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Flowtown Turns Email Addresses into Social Media Profiles

Lori Halley 24 February 2010 5 comments

Go where your nonprofit’s members, donors and supporters are already hanging out in social media sites, and set up your “outposts” to engage them there — that’s pretty much established best practice to make the best use of your organization’s limited staff resources.

And there are a number of ways you can find out where your constituents spend their time online, such as:

  • ask the question in your e-newsletter or direct mail piece;
  • put a poll on your website or blog;
  • make an educated guess, based on social media usage statistics;
  • "find friends" for each social media platform, one by one;
  • try Flowtown.com.

Jay Baer calls Flowtown “a social anthropologist hidden in your keyboard”:

I’m often asked by corporate clients where they should engage in social media. “Should we be on Twitter, or Facebook, or Linkedin, or YouTube, or some other places?”

Flowtown gives you the answer in seconds. Export your email subscriber or customer database to Flowtown, and you’ll know in minutes what percentage of your audience is on Facebook or some other social outpost.

Flowtown will automatically show Klout scores (you can read more about Klout here) for those who use the service to track Twitter influence, and it is quite thoroughly integrated with MailChimp email service. Check out the YouTube video introduction for a quick overview:

This is a paid service, but there are no long term contracts — a basic month-to-month plan starts at $14.95 plus 5 cents per imported contact, or you can “pay as you go” — and Flowtown offers a free trial so you can check it out first.

Now, as Jay Baer points out, this isn’t going to be perfect:

As with any data-harvesting service, Flowtown results aren’t bullet-proof. The more email addresses a person uses across the social Web, the less ideal the results.

But Flowtown is the first tool we’ve come across that makes a good sound effort to help your organization connect your contact databases with the social media activity of your members and supporters.  Ethan Bloch, one of the founders of Flowtown, commented that event planners are using the tool to come up with some demographic data for their sponsors, too — interesting!

How might your nonprofit use this kind of social media profiling to create more targeted outreach or fundraising campaigns?

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 24 February 2010 at 1:13 PM


  • Dan Martell said:

    Wednesday, 24 February 2010 at 9:59 AM

    Rebecca, Thanks for the great overview post.

    I'm one of the co-founders and also from New Brunswick (Moncton!) ;-) ... really nice to e-meet you.

    Flowtown is still in it's infancy, and we plan on adding new features that help bring things "full circle".

    Ex: (Beta) http://unbouncepages.com/flowtown-social-lead-scoring/

    There's so many interesting ways to leverage the social data (what we call the Social Graph of our Customers) that we feel its still very early.

    Do keep me posted if you have any questions.



  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Wednesday, 24 February 2010 at 2:34 PM

    Dan, thanks for coming by  - and what a nice surprise that you and I come from the same part of the world. :-)

    I appreciate your sharing a glimpse of what's on tap for Flowtown. It will be interesting to watch it develop...

    Obviously there will be those who are uncomfortable with aggregating data in "profiles" - just as there was when Rapleaf launched a while back - but tools like Flowtown are undeniably useful for nonprofits and for-profit organizations alike, and it's good for all of us as users of social networks to be reminded, from time to time, that we're leaving footprints!

  • Karen Lee said:

    Thursday, 25 February 2010 at 6:24 AM

    This is fascinating.

    Part of me goes eek! but the marketer side of me goes oooh!!


  • Sue Anne said:

    Saturday, 27 February 2010 at 11:31 PM

    For some non-profits who originally only collected limited information (i.e., just an email) from some people, Flowtown looks like a really neat tool.

    Not only would you know where to focus your time (based on which social networks they had signed up on), but it also gives really valuable demographic information.

  • John Haydon said:

    Tuesday, 02 March 2010 at 4:30 PM

    Rebecca - Signing up now. Thanks!

Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.

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