twitter search queries that work.

To begin saving your lead generation searches in Twilert, try out our 30-day free trial here.


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