How Twitter’s Advanced Search Can Help You Finally Start Driving Social Media Leads
The search for new customers is as old as business itself, but the methods have evolved over time.
Where once there was the cold call – a marketing tactic that 90% of decision-makers now say they would never answer – today there’s social media.
But how do you find leads on Twitter? The answer: Advanced Search.
If you know how to find them, it’s only a matter of selling them. Here’s why (and how) you can use Twitter’s Advanced Search to generate more leads for your business.
Why Use Twitter’s Advanced Search to Generate Leads?
Twitter has two forms of search: a basic search feature and their Advanced Search. You can find the basic search feature at the top of your Twitter homepage as a toolbar that looks like this:
The Advanced Search feature is an extension of the basic search bar, and it looks like this:
To conduct an Advanced Search, you can either visit twitter.com/search-advanced or do the following:
- Enter your search in the search bar on twitter.com.
- At the top of your results page, click More options and then click Advanced Search.
- Enter criteria in the appropriate fields to refine your search results (see below for some helpful tips).
- Click Search to see your results.
According to Social Quant, the Advanced Search feature allows you to sort through the over 500 million tweets that are sent out each day.
The trickiest part of the process, of course, is knowing what to search for.
Before diving into the basics of Advanced Search, you have to understand who your Twitter audience is, which keywords, hashtags and other trends they’re following, why they would follow you, and how to reach them.
If that seems like a lot, don’t worry. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Here’s a breakdown.
Who is your audience on Twitter?
If you already have a good idea of your target audience, you should take a moment to see whether or not that audience is even on Twitter.
According to Business Intelligence, these are the general demographics of users on Twitter:
Does that match with your core audience? Advanced Search will still work even if only a fraction of your audience is on Twitter, but you should always go to your chosen audience’s platform to do the majority of your lead generation.
Which keywords, hashtags, and trends are they following?
We’ll get to the specifics of how to do this later, but for lead generating purposes, you’re looking for trends that are relevant to your niche.
Why would they follow you?
Shopify reveals that 72% of users are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that they follow on Twitter. And 30% will recommend a business that they follow to others.
The top reasons that most users follow a brand on Twitter include things like discounts and promotions, free offers, and access to exclusive content. So if you have something to offer that’s relevant to their needs, you’re more likely to generate leads from those followers.
Once you have a general idea of who your audience is and what they might be looking for, you can start your search.
Some of the things you will be looking for include:
- What customers are saying about your business
- What questions they are asking about your industry or your business
- What your competitors are saying about you or your audience
- Which keywords, hashtags, and trends (topics) they are searching for
Here’s how to use Advanced Search to do that.
1. Tracking Mentions and Usernames
There are a lot of different ways you can use Advanced Search, but as Social Media Examiner says, “Username search queries are one of the best ways to track new leads and learn about your market.”
Username search or mention queries can be great for finding specific businesses that you already know about, such as competitors or prospects from your email list.
To perform an Advanced Search, use the filters “From these accounts” and “To these accounts.”
This will let you see any tweets sent to and from accounts with those keywords. You can add a company name (or your own company name) to the “Mentions” filter for more results.
Results will also let you see any influencers who are talking about those brands.
This will enable you to do repeated searches for other brands or competitors mentioned.
Keep in mind that any search will automatically pull from the “Top Tweets.” If you want to see recent tweets or filter search results further, choose a different box at the top of the search results page.
2. Searching by Sentiment and Answering Questions
Your next option is to find users by sentiment – how they feel about your industry or a specific topic or niche – or by questions they’re asking about your industry or brand.
To do this, you can combine a few filters on Advanced Search.
You can use the People filters (to, from, mention) to locate specific brands, or you can use the Words filter to find specific keywords or hashtags, like so:
Then, at the bottom of the Advanced Search box, you can check boxes for sentiment or questions (or both):
For example, let’s say someone was hosting a webinar on a topic you also wanted to create content or a webinar about.
You could search for the keywords, “webinar,” and “?” and add the username or brand name of the person who hosted it. You would also want to check the box for positive sentiment.
You would then see anyone who has mentioned the webinar or the topic:
This can be a great tool for finding high-quality leads that might be interested in a specific offering you have, such as a webinar, event, ebook, or another lead-generation tool.
You can also search for tweets that have negative social proof. This might help you identify pain points and complaints about certain topics in your industry.
For example, you could search keywords or hashtags related to your niche with a negative sentiment:
This gives you insight into what direction your content strategy should take, and it allows you to jump into conversations or respond to those tweets with some advice (or a better webinar) of your own.
3. Tracking Competitor Activity
You can track competitors by searching for their brand or mention using the traditional Twitter search toolbar, but using Advanced Search will give you a little more power.
