The following is an excerpt from Mention Academy: a free 10-week email course on how to use monitoring to grow your business. Enroll now.

Someone somewhere is talking about you. And if they’re not, they’re having a conversation that you’d like to be part of.

Social and web monitoring makes sure you don’t miss out. These conversations can be a rich source of leads that’s too often left untapped. Whether you’re a startup searching for your first customers or a growing company looking for new leads, monitoring helps make sure you’re not missing conversations you should be taking part in.

At Workable, we use Mention to help with user support, community building, and brand monitoring. In addition, we routinely use Mention to identify and join conversations with potential leads, building relationships and closing sales that we would not have otherwise.

Know what you need to monitor

Here’s a blueprint you can use to set up monitoring for efficient sales and lead discovery.

1. Competitors

At the most basic level, it’s useful to know who your competitors are talking to and what they’re talking about. But it’s far more revealing to hear who’s talking about your competitors and why.

monitoring-for-sales-competitors

The “and” and “or” modifiers for things like “something like” can be extremely helpful in this scenario. These identifiers help you connect with people who are researching your competitors’ products. Make sure you don’t miss your chance to put your product into their plans.

2. Industry terms

Workable is hiring software, so we monitor relevant terms such as “HR tech”, “recruitment software,” “applicant tracking systems,” etc. Joining these conversations can persuade people to try Workable.

3. Your own brand name or URL

Just like monitoring your competitors, monitoring your own brand can throw up interesting leads. Since you’re probably monitoring already, picking up leads from it is a no brainer.

Much like monitoring your competitors’ brands, modifiers like “anyone used” or “tried” can pinpoint those people who aren’t just talking about you, but are looking for others who use your product.

If you can make those connections for them, you do them and your business a favor by speeding up the buying cycle. Alternatively, you can point these leads in the direction of your own content, such as case studies and customer stories.

4. Your own content

Start conversations with those who are sharing and engaging with your content. They could later become your customers and brand ambassadors.

5. Buying signals

Whether your company provides CRM software or cleaning services, there are almost certainly people looking for what you do online. With Workable, this could be people looking for ready-made job descriptions, advice on where to post jobs, interview questions, or offer letters.

You’ll get a lot out of monitoring by thinking about what kind of questions your potential customers might and what advice they’d be looking for.

Key Takeaway: Use search monitors to identify a user’s intent. Finding someone tweet something like “considering” along with a product name signals they’re likely going to be making a purchase soon.

Make “help them out” your mantra

Use search modifiers to identify people who need help, advice, or recommendations in your space. Here are some search modifiers to add to your main keyword:

  • “Anyone used” AND X
  • “Arghhh” AND X
  • “Help?” AND X
  • “Can anyone” AND X

There’s great advice for creating search queries that target those who need help in this Medium article. It’s written for Twitter, but applicable to making the most out of monitoring and becoming a helpful lead gen pro.

Key Takeaway: Set up alerts monitoring different areas of your niche – from your own company to industry terms and competitor names.

Use a narrow approach to cut through noise

Some keywords are obvious for your company. However, you’ll find that using just those words results in tremendous noise and not a lot of actionable information. This is where excluding terms can be useful.

For example, at Workable we monitor “ATS,” which is a common abbreviation for Applicant Tracking System. That approach turned out to be too broad for two reasons:

  • Who knew there was a Cadillac ATS? Well, initially not us. Cadillac has a car called the ATS so I got buried in all the latest dealer promotions and car reviews before I excluded “Cadillac.”
  • Who knew there was a Cadillac ATS? Well, initially not us. Cadillac has a car called the ATS so I got buried in all the latest dealer promotions and car reviews before I excluded “Cadillac.”

Exclude terms and sources in your monitoring tool to create a narrow approach that cuts through the noise and zeroes in on potential leads, and potential leads only.

Key Takeaway: Cut through the noise of irrelevant mentions by excluding sources and keywords will help you pinpoint only the conversations that will help move your lead gen efforts.

Keep it light with your leads

Remember, the aim is not to be the first to offer your product. It’s to help them out.

You’re not looking to close a deal in your first tweet. If someone’s asking a question, provide a useful answer. If someone is looking for a tool like yours, then tell them about your product and why it could help. Nothing demonstrates confidence like mentioning alternatives because you know that yours is the best.

monitoring-for-sales-reply

Take your time, be patient, and keep your conversations light and conversational.

Key Takeaway: Don’t be the cliche pushy salesman. Put helping the prospect over selling your product. The sale can come later.

An example of how we handle leads

I recently saw someone tweet about being unhappy with the redesign of a competitor’s UI. I then looked her up on LinkedIn and saw that we had some people and things in common. She had a unique LinkedIn URL that I really liked, so I sent her a compliment via Twitter.

When she asked how I stumbled across her profile, I was completely transparent and told her how I saw her tweet about the user interface and thought she might be interested in Workable. This led to a demo, a new customer, and a brand ambassador.

The great thing about online leads is that they tend to be inherently social, and are more likely to become brand ambassadors.

So I sit back and wait for the leads to flood in?

You can’t expect any approach to be a silver bullet. You have to put in a bit of work and optimize your alerts to cut through the noise, but the more you optimize, the less time you spend. It’s really worth it in the end.

Mention makes it easy to optimize your alerts, so take advantage of its options and features.

Wait, it’s not scalable?!

I wouldn’t advise using media monitoring as your only sales channel. Set it up in a way that helps you efficiently identify and respond to leads. If you’re trying to search directly in Twitter or online, then you’re likely wasting too much time.

When you’re using a tool like Mention for other tasks such as user support, community building, or branding research, picking up sales leads can be a happy secondary benefit. You just need to know how to spot them.

mention-academy

For more lessons like this, enroll in Mention Academy today!

Rob Long is the VP Growth at Workable - recruitment & applicant tracking software that people enjoy using. He’s also co-organiser of Talent Hackers - hack your way to better hiring. Say hi on Twitter at @_roblong.

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