How to Leverage Social Networks to Build a Permission Database

April 7, 2011Leave a reply

One of the most important elements of Hub Mentality is a permission database.

A database allows you to serve customers by providing free content, as well as sell to them repeatedly over time.

In most cases, building a database requires email marketing software, such as AWeber, or more advanced customer relationship management (CRM) software, such as InfusionSoft. Such software can be expensive and difficult to learn and manage, especially for beginners.

What if you could build a high-quality database without the cost and hassle of specific software?

This is not only possible, but it can be extremely effective — it can allow you to build a database much quicker and easier than the traditional route of driving traffic to your website and using web forms to capture data.

This is achieved through social networking. You can do it through almost every social networking platform, but I’ll focus specifically on Facebook.

Almost everyone is familiar with Facebook. However, relatively few know how to leverage it to its fullest potential, including using it to build and manage a permission database.

People use it to connect person-to-person, but few use it to connect with a tribe.

Here’s how you do it: create a group or cause oriented around your passion/business and invite people to join it. As the creator and administrator, you have the ability to send messages to everyone who joins your group. It’s that simple.

In some ways, this is actually better than email marketing software.

First, when you send messages to group members through Facebook, there’s a much higher likelihood that they will receive the message than through email software.

Industry wide, only 13.2% of recipients on average even open emails that originate form email marketing software because of spam filters, misunderstandings of the source of the emails, and/or lack of interest.

With Facebook, it’s almost a guarantee that your recipients will at least receive your messages, because it eliminates the spam filter issue.

Secondly, it gives you more flexibility to create specific databases for specific purposes. Also, depending on the type of message, in some cases people can respond to your messages, which creates community engagement and interaction.

The disadvantage is that you don’t have advanced features, such as formatting your emails with html code, creating list segments based on geography or other considerations, being able to perform split-test broadcasts to test the effectiveness of your headlines and messages, or having access to analytic data to see who is opening your messages and what links they’re clicking on.

Social Networking Databases in Practice

I’ve personally created and/or administer two causes and five groups on Facebook, all of which combined give me access to a database of 1,813 people. Granted, all of these are for different purposes, so it’s not appropriate for me to promote everything I’m doing to every group. Still, it’s been a powerful way for me to extend my influence.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that, just because you’re in a social setting, you’re free to send whatever messages you like whenever you want. The same rules that govern permission marketing apply to social networking databases — in fact, they become even more critical in this setting.

Specifically, the majority of your messages should be informational and educational in nature, intended to create value for them. This could be telling them about a great website or a new e-book you’ve written for them, for example. Only about 25% of your messages should be designed to sell them something.

Don’t bug people with high-frequency messages — space your messages out, probably no more than one per week depending on the nature of the group. Even if you’re sending them great messages, when they receive a lot of messages from you, they tend to tune you out.

Personally, I think that serious marketers should use both email marketing software and social network databases to get the best of both worlds.

But if you’re on a budget and you’re a beginner with technology, social networking platforms are a quick, easy, and effective way to build a large, quality database.

So how have you leveraged social networks to build a database? I’d love to hear your stories of success and/or failure.

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