Twitter the lead generation tool

Adam Green (@140dev) commented the following on this Techcrunch post on April 24th, 2009:

“There may be millions of people on Twitter, but if you know how to do the right Google search, you can pick out exactly the people you want to reach. It is an amazing lead generation tool. All you have to do is look for the right patterns in user bios. for example to find all the lawyers, you can search for:

(intext:”bio * legal” OR intext:”bio * lawyer”) site:twitter.com

I’ve written up this complete procedure for creating Google Alerts based on these searches on my blog:

The great thing about doing this with Google Alerts is that you will be notified as soon as a new bio is created or edited with your keywords. This lets you follow people when they have a new account, which is when they are most likely to follow back.

So in time Twitter bios will be a directory for millions of professionals. It is so light weight that it may replace Facebook for people’s “home page” online. Best of all, it doesn’t insist on your current sexual preference and marital status. I’m sure a lot of professionals are not that interested in publicly announcing their preferences in hooking up.

The advertising implications of knowing the bios of millions of people and being able to deliver selective “follow lists” will be huge. Right now Twitter auto-follows celebrities when you create an account. I’d rather auto-follow potential customers.”

Adam Green’s (@140dev) blog post:

“Twitter search tools are everywhere now, and most of them are much faster than Google Alerts, but they focus on the text of a tweet. If you are looking for marketing contacts to follow, chasing every use of a keyword in tweets is casting a very wide net, and can waste a lot of time. For example, just because someone uses the word lawyer in a tweet doesn’t mean that they work in the legal profession. If you want to develop a quality list of contacts through Twitter, you are better off trying to find people who use your keywords in their username or bio.

That’s where Google Alerts comes in. If you build the right query, you’ll be notified every time a new Twitter account is created by someone who wants to tell the world they are closely associated with your keywords. The nice part of this approach is that you will discover new users as they create their accounts, which is when they are most likely to follow you back. We’ll work this procedure out step by step using legal contacts as an example. The information we are looking for is on a user’s Twitter profile page. If you look at the profile page for the user @legaltwitt you’ll see that the user name is in the title.

Example Twitter Bio

We can create a Google Alert for exactly the pattern of a profile page. This will keep us from getting alerts where the keyword just happens to be in a tweet:

intitle:”legal * on twitter” site:twitter.com

This query can be expanded to match other keywords in usernames, such as lawyer:

(intitle:”legal * on twitter” OR intitle:”lawyer * on twitter”) site:twitter.com

The next area of the page we want to match is the bio. There are two possibilities. The keywords can come right after the word bio. This is matched by:

(intext:”bio legal” OR intext:”bio lawyer”) site:twitter.com

The other case is when there are words between bio and the target keyword, which can be found with this pattern:

(intext:”bio * legal” OR intext:”bio * lawyer”) site:twitter.com

We can put all of these matches together in a single search:

(intitle:”legal * on twitter” OR intitle:”lawyer * on twitter” OR intext:”bio legal” OR intext:”bio lawyer” OR intext:”bio * legal” OR intext:”bio * lawyer”) site:twitter.com

[…]”

I just tried
(intext:”bio * sales enablement” OR intext:”bio * sales 2.0″) site:twitter.com works great!

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