The Number One Way to Connect Your Email and Social Media Marketing
With so many ways to integrate email and social media we have almost unlimited options for leveraging connection between these two powerful conversation marketing channels. Still, for those at the beginning of the process it pays to know where to start.
I’m often asked what the number one way to connect email and social media marketing is, so whether your presence on social media is brand new or you’re an experienced marketer wanting to make sure you don’t overlook the obvious, here’s my answer:
Use email marketing to invite connections on social media
This of course assumes you have a presence on at least one of the big three social networks – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – if not also on others like YouTube, Ning and Meetup.
Why start with something so simple and obvious? Here are three good reasons why and a few ideas how:
1) Leverage Your Broadest and Most Established Online Channel to Build Connections in New Channels Today it’s still true that a greater percentage of your customers use email than social media. That makes email the broadest online channel you have to invite customers to engage with you in any other channel – online or offline – especially emerging channels like social. It’s probably also the oldest (and for some, still the only) online communication channel you have with your customers, so chances are, not only are more of your customers reachable via email than social, they’re also more comfortable with and open to hearing from you through email than social media.
Enlightened Emarketing Tip: leverage email marketing messages to entice, invite and remind subscribers that you’re present and interested in engaging with them on social media. You can use email to do this in a variety of ways: a) through dedicated email invites and announcements to visit and “like” you on social media sites, b) through Facebook-based contests (where a visit and “like” of the page is required for entry), and c) by embedding in email messages social media connection icons that link to your corresponding pages on those networks (now common practice).
2) Hedge against Email List Attrition. Using email to stimulate social media connections is a hedge against losing a customer connection in the email channel. If and when an email subscriber does want to leave your list, provided they’re connected with you on social media you can still engage and communicate with them there. And that’s better than not at all.
Enlightened Emarketing Tip: Recognize that as marketing channels continue to proliferate, people have more choice than ever. Some email subscribers will leave your list and instead prefer to connect with you on social media. Some social media fans will never subscribe to your email list. Honor preferences and don’t unreasonably expect everyone to connect with you in every channel.
3) Multiple Channels = More Valuable Customers. It’s a continually proven marketing truth that customers who engage in more than one channel purchase more often and spend more overall than customers who only interact in a single channel. While email is an ideal broadcast and targeted messaging channel, social media is a highly interactive and more conversational than email. The two separately are ideal for different types of messages, but when used together can create powerful, deeper engagement with customers that translates into more sales and higher lifetime customer value.
Enlightened Emarketing Tip: Don’t overlook email’s potential to initiate a conversation or process which you then continue on social media. It’s likely you’ll receive most customer ideas, suggestions, feedback, reviews and ratings through your social media points of presence. You can even use email to intentionally solicit that sort of input, which you’ll then gather on your social media pages, blog or through surveys. Since email is your broadest online channel, use it to launch a request for feedback, then transfer that conversation, discussion or interactivity to the context it’s best suited for: the social network.
Of course, we’re rarely limited to just a single way of doing anything, although we may have to tackle one method at a time. After leveraging your email to invite connections on social media, you’re ready to do just the opposite: use social media to build your email list. I’ll have a bundle of suggestions for why and how to do so in an upcoming article.