Using the keyword or hashtag search tools in combination with the People filters will allow you to listen in on conversations that are taking place between those brands and their followers.
For example, you could see how your competitors are responding to their audience by searching for hashtags and mentions:
This will show you who is tweeting about competitors, what they’re saying, and what the general sentiment is:
You can also check the questions and negative sentiment boxes to see how they deal with pain points or complaints from their followers. You can see this by searching “To:[Competitorname]:”
Although getting to know the competition in this way may provide you some valuable insight into how they handle their customers, remember that you might not always be able to “poach” customers directly from them through negativity (e.g., “Unhappy with this? Try us instead!”).
Some users might find this spammy or annoying.
Instead, focus on positivity. If there’s a question that your competitor hasn’t answered, retweet the question with a link to a relevant piece of content from your site.
This gives you the advantage of not appearing spammy while also benefiting your other followers.
4. Exploring Relevant Keywords and Hashtags
Of course, all of the above search strategies rely on you already having users in mind. What if you’re not sure who your potential audience might be?
The best way to find new followers or prospective leads is to explore keywords and hashtags. This is fairly easy to do with Advanced Search.
Simply type in the keywords you want (no hashtag) followed by a space between them, like so:
This will show you a general list of users who have tagged posts with these relevant search terms. But that might not be enough to generate leads.
To take things a step further, combine keywords and hashtags:
This will give you a more in-depth list of influencers and other businesses that are talking about those hashtags and topics. (Bonus tip: Check the questions box).
You can retweet or follow those influencers, follow their links and see who has engaged them that way, or see who responds to their threads.
You can narrow and expand your parameters for these searches as much as you need to. Add hashtags, keywords, and mentions to see content from specific brands or simply search a single keyword.
If you’re not sure which hashtags to choose, consider using a tool like Hashtagify that will allow you to find, track, and analyze hashtags in more depth.
Next Steps After Finding Leads on Twitter
So you know how to use Twitter’s Advanced Search. What’s next?
The next step is to figure out how to turn the results you get into qualified leads. Here are a few things you can do to generate leads after you’ve performed your searches.
1. Send a follow request, retweet, or tweet to a prospect.
The easiest thing you can do is follow any prospective leads. It takes a microsecond to click the follow button.
After that, send a retweet or a tweet to anyone who has mentioned your brand or included a relevant hashtag in their posts. This will build your following.
Use follows as an opportunity to grow your influence and amplify your own content, too.
2. Build your list.
You can also add prospective leads to a list. Using a tool like TweetDeck, you can organize your list for easier tracking and searching in the future, and you can save your searches.
Be careful about the list-building tools you choose, though. There are a lot of automated services that claim they can build you a list but do so in less than reputable ways.
You should also be careful not to use your list to spam accounts, as it can get you banned from Twitter.
3. Listen for “buying language.”
When using Advanced Search to monitor your feed, you want to find users who are most open to buying your product or engaging with your brand in some way.
You want to search for terms like “anyone recommend” or “any advice on [topic]” to identify those who might need help with a problem that your brand can solve.
Add a hashtag or a mention to see specific recommendations that might be out there already for your product or for a competitor.
A quick tweet, reply or DM of “Hey, I saw you asked about this, thought I could help with a recommendation” to someone on Twitter can move them into the buying process.
4. Send them a link back to your site.
A tweet can often be an invitation for help, but it’s not always a request for a hard sell. The goal of gathering prospects on Twitter is to get them to your profile page or your website.
When tweeting or responding to leads, it’s important to provide them with information that can move them forward in the sales cycle. Consider adding a link to relevant content, replying with a landing page, or simply directing them to a product.
(Bonus tip: You can use the “retweet” feature of Advanced Search with this).
After that, it’s a matter of making sure your website works well enough to capture the leads you bring in from Twitter.
5. Set up your Twitter profile to capture leads.
Have a clear and focused Twitter profile that explains exactly what you do and be active on the site. Users will know if you’re just there to spam them.
Tweet often. Comment on subjects that are relevant to your industry. Don’t just tweet to sell; tweet to be part of the community and grow a following. Once you have a name for yourself, you’ll be able to capture leads from social media without having to search for them.
The aim is for your brand to truly engage with followers, so the bottom line is: Build relationships. Don’t just spam.
Searching for users, brands, and topics is a great way to generate leads on Twitter, but it does take a little legwork.
Thankfully, you can use Twitter’s Advanced Search to filter through the noise and find people who are ready to buy or who are, at the very least, curious about what you have to offer.
Remember to boost the power of your search results by combining filters like hashtags, mentions, and keywords.
Don’t be shy about performing multiple searches in order to get your results. Just like any good lead-generating tool, it takes time to do it right.