How to Use Twitter to Find Sales Prospects and Generate New Leads for B2B Companies


By truly harnessing the power of Twitter and other social networks, B2B companies can identify new sales prospects, nurture them through direct communication, and convert them into qualified leads that have a higher chance of becoming customers.

But, how can you turn Twitter followers into leads? In this article, I’ll discuss how B2B companies can use an approach of proactive social outreach to transform Twitter into a reliable source of quality leads.

Demand Generation and Social Prospecting

Before delving into lead generation through Twitter, let’s get on the same page about a few basic terms.  Demand generation is defined as the actions you take to drive awareness and interest in your organization’s services or products, and it’s commonly used in longer buying cycles and B2B transactions.

Social prospecting is the process of identifying potential B2B leads for your business through social media. Keep in mind that prospecting relies on listening to what users have to say in order to identify their interests. Then, once you’ve identified the audience who are interested in your product category, you’ll want to engage them in the right context. This is what proactive social outreach is all about.

Using Twitter for Lead Generation

Since it was first launched in 2006, Twitter has become the second leading social media platform used today. This is why 87% of business marketers already use Twitter as part of their marketing mix.

B2B Content Marketing by Content Marketing Institute
via B2B Content Marketing by Content Marketing Institute

Twitter isn’t just a place to post your content and engage with users one-by-one. This platform actually offers a superb channel for finding B2B prospect at scale and turning them into leads. Twitter provides two unique advantages as a lead generation channel:

  1. You can easily identify your target audience on Twitter because all profiles and tweets are considered public data
  2. There are multiples ways to engage with people on Twitter and promote your business.

Twitter has a myriad of advertising options and they’ve allowed third-parties build applications on top of its dataset to facilitate lead generation.

It’s hard to stand out on Twitter just by tweeting. To generate leads, you also need to do the following:

Target the Right Segment

To help you identify your ideal market segment, you can look at the keywords they use in their tweets and who they are following. Actions taken on Twitter that shine a light on prospects’ interests and pain points include:

– Mentions of specific topics or pain points your company can solve

– Engagement or mentions of influencers and companies complementary to yours

– Using hashtags for upcoming conferences in your industry

– Follows, mentions and replies to the Twitter handles of your company or executives

– Follows, mentions or replies to your competition

Since these people are already showing interest in your space, they’re much more receptive to having a conversation with you.

Engage With Your Target Audience in Context 

Once you identify your target audience, you should engage them in a timely manner and make sure you provide a lot of value in your messages.

With social lead generation software, you can follow your target audience on Twitter automatically. If they return the follow, you can send them direct messages (DMs) that can be personalized according to the information you already have (i.e. the relevant keyword used in a recent tweet). These messages can feature links that send prospects to a landing page for a whitepaper or webinar on your website, so that you can add new leads to your database.

Kaseya, a leading provider of IT management solutions, took this approach and was able to grow their Twitter presence by 58%, from 18,800 Twitter followers to over 29,670 followers within the last 12 months.

To find the audience who would be most receptive to their offers, they searched for IT Directors, IT managers and CIOs who have taken actions such as:

– Mention a technology topic (i.e. Active Directory, mobile dev, managed services)

– Follow or engage with IT influencers (i.e. @CIOMagazine, @CIOOnline, @InformationWeek)

– Follow or engage with a cloud infrastructure player (i.e. @Azure)

Then, they set up an automated campaign to engage this audience on Twitter. Once a person follows Kaseya back, the campaign would send out a personalized direct message (DM) that features a top-of-funnel whitepaper an IT professional may be interested in.  For example, a white paper featuring benchmarking data on IT operations – to pique their interest in what their industry peers are doing.

Once a lead downloads a whitepaper, they’re added to Kaseya’s marketing database and are nurtured through a series of emails until they take enough actions to go over the Marketing Qualified Lead threshold.

You don’t have to wait until someone responds to your Twitter direct message to reach out to them.

Although Kaseya only emailed the leads who filled out a form to download a whitepaper, you can also reach out to new leads through email as soon as they follow your brand on Twitter.

Social lead generation software will pull lead information, such as corporate email address, company name, and company size for the leads in your campaign. You can sync the lead information into your marketing automation platform or CRM automatically, and use this data to craft email campaigns to move leads down your funnel.

This two-pronged approach works because you are connecting with people in context, when your brand is still top of mind. Our marketing team found that when we send a new Twitter follower a personalized “Just reaching out” email in the first 24 hours after they follow us, this email gets double the open rate compared to our typical nurture emails.

Set KPIs for Your Sales Funnel

If you want to your Twitter lead generation campaign to work, you’ll need to set tangible objectives with funnel-specific KPIs that help you gauge the success of your efforts. These are some metrics to look at:

  • Number of website visitors coming from Twitter
  • Form fills acquired from Twitter visitors
  • Conversions generated
  • Number of website visitors coming from Twitter
  • Leads from Twitter that are becoming Marketing Qualified Leads or Sales Opportunities

Additionally, if you’re gaining relevant followers on Twitter, you should start to see greater engagement with your content on Twitter, in terms of shares and retweets per post.

When you use social lead generation software, you’ll be able to see metrics like keyword success rate on a keyword by keyword level, allowing you to optimize your campaign and get better results. You can launch your campaign and let it run on a continuous basis, and you receive new leads in your email marketing or CRM system every day.

In Conclusion

Twitter offers one of the most effective demand and lead generation channels available to B2B marketers and its value goes beyond content distribution. By using social lead generation software, you can turn Twitter into a lead generating machine and build the pipeline to boost the health of your sales funnel.


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