Do You Know How Your Clients and Prospects Use Social Media?

This article first appeared on American Express’ OPEN Forum and was written by John Jantsch.

Top 10 Social Media Tools to Find Your Referral ChampionsWhat if you could dial into your clients’ and prospects’ needs and desires? Would that not be a great advantage to add to your marketing tools? Following are 10 social media tools to help you do just that.

Mailing list companies and direct marketers have always practiced the art of data appending to create better, more personal lists.

The idea is to take a list with basic contact data and add details acquired from other data sources, such as magazine subscriptions, association membership and even specific purchasing behavior. The end result is a list with a much richer level of information that allows the mailer to personalize offers and communications based on this greater level of personal information.

In today’s socially driven world, marketers are also able to append lists with data given and acquired freely in social networks. Now, adding a customer’s Facebook or Twitter data has become a smart and powerful way to create more relevant offers and socially driven customer relationship management.

Some companies still claim that their customers and prospects don’t use social media. I doubt that’s true these days for any industry. But this is sure a great way to know for certain.

In addition, this kind of information makes it much easier to identify your advocates and champions — the ones that are out there spreading the word in social channels and who might be really good candidates for you to target for special attention.

While you can probably search and find the most important social data available for, say, your top 25 clients, adding social data to a list of 1000 prospects could prove a bit tougher.

All kinds of services and tools are evolving to tackle this growing need. Below are several tools that small businesses can use to add social information to their contact records.

1. Flowtown – All you need is an email address to get social data on a contact.

2. RapLeaf – This tool started as a monitoring tool and now offers full appending.

3. Xeesm – A bit more comprehensive search lots of networks and creates a Social Address Book.

4. BatchBook – Full featured online CRM tool was one of the first to bake social appending into the mix.

5. ACT!2010 – The simple desktop CRM allows you to add social data right into records.

6. Outlook 2010 – With the addition of something called the Outlook Social Connector you can add social data to Outlook.

7. Xobni – A popular Outlook plugin that brings social CRM functionality to Outlook.

8. Rapportive – Social CRM built into GMail.

9. SocialCRM for Salesforce – Add on to Salesforce.com to bring social data into records.

10. Twitter Export – Export all of your Twitter followers and then add them to tools above.

John Jantsch is a marketing coach, award winning social media publisher and author of two best selling books, Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine.

Image credit: amandabhslater