Software Architect / Microsoft MVP (AI) and Technical Author

C#, General Development, Prototyping, Sentiment Analysis, Twitter

How to use Twitters Advanced Search to identify sales leads.


With over 300 million users sending on average 6000 tweets a second discussing a variety of topics, Twitter can be the perfect platform to identify potential sales leads.

Users discuss products and services and often ask questions or express commercial intent in their tweets.  Tapping into these conversations is easy and can be done using the Twitter Advanced Search feature.  In this post I’ll show you how this can be accessed a some techniques that will help you.


You can search for tweets based on:

  • Keywords
  • Hashtags
  • Phrases
  • User accounts
  • Location

When looking to identify sales leads for your business, you’ll want to start with some keywords or phrases that you think potential customers will use.

If we input the phrase “I need a website” and invoke the search we can see the following:


This search was performed globally, we might be based in the UK however so restricting the results by location would be wise.


To identify “hot” leads you can combine the filters, one technique to include “sentiment”.


What is Sentiment?

I’ve mentioned sentiment in previous blog posts and it’s valuable for a number of reasons e.g.

  1. Users expressing positive emotions in tweets about your product are brand advocates.  Sometimes influential.  High Follower Count = Potential Sales Leads
  2. Users may complain about competitor products meaning you can engage and target them with your product or service and potentially poach them.

People Search

Often you will find accounts on Twitter that have thousands if not millions of Followers.  Identifying these accounts can be valuable as it stands to reason that Followers of an “influencer” are interested in the content or topics they share.

For example, look at the stats for the Twitter handle @Audi:


This account has 1.64 million  Followers!

These Followers might be interested in a particular product or service related to Audi’s.

And Finally…

Being able to identify the potential sales leads using the Advanced Search feature is great but one downside is that you can’t export the usernames of the accounts that have been returned.

With this in mind I set out to build a prototype that would allow me to input in a Twitter user handle and fetch all of their Followers along with some accompanying metadata to support filtering by Location and Bio Description.  A key feature of this would be “export user handles”.


If you have a list of user handles that are following a particular influential account, they could be targeted with Twitter Ads or imported into your companies CRM tool.

During testing I pointed it to retrieve all Followers of the Microsoft.Net user handle (@dotnet).  It pulled down over 145,000 accounts which I easily exported from the app and imported into Excel.FinderFollower

The prototype can accept any user handle, it runs as Windows Application and I may add new functionality to it in the future.

Are you using Twitter to identify sales leads?

Would you like a copy of this application for free? If so subscribe to this blog and I’ll email you a copy.



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