A Killer Way To Grab Customers And Fans On Twitter

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Twitter has always fascinated newbies as well as social media interns due to its inherent nature of interaction through limited status updates. Nowadays businesses and freelancers across the world are using this powerful social media platform to connect themselves with their fans, followers and customers. In fact, some of the companies are providing customer care through their official Twitter account in real-time. It's not just about regular customer support, but scavenging of potential clients on Twitter is also one of the growing trends among small businesses and freelancers. How to do this important task effectively? Well, it's not that hard as you may think initially. All you need is a dedicated account management team and a way to identify potential clients in real-time.

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Hiring a team of social media professionals is not that difficult, but the latter part is a bit tricky. Neither you can keep an eye on everybody's Twitter stream, nor can you broadcast your messages to everyone on Twitter. But you can definitely find relevant tweeps talking about the very same problems whose solutions you or your company provides to their customers. This is like finding relevant tweets (problems whose solution you provide) in real-time and engaging with these potential customers by answering their queries and questions.

This is like striking the iron when it is hot. Following this strategy yields good returns as these tweeps get quick answers to their problems. This way they're more likely to continue the conversation which gives you an opportunity to convert them into your loyal fans or customers. So let's get started and see how to do this.

Finding potential customers, the wrong way - Almost each one of us who is looking to find specific tweets uses advanced search feature available for Twitter. There's nothing wrong in it, but I'm very much disappointed to see that large number of people do it incorrectly. For example, if you're selling cakes, you may use the following search query on Twitter.

#cake OR #dessert OR #sweet

This is the worst search methodology which is often used even by dedicated social media team members. What's wrong with this query? After all, we are searching for relevant hashtags that people may be using with their tweets. But there are many pitfalls in this method of filtering relevant tweets. Here are the shortcomings of this query.
  • The query given above will pull all tweets in each and every language supported by Twitter increasing the junk for you, thus making the monitoring activity cumbersome.
  • The hashtag #sweet is very generic in nature and doesn't necessarily represent a tweet associated with food.
  • There's no mechanism to filter out those tweets where people are specifically asking questions.
  • It's not necessary that your potential clients will always use hashtags. (they may not even know about it).
  • Nine out of ten times, a tweet never contains links when people are asking some questions. There's no method to filter out tweets containing links.
Finding potential customers, the RIGHT way - The sample query discussed in the previous section presented us with several challenges that made the task more difficult instead of lightening the burden. So here's an ideal search query for finding potential clients on Twitter. Again we will assume that you're running a bakery shop in the New York area.
cake OR baking OR dessert -filter:links near:NYC within:10mi lang:en ?
The search query shown above is comparatively longer and contains some additional operators and directives for filtering relevant tweets. Let's dissect this search query and see how it will give us the required tweet stream for capturing potential customers.
  • We've removed the hashtag '#' pound operator from the query. This way tweets containing these words as hashtags or without the pound symbol, both will be included.
  • We've used 'cake' instead of 'cakes'. The word 'cake' will cover both types of tweets containing both the words - 'cake' & 'cakes'
  • The '-filter:links' operator ensures that all the tweets containing links are excluded.
  • The operators 'near:NYC' and 'within:10mi' ensures that only tweets coming from within 10 miles radius from New York city are included in the search results.
  • The operator 'lang:en' ensures that tweets in language other than English are excluded from the search results.
  • And last but not the least, the '?' operator includes only those tweets in which tweeps are asking some questions.
In a nutshell, this search query will look for tweets (devoid of any links) in English language originating from within 10 miles radius of New York city where people are asking a question and their tweet contains the following words or hashtags - cake, cakes, baking & dessert.

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