How to Generate Sales Leads with Social Media media listening isn’t just for maintaining relationships with the customers you already have. According to Tukan Das, CEO of LeadSift, it’s also a great way to find brand new leads for your business.

Das’s company mines the web, specifically Twitter and Facebook, to find people who are posting about or tweeting their thoughts on purchasing specific types of products, from travel or health insurance to smart phones or higher education. The company then scores each of the posts in terms of how likely the person is to make a purchase right away, before sending clients the best leads.

Classifying leads: From hot to Bieber
For example, explains Das, “if someone just posts, ‘I’m thinking about buying an SUV,’ we’ll score that as a lead for someone in the car industry. But if a person tweets, “I’m going car shopping tomorrow for an SUV," that’s a much hotter lead, because we know that they are further along in the buying process,” so it will receive a much higher rank.

Not only do companies like LeadSift rate all kinds of leads for intent to purchase, they also examine people’s backgrounds to see if the person is likely to purchase the product based on their demographics. “Often we find posts from people who want to buy luxury cars, but when we look into their history and profile, we see that they’re teenagers,” says Das. When that’s the case, LeadSift will downgrade the lead to what they call a “Bieber rank,” so it won’t be forwarded to the client.

Businesses that employ companies like LeadSift to find them new leads can also target very specific geographic regions. For example, Das says, you can request all the “car insurance leads” in the San Francisco area.

A new generation of leads
“It’s important for people to understand that leads generated from social media are different from what people traditionally think of a sales leads,” notes Das. “When you use the word ‘lead,’ what comes to mind is a very slimy way of collecting people’s names and phone numbers and passing them along to people over and over again.”

“But what we do is very timely and contextual,” he says. “We give people leads that need to be engaged and followed up with in real time, in order for them to be effective.”

And so far, the results have been astounding. When companies respond to the leads generated by companies like LeadSift, they see an engagement rate of 33%, which means that 1 out of every 3 leads engage back, by either saying thank you, or that they’ll check it out later when they’re in the market for the product.

“That type of engagement builds a lasting relationship with a customer,” says Das, “because that person is going to remember that company, and even if they don’t buy right away, they may recommend the product or service to someone else.”
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