This is one technique among a series I’m covering on conversation mining for lead generation.

The debate raging out there today is whether or not social media is an effective lead gen source for B2B, and for good reason.  How many mining industry executives, for instance, tweet about needing cheaper industrial equipment?  In my opinion, not many.  But there is one time of year when B2B professionals get a bit more social, and that is at their annual conference.  Name any industry and there’s probably a management association for it where execs go to cut loose…and get social.  Exhibitors sponsor “tweet offs”, create event hashtags and participants jockey for social status by tweeting to boost their Klout scores.

For a B2B lead gen professional, the annual conference for their industry is perhaps the richest time of year to mine for sales opportunities.  For certain cyclical or seasonal products you could mine last year’s conference and infer who might be a good person to target at this year’s conference.  To use NetBase, simply create a topic about the conference (don’t forget to include the conference Twitter handle or hashtag in the topic definition).  Then build out a dashboard to analyze key influencers and themes.  Look retrospectively at the buzz timeline from last year to identify who tended to comment and when so that you’re prepared for this year’s conference.  In the example below, the MINExpo2012 has just occurred and you could filter down to the ramp-up period pre-conference to identify the influencers hour-by-hour along with what they were talking about.

Thinking about your own business, what are the conferences you attend?  Do your customers attend conferences that you don’t?  Most likely there are more relevant conferences than those you attend because limited marketing budgets mean you can’t go to them all.  But in the virtual world of social selling you can afford to mine a lot more conferences than you can physically attend.  Think about it from your customer’s perspective.  Think broadly here because your customer may attend conferences that are completely off your radar because they represent your customer’s industry, not your industry.  That’s the nature of supply chains after all.  Suppose you make sports apparel.  The obvious conference to mine would the sports apparel conferences.  But what if some of your customers are high school athletics departments?  Some of them may attend your sports apparel conference but they’ll also attend conferences about their profession, namely coaching.  It’s ancillary to apparel, but the attendees are potential customers for you, some of which may not have attended your apparel conference.

To discuss how this or any of the other social lead gen techniques from the series could work for your specific case, please contact NetBase (info@netbasequid.com) for help assessing your requirements.

 

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