Yes, that’s a snazzy way to say social media.

However, this post is not going to navigate the nuances of the Facebook timeline format or teach you how to compose the perfect tweet to attract millions of followers. That stuff actually doesn’t matter one bit. Success comes from having a sound marketing process, being able to manage the information well and using appropriate technology.  I cover this in great detail in the presentation I did for the e-Business Now conference, Using Technology to Jumpstart your Business.

A sound marketing process is simple:

Marketing Process Map

You need to determine who is interested in your product (culling), tease them to get them interested (piquing), analyze that interest and be consistent in delivering the content the person seeks (engagement).  ENGAGED people BUY. This is called CONVERSION – whereby a prospect becomes a customer. Conversion is how you measure the return on a marketing investment – both time and money.

The reason social media is a magical way to market is that it generates SO MUCH data. However, most businesses don’t use the data because they don’t know how to manage the information well. It’s like having the recipe for the secret sauce but leaving out the special ingredients.

This is where technology can help you!

Here are three tools that assist with collecting, managing and understanding marketing information.

HootSuite - This tool is such an excellent solution to listening, posting and analyzing your message across all the social media channels, it’s almost a household name. Plus, the fully featured version is a cool $6 a month. Even nicer, the free version is remarkably useful. If you are new to social media, use it to listen first. If you’re a veteran, love their fully customizable analytics and RSS/ATOM auto post capabilities. The interface is simple, friendly and highly functional.

Website Grader - One of the best tips for web writing is to follow the “smarter than a fifth grader rule” – and that is, most readers aren’t. Check how appropriate your website is using HubSpot’s free website grader. This tool gives you an excellent assessment of how well you’ve done on your website by one of the best web marketing companies around. Once you’re suitably impressed with that, try their complete suite of software free for 30 days.

Constant Contact Email Marketing Analytics - Many business owners  do some email marketing and most are disappointed by the results. This is because so few people use the integrated analytics tools to segment out the people who showed interest and market to them some more. I like Constant Contact for email marketing and for their related analytics tools. When I ran a product business, I would upload or capture my email list with phone numbers, send out my email marketing campaign and then download the list of people who clicked (phone numbers would come too). I would call those “clickers” and offer them a special sale similar to what they clicked on. I enjoyed a 96% close rate from these calls. As shown in the left graphic, the “buy” doesn’t happen when you send the message, it happens after you segment out the people who are interested and close them.

Email Marketing Process Pyramid

For the advanced user or twitter lover, my two favorite twitter tools are for generating data about your followers and who you follow and for all things twitter data.

Now when you are inspired with your next great marketing idea, you can take it to your audience with the confidence that you can then check to see how it was received generally and who specifically found it of interest. By USING this information to generate a more effective next marketing campaign and to follow up with those who are interested, you will see your revenues grow.

About the Author(s)

Amy Larrimore

Amy consults businesses in combining their information with a good piece of operational technology to power efficient humans. She is a certified SCORE business mentor with the Philadelphia chapter and serves as a SCORE volunteer District VP of Information Systems and Technology. | SCORE Mentors | @AmyAllStar | More from Amy

CEO and Chief Strategist, Empire Builders Group