Are you using Twitter to generate leads for your business?

Many business owners and marketers overlook the power of Twitter as a social selling platform. By leveraging the internal search engine and other third-party tools, you can double or triple the number of high-quality, targeted leads you get.

As with most things, you need to start with a cohesive plan to see the rewards of the time you spend. Here are some strategies to find and engage with potential buyers on Twitter.

Optimize your Twitter profile.

Craft a compelling bio

Make your bio count! You’ve got 160 characters to wow potential customers and visitors. Instead of being cute or whimsical, communicate your value and make people curious about who you are and what you do. Include hashtags that people might use to search for you.

Maximize your header image

Your Twitter header occupies prime real estate on your profile. Use it to promote your business, new product launch, upcoming webinar, book review, or free Ebook.

Pin a tweet to your profile

Pinned tweets are often overlooked on Twitter. In the same way that  you can pin a post to your Facebook page, you can pin a tweet to your Twitter profile.

As you start engaging and following prospects on Twitter, the first thing they’ll see on your profile is your pinned image. Make sure you put it to work!

Be strategic and include an attention-grabbing image with a clear call to action that directs people to your landing page, website, or blog for more information.

Create a prospect profile.

Before you search for leads, it’s important to define the people you’re trying to reach so that the time you spend on Twitter will be worth the effort.

Make a list of keywords related to your business and phrases that leads might use in their tweets.

Your prospect profile should also include five to ten target industries and job titles. If you’re a local business, you may want to include specific geographic areas.

Search for Leads.

The easiest way to find leads on Twitter is to use the tools and strategies below to search for hashtags, industries, titles, or phrases.

Search for specific hashtags

Use Twitter’s simple search feature to look for relevant hashtags. For instance, if your customers are interior designers, they’ll likely include the hashtags #interiordesign, #homedecor, #style, #architects, and #luxuryhomes.

Click through to the profiles in your feed to qualify them as potential customers.

If you’re struggling to find hashtags, a tool such as will reveal popular hashtags related to your keyword.

Search for recommendations

It’s common for people to ask for recommendations in their tweets. You can find tweets related to your product or service by entering a simple search query, for example,

Recommend (service or product) ? –http –link

Tweets with links are likely from people recommending their products or services. Using the query above will omit links and narrow your results to find highly targeted tweets.

Keep in mind that you may need to experiment with search queries. For instance, tweets for “recommend social media expert” are much different from tweets for “recommend social media consultant”.

Search for phrases

Twitter’s Advanced Search allows you to narrowly define your search by using filters such as exact phrases, accounts, locations, negative keywords, and more.

To access Advanced Search, enter a keyword in the main search next to your profile image. Next, select Show Search Filters from the left sidebar:

Enter your search criteria in the Advanced Search dashboard. The top section has many useful customization features, including:

  • All of these words: include these words in any order
  • This exact phrase: include these words in this exact order
  • None of these words: exclude these words

Excluding words is equivalent to using negative keywords from the link example above.

If you are an online marketer, these two results may be potential leads that need your services.

Search for job titles
Followerwonk is a tool that lets you search Twitter bios to find potential customers. The easiest way to search for buyers is to use a job title.

The free plan will give you access to 100 Twitter profiles, and you’ll need to click through to each profile to follow. If you decide to upgrade to a premium plan, you’ll have access to 1,500 profiles and can follow people directly from the dashboard. Premium plans start at $29 a month.

 Create email alerts for search queries.

Once you’ve tested search queries that deliver potential customers, use IFTTT to set up alerts so that you can respond to tweets quickly.

IFTTT is a tool that allows you to create conditional statements, or applets, between two services. With applets, you can define an event on service A that triggers an action on service B.

To set up email alerts for search queries, create an apple that notifies you by email when a tweet contains your search query.

Here is an applet for the search query above – social media consultant:

To set up email alerts, log in to IFTTT and select New Applet. On the next screen, select “+this” and choose Twitter. Then select “New Tweet from search” as the trigger.

If you haven’t already connected Twitter with IFTTT, you’ll be prompted to do so.

Next, enter the search query and select “Create Trigger.”

Select “+that” and choose Email as the second service. On the next screen, choose “Send me an email” as the event.

This applet will fire off an email when a new tweet matches your search query so that you can respond immediately.

Create applets for numerous search queries to increase your chances of getting leads.

 Add potential clients to lists.

 Once you’ve researched and found potential clients, you can organize them in Twitter lists. A list is a tool that allows you to filter out the noise in your feed and see only the timelines of targeted prospects, influencers, or competitors.

Lists also make it easy to keep track of tweets and conversations so that you can respond to new followers, buyers, and people who mention you in their tweets.

To create a list, hover over your profile and select Lists. On the list dashboard, select the top right button to create a new list.

Lists can be grouped by industries, job titles, competitors, or influencers and can be either private or public.

When you add members to public lists, they’ll receive a notification from Twitter. Make sure you keep lead lists private, so that your potential customers don’t know you’re stalking them!

Engage with Buyers.

The next step is to start engaging with leads by following them, tweeting, or messaging them. If a lead allows direct messaging, you’ll see a message button on their profile.

Twitter is a powerful platform for networking and engaging with potential leads. Below are some tips to get maximum results.

Be conversational
When you reach out to buyers, make sure you use a conversational, informal tone.

 Start with an icebreaker
People on social media don’t want to be pushed or nudged. Start with a relaxed approach by asking a question or introducing yourself. Whatever you do, don’t go for a sale right away.

Share valuable content
It’s likely that you have curated content libraries in Feedly or another tool. As you build out Twitter lists, share resources that will position you as an expert and provide value to potential customers.

Monitor conversations with TweetDeck

TweetDeck is a free social media monitoring tool that will help you track mentions, messages, and tweets from your leads and lists.

To set up a TweetDeck monitoring station, select the plus sign from the left menu and add columns and streams to the dashboard. The streams you’ll want to track most frequently are Notifications, Lists, Messages, and Mentions.

Once the columns are on your dashboard, you will be able to message, retweet, and engage with leads directly from TweetDeck.

Be sure to respond to messages, track the activity of potentials leads, and thank people for retweeting your content.

Another helpful feature is the Accounts tab. Use it to add team members who can engage on your behalf. Members you add will have access to your Twitter account through TweetDeck.

Message new followers

By adjusting the Notifications column in TweetDeck, you can track new followers and message them. Sharing a free resource or Ebook will help you increase the number of email subscribers and initiate conversations with buyers.


Twitter is an untapped source of social selling because many business owners and marketers don’t understand how to add it to their sales mix.

If you follow these steps, you can set up a sales system to find targeted leads, engage with potential customers and ultimately win new business.

Author Bio: Sandra Clayton is a serial entrepreneur who loves teaching entrepreneurs how to build a profitable online business. You can find her at her blog, Conversion Minded, where she shares everything she knows about online marketing so that you can build a life and a business that you love.

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