The adventures of an analog engineer and digital storyteller who studies emerging networks and their impact on the great game of business.
Sep 26, 2011

Most companies don’t understand Twitter. Instead of seeing it as a real-time communications channel, many dismiss it as a 140 character-limited oddity.

The secret to understanding Twitter resides within its constraints. By understanding how to use brevity and timeliness as an advantage, companies can use Twitter as a lead generation machine. Take the following example:

At 11:44 a.m. on September 12th, Twitter user, @suburbanmama (Marcie Taylor), published the following post:

“Also right now I am evaluating #socialmedia analytics tools. Any suggestions? #smmoc @hubspot @radian6 @lithium”

From a business perspective, this tweet represents a prospect reaching out to her public network for opinions. For those not used to Twitter shorthand, let’s parse the tweet:

“Also right now I am evaluating #socialmedia analytics tools.”

Marcie has told her 3200 followers that she is looking to evaluate tools that track conversations in social mediums.

Her use of two hashtags (#socialmedia & #smmoc) aid those who are tracking specific Twitter conversations. For example, by tagging her post with “#smmoc,” she’s seeking the attention of a local social media support group called Social Media Masterminds of Orange County.

Finally, she’s called-out three of the top social media analytics companies through their Twitter handles: Hubspot, Radian6, and Lithium.

Marcie posted her question at 11:44 a.m.

Radian6 responded within seven minutes.

@suburbanmama Happy to help where we can. =)

But Radian6 wasn’t the first analytics company to respond. A competitor called ViralHeat had already responded five minutes earlier:

@suburbanmama Have you considered @viralheat as an analytics tool as well? Take a look & let me know if you have any Qs! #socialmedia #smmoc

(Note the use of her hashtags #socialmedia and #smmoc)

Twitter is a simple platform that allows direct correspondence between companies and their prospects. Marcie reached out to her followers via Twitter. Radian6 responded directly to her. Seeing an opportunity to add its name onto an exclusive list, Viral Heat also responded. Both use Twitter as a strategic sales tool.

Is your company monitoring and responding to prospects who are asking about your products and services? If not, consider the fact that your competition may be responding for you.