Parsing social media data for possible sales leads is a lot like any other kind of lead generation. It takes plenty of hard work with sporadic results that don't scale.
But startup LeadSift has built a system it claims makes it easier to find possible customers amid the social media noise. Now it has debuted a lightweight version of its product for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
The Social Media Problem
There's a big reason startups are so eager to get in on the social media land rush. Namely, no one has figured out a way to build businesses on the backs of these popular networks. One way to help companies do that is to automate searching for possible lead candidates on places like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. That's where LeadSift comes in.
Like the name implies, LeadSift sorts through public social media data to find people talking about particular products or services that companies can target their related business to address. LeadSift's lead scoring campaign management and segmentation tools were designed for enterprise businesses, but a Hootsuite app was also built recently, according to Tapajyoti Das, LeadSift CEO.
"The feedback was incredibly positive," Das said.
LeadSift picked up nearly 150 customers from the Hootsuite app, a tool that doesn't access all of LeadSift's marketing capabilities. Instead, lots of small businesses started using the app, which gave the LeadSift team the idea to create a full version of its tools for SMBs, Das said.
LeadSift uses a custom build natural language processor to find relevant leads on Twitter and Foursquare and provides a patent-pending lead scoring tool. SMBs can start their own LeadSift streams for $30 a month for a stream that allows them to dig for prospects from Twitter data.
LeadSift language processing searches help businesses find people potential customers, the company claims.
Growing Team Branching Out
For now, Twitter remains most open to the kind of data LeadSift is most interested in, Das said. Other networks, including Facebook and LinkedIn, are more locked down. Facebook doesn't even allow geo- targeting with its API, Das said.
Eventually, LeadSift may try to get into more visual networks like Pinterest and Instagram, but that will require building new tools. LeadSift is bringing in less than $10,000 per month right now, Das said, but he said the team is learning where it can be most effective and to what kinds of customers.
One company that is doing something similar to LeadSift is NeedTagger, a customer search engine for Twitter. Das claims LeadSift offers more marketing tools and integration with Salesforce, but those tools are only offered in the enterprise version.