Twitter usually isn’t the first social network that comes to mind for lead prospecting. According to our 2015 State of Social Selling Survey, B2B sales professionals perceive LinkedIn as the most valuable social network for social selling activities. Of the respondents who think social networks provide value, 76% see value in LinkedIn, a significantly higher number than any other network.
The network ranked last? Twitter. It only garnered 16% of respondents who think social networks are valuable for sales. Gasp!
Setting the record straight
It’s not completely surprising that sales professionals might initially prefer LinkedIn or Facebook for social selling. Those platforms display information in a relatively static, easy-to-view format. The fast-paced nature of Twitter’s timeline means it’s easy to get lost in the noise. But that doesn’t lessen its potential on selling activities, and prospecting in particular. Twitter prospecting can be very powerful. You just have to know where to search.
Most sales professionals know how to search a keyword on their homepage, but many are missing out on the network’s Advanced Search feature. Hidden under a drop-down menu called “More Options,” Twitter users have the opportunity to filter, save and conduct tailored searches that make prospecting easy and efficient.
To make the most of Advanced Search, you should understand the potential of the following categories:
What are prospects tweeting about? Searching for keywords, phrases, and hashtags is easy with Advanced Search, allowing you to filter by a variety of matching rules. The possibilities here for prospecting are limitless. Have they shared an article related to your industry? Are they expressing symptoms of a challenge you can solve? What do you have in common?
For example, if you attend a sales conference with hundreds of other potential prospects, follow along with program hashtags, watch prospects interact with each other and at sessions, and become part of the dialogue. Then when you reach out, you’ll have already gathered insight into your prospect’s interests, business challenges and goals.
Unsurprisingly, the most important aspect of prospecting is people. Twitter’s Advance Search enables you to locate and follow the accounts that will help fill your pipeline, keep an eye on competitors, and learn from thought leaders.
The tool sorts people searches to see tweets coming from, directed toward, and mentioning certain accounts – so you don’t have to.
Tip: After you’ve found who you’re looking for, add them to a custom Twitter list. Then you can view a timeline of just those people who belong to a certain industry, conference, company, etc.
Filter your tweets and accounts by location to gather insight about a prospect and their activities. For example, if a prospect’s tweet includes a location that indicates they are traveling, whether for work or leisure, it allows you to adjust your outreach approach and timeline.
Another benefit of searching by location is to disqualify prospects who may be outside the geographic region of your typical buyer persona.
Trends change, products change, prospects change. This feature is a simple way to narrow down a timeline to see how a prospect was engaging on Twitter during a specific period.
The last feature of the Advanced Search is one that almost appears tailored to the quota-carrying salesperson. It allows a user to search for tweets categorized as positive, negative, a question or a retweet. Use these to find opportunities to engage with a prospect who has a question you can answer, or retweeted a whitepaper from your company.
Twitter is only one part of a successful social selling strategy. Learn about how to be more effective on LinkedIn, too!