When you’re prospecting for hours and hours, you can only use site modifiers for so long. Let social media help you with your work – rather than distract you.
What is it anyway?
Friend or Follow is a site that tells you information about your personal Twitter account, specifically by “giving you the ability to quickly and easily sort, filter, follow, and unfollow your contacts.” Basically, it’s a way to see who has unfollowed you on Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr. That person you went to college with and are only following out of guilt? The coworker from your last job who you despised? Friend or Follow gives you a guilt-free out to unfollow those people who are clogging up your feed.
So, now that you’ve likely taken a short break from reading and checked your own account to see who unfollowed you recently, (hurts, doesn’t it?) let’s get into how this tool can be surprisingly useful for finding prospects for link building, blog partnerships, or even competitor research. Plus, it shows cat GIFs while the pages are loading.
First things first: You still need to start with traditional prospecting, in whatever way you typically do it. Here’s a great link prospecting post from Moz with some actionable tips that still make sense even after a few years. Site modifiers are also my go-to starting place, and while it’s a great way to get a ton of information at once (especially if you use a tool that pulls data for you), I’m of the belief that manual prospecting will always give you better results. But with the massive amount of time it takes to do so, we need to find a faster way to prospect manually – especially when we have to convince our clients to trust us with spending hours doing link building.
Once you gather your first list of domains, you can evaluate them based on who you think their following would be, and whether or not their goals are similar to your client’s. For this example, I’m trying to find opportunities for a national summer camp that created an infographic on how to keep kids safe during the summer months. My first round of prospecting includes mommy bloggers, local and national children’s organizations, non-profits, teachers, nannies, day cares, and other summer camps. But I feel like I’ve exhausted the inurl:”blog” summer safety method and need some inspiration.
One caveat for the free version of this tool – you can only see data for accounts that follow less than 10,000 people, and who are followed by less than 10,000. This is why it’s crucial to do some research on your own first, so you have a list of accounts to fall back on if the one you choose is unusable. The paid version is $9.99 a month, which allows you up to 75,000 followers, the ability to export to a CSV and more.
Let’s get started
I chose to investigate @Jumpstartkids – a nonprofit organization that readies children for kindergarten. They have a Domain Authority of 67, and just under 10,000 followers.You can sort these views by account age, username, followers, following, followers/following ratio, tweets per day and last tweet.
@Jumpstartkids is following these 1,278 accounts, but they’re not following @Jumpstartkids back.
- This view isn’t super helpful for our purposes, as a lot of these accounts we wouldn’t even consider reaching out to (read: Justin Beiber, Intel, Betty White)
- But, I can get a good picture of the goals of this organization by who they choose to follow, and a sense of who they aim to be.
These 8,811 accounts follow @Jumpstartkids, but @Jumpstartkids doesn’t follow them back.
- This view is a great way to find smaller blogs or organizations that look up to @Jumpstartkids. You have to dig a little bit more, but this view can be valuable.
- This is especially true if you decide to purchase the paid version, looking at fans of an account related to your goal with lots of followers like @letsmove would be a great place to start your prospecting process.
- For this view, sorting by Followers or Following will likely show you a ton of spam. Sorting by Last Tweet usually gives you a more accurate view.
These two views show people who have followed and unfollowed the account since you first search for them. So unless you are tracking one account for a long period of time, this view doesn’t make sense for this process – so just use it to track your personal account!
@Jumpstartkids follows these 966 accounts and they follow @Jumpstartkids back.
- In my opinion, the friends view is the most useful for this exercise. Mainly because the hope is that if an account is noteworthy, @JumpStartKids will follow them back, and it will be a site that is worth our time and effort.
Putting it to use
So how is this valuable? You can use this information to gauge the type of people and organizations this account is interested in, and vice versa. By knowing who this prospect follows, I can assume they are in the same field, and working toward the same goal. Of course, this isn’t completely perfect. Let’s look closer at @JumpStartKids’ Friends, sorted by number of followers.
You can see when I mouse over any avatar, I can see their verification, URL, and short bio right there, in addition to other useful stats. Now, Starbucks is a great example of a completely unrelated account – as are others I can spot just by looking at their avatar. Lowes, Melissa Joan Hart and AARP are probably not going to share my infographic about child’s summer safety.
But all I have to do now is mouse over a few avatars that seem interesting, and read their bio and see if they seem like someone that would be interested in sharing my infographic. You can usually get a good sense of what type of account it is based on if the avatar is a logo or a headshot, and whether or not they’re verified. Just open the link in a new tab with your Moz toolbar open, and you can give the page a quick read and get a sense of whether or not this site is worth it.
Once you start, it becomes a super speedy process – just mouse, read, click, inspect!
Here’s three examples I decided to reach out to – a teacher’s blog dedicated to hands-on learning, a non-profit focused on getting children to play outdoors, and a local parent magazine – with domain authorities of 44, 67 and 60, respectively. And, I know they’re active in social! Nice!
Wrapping it up
We haven’t been implementing this manual prospecting process for long enough to present you data with any significance, but we’ve noticed a better response rate on our last few campaigns with this than we tend to get when automatically generating or scraping a page.
This technique is great for finding organizations, blogs and outlets that you haven’t heard of, and you know they already have some relationship with an organization you’re interested in – even if it’s just one on Twitter. Keep in mind that a great Twitter presence doesn’t necessarily mean good site metrics, and good site metrics doesn’t mean they’ll be active on twitter. Meaning: this process isn’t perfect.
But when used in conjunction with site modifiers, automation tools and whatever else you use – Twitter can be a great resource that is really underused, at least here at Greenlane. I hope this process works as well for you, let me know in the comments if it helps you score some wins for your clients!