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Use Social Media Data to Connect with Your Fans and Followers

How can you bridge the divide between your organization's social media efforts and your database? An easy and affordable way to start is by purchasing social media data from a company like Rapleaf.

Social Media Data
Get to know your fans.
For many of you, there is a deep, dark chasm between your organization's social media efforts and your database. Someone on your field team may be interacting with a supporter on Facebook regularly, but those conversations are not in the database where development staff can see it. One of your biggest contributors might have a thousand followers on Twitter, but your campaign organizers have no idea.

How can you bridge the divide? An easy and affordable way to start is by purchasing social media data from a company like Rapleaf.

Here’s how it works: you send Rapleaf a file with the email addresses from your database. For just a few cents per email, Rapleaf will return the file with a vast collection of data appended, including:
  • Name
  • Age, Gender, Location
  • Colleges, Jobs
  • Social site memberships and number of friends: LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter
  • Twitter stats: following, followers, # of updates, last tweet date
  • Facebook fan pages, MySpace interests, and Amazon Wishlist
  • Social site memberships: bebo, Care2, Cyworld, Digg, Flickr, Flixster, FriendFeed, Friendster, Hi5, iLike, LiveJournal, MySpace, Playlist, Tagged
  • Commercial site memberships: Amazon, Wishlist, Bebo, Cafemom, Care2, Costco, DailyMotion, Facebook, Flickr, Flixster, Friendster, Hi5, Hotels.com, Hyves, The L.A. Times, LiveJournal, Metroflog, Multiply, MySpace, MyYearbook, Nba, Nytimes, Pandora, Perfspot, Photobucket, Plaxo, Playlist, Sevenload, Stumbleupon, Tagged, Tiger Direct, Vox, The Washington Post, Wordpress, Youku, Zimbio


Of course, you won't get all of this information for everyone – not everyone on your list will have a Facebook account, and those that do may not have it associated with the email address you have for them (you may have their work address, while they used a personal address for Facebook, for example). But you can expect to get some data for a majority of the people in your database.

What to do with all of this beautiful data? As always, it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish, but here’s a few ideas to try:

Better target your mass communications

Top of our list is using social data to send more targeted and segmented email.  For example, you may want to send an email to Twitter users asking them to follow you on Twitter – something you probably don't want to send to your whole list. You can split up a campaign based on age or gender and tailor your message accordingly. If you’re willing to do a little analysis of people’s likes on Facebook, you can segment people based on interests or affiliations – for example, tailoring a different message for likely conservatives and likely liberals.

Targeting influentials

Let’s say you have an important advocacy campaign you’re launching, and you want it to spread like wildfire.  Wouldn’t it be helpful to know which of your members has the biggest online following? You could put together a list of all your supporters with more than a thousand online fans and call them personally to ask for their help.

On an ongoing basis, you could make a point of following all of your biggest Twitterers and Facebook fans online and looking for opportunities to build your relationships with them, or establish an online VIP program.

Better personalize one-on-one communications

It’s easy to forget that your database is not just a collection of names, but a collection of real people.  Appending social data to your records can help bring them to life and make one-on-one contacts, like fundraising calls, much easier. You can add photos, see what the individual’s interests are, what they do for a living, where they went to school, and, with quick links to their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, who else they have relationships with.

Make sure you’re spending your time on the right social media

By looking at the number of members you have on various social networking sites, you can see if there are any gaps in your social media strategy.  Who knows, maybe you have a ton of members on Friendster you've been ignoring.

Don't be creepy

While we know you’ll only use this information for good, it might still make your constituents uncomfortable that you’ve added personal information about them to your database. That’s especially true for information people might not realize is publicly available.  Amazon Wish List, we’re looking at you.

Our advice?  Don’t be creepy. If your sense of creepy is not finely developed, ask other people for their reaction. In general, we recommend not using personal info explicitly. So don’t offer to mail me that back scratcher I just added to my Amazon Wish List if I make a $100 contribution. That would definitely be creepy.

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