How to Use Social Media to Find New Leads Marketing

By Joel Windels on Feburary 12th 2013

There is a wide array of practical uses of employing a monitoring tool, from tracking coverage to conducting market research. One use that many don’t often consider however, is to hunt for leads.

The social web has humanised the internet, and you can tap into what people are sharing about themselves. Using SMM tools, you can find the exact kind of people that might be interested in buying your products. It’s amazing really. So amazing, in fact, that nearly 70% of marketers said they had generated leads through social media.

LateRooms, a UK-based booking agent for hotels and the like, wrote about how they used an SMM tool to search for leads, and how they cultivated a community into a place to generate sales.

Starting out is a different act depending on which type of business you run/work for. It can be a particularly powerful weapon for B2B companies to source leads that may be willing to investigate their services.

In fact, I use these tactics every day in my role at Brandwatch. I scour the web for people that may be interested in testing a monitoring tool, and the added beauty is that I don’t even have to do it actively, the whole process can be automated and passive once you’ve set it up.

Step one is to look for the conversation that pertains to your industry, but also to include terms that look for intent to purchase (or in our case, demo). Here is a simplified version of what I have set up, using Boolean operators:

“social media monitoring”


(trial OR demo OR demonstration OR “looking at” OR “looking for” OR test*))

This scans for people expressing intent to purchase a social listening tool, or more specifically: the former within 10 words of the latter.

After adding exclusion terms to help eliminate spam, and using trial and error to find the best results, you should be able to see all the online mentions that match this criteria.

Taking it a step further, you can monitor to keep an eye on all the leads your competitors are nurturing, and gear up to catch any fair-game leads they’re nurturing. Here’s a tiny snippet of the kind of monitoring I’m doing at Brandwatch:

“social media monitoring” OR “listening tool” OR


“ubervu” OR “uber vu” OR MMincite OR buzzmetrics OR “buzz metrics” OR collectiveintellect OR “collective intellect” OR webtrends OR “web trends” OR attentio OR “meltwater buzz” OR meltwaterbuzz OR cymfony OR “crimson hexagon” OR crimsonhexagon

This means that I’m looking at those with intent to buy not just a generic monitoring tool, but also capturing all those that refer to them by brand name only.

Then, using Alerts (I’ve explained how to use these in depth here), I can receive an email each time someone posts something online that matches my search terms.

Now I automatically get an email the instant one of these hot leads surfaces.

I can then swoop in with my cape on and help people like Georgina with links to independent reviews of the SMM space and an offer to help out with her search. You can also adapt the search strings to include specific use-cases of your product, so for us it would be influence.

In some cases I can send them links to relevant articles, steer them towards Brandwatch’s appropriate differentiators or help out with a query they might have. Another nice tactic is to try and add value to the conversation, but I’m always rather keen on avoiding direct sales techniques.

My opinion is that you can help point someone in the right direction, but ultimately the choice should be theirs to make. There is no point in forcing the sale, but helping someone with their problems and aiding them in understanding what it is they need, may actually end up resulting in a sale or referral in the long run.

The approach you take in dealing with this new source of leads is up to you, but it shouldn’t take too much investigation and experimentation to set up your own queries to look for leads in your field, in similar ways to how I’ve demonstrated in this article.

I’ll leave you with this collection of red hot leads that I’ve decided to continue monitoring – if only to put me in high spirits each morning – despite the fact that the competitor in question, Attentio, has gone out of business (we’ve also employed their former CEO in our sales team). Going to pounce on these prospects!



Joel Windels


Joel is the VP Marketing at Wandera, the innovators in enterprise cloud services and security. He ran a marathon once, and has a wide range of Pokemon in his Pokedex.