For the first time in almost a decade, it’s almost better to be starting your database now because of all the ground-up social tools in place to track web identities and social engagement.

The cost of turning an existing database into social friendly data for large fortune 500 companies can cost in the hundreds of thousands – no joke because of the amount of bandwidth and processing needed to extract this data from years of emails. Typically what these companies do is they go social as of now, meaning they don’t bother tracking their old mailers but they do so in their new ones, or they just bite the bullet and pay for the data mine only to learn in a few months, there is even better and nore accurate tools to do so for less!

This is the problem. Social data and engagement software is on the rise and there is so much new stuff no one knows what to use and for how long. Thankfully, review sites and experts in the field have narrowed down a few of them and I have found my faves (at least for a few months!)

Introducing MailChimp’s Social Pro – My favorite web monkey has gone social yey! Social Pro is sick sick awesome. It allows you to do the following:

  • View your subscribers in a visual way with little Avatar pics
  • Allow you to see who is on what (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) and most importantly who is most connected
  • Create campaigns based on communicating, up-selling or rewarding the social ambassadors (those with many connections)

O.k so that’s great for someone using MailChimp or for those who haven’t built a newsletter yet but what about those who have mailers from other Newsletter providers like Constant Contact, Worldcast, In-house software? What if all you have is the list? No problem, introducing: Flotown

What is flotown asside from a cool web 3.0 name? Dylan Boyd, Vice President of  eRoi  said it best “If social and email had a baby, it would be called Flotown”  Flowtown allows you to within minutes, import your existing mailer and extract social data from it. The more people you have, the more your wallet will suffer but the cost of not doing this in the long run is what will hurt your company the most.  A lot of businesses who have not subscribed yet to the true power of social media and interactive marketing, do not know why this would be such a valuable thing to do.

For example, we have many clients who often say “So what if I know that most of my mailer has a Twitter?”  Then we explain that this means a few things… there is a huge correlation between Twitter usage and mobile technology, just seems to be the same types. That person you know who refuses to get a cel phone and so you have to make sure to always be on time to meet their damn ass, likely is not super  webby and doesn’t use Twitter. This makes mobile advertising an option for you if you see that your mailer is very tweety. Another thing we can extract from Twitter statistics is Time spent on-line, demographics like location, psychographics like user behavior. So that’s just from finding out a lot of people on your mailer use Twitter. Imagine the power of knowing that there are also a lot of people on Linked in, Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare, Yelp, Dailybooth… and which people are on most of the networks and have a lot of firends? Imagine the real life equivalent. It would be like knowing that someone in your mailer hangs out at various places in the world and has a lot of friends in those places, almost like a jetset status. Valuable to advertisers and incredibly valuable to you.

Another thing this tells us is how much money to spend on our own on-line vehicles. For example, if everyone in your mailer is on Facebook but not so much on Twitter, well then you should be spending a directly relational amounts of time marketing your Facebook to your fans and also working on getting your existing fans from other networks to know that they CAN follow you on Twitter by making sure to stick Twitter icons on your site, Tweeter feeds in your blogs etc…

Social media is like Lite Brite. (and I’m determined to one day soon make a really cool animation with Lite Brite) to show you. You have many different colors (networks) and you generally need a few pegs and colors to really make a difference.  There are the kids who tend to use a few green ones to make the tree template that came in the box (typical web marketer) and there are those who are able to create incredibly intricate multi-colored worlds (web marketer who thinks outside the box).