Guest Post by: Maria Pergolino
Recent news stories about Social Media being bigger than email as well as the recent beta release of Google Wave have made marketers rethink their email strategies, but should we really be moving our email efforts to social media? And if not, should they be kept apart, or can they truly work in unison?
I think the separation of email and social media started a few years ago when every email began with Forward to a Friend written above the emails headline. This seemed like a great way to make emails more social, but marketers ended up disappointed when these buttons were ignored, and left unused. Since this first attempt at socializing email was so poorly received we started to separate out our social marketing from our email marketing efforts.
And in support of this integrated strategy, Mike and I thought we would brainstorm as a team on why social media and email are like a marketer’s peanut butter and jelly. Together we listed our best practices on how to make both social media and email marketing work hand-in-hand.
Create a Unified Strategy
Instead of keeping separate email and social media plans, create marketing objectives and see how social media and email marketing can help accomplish these objectives as one coordinated effort. Create the content for these programs at the same time so they feel coordinated and complement one another. This will also help prevent there from being gaps in your overall marketing strategy or conflicting information in different marketing messages.
Use Similar Voice
Your brand has a personality. Let it shine through both social media and email, but make sure they both have the same mood and tone. Don’t let emails be boring while social media posts are fun and edgy. Instead, try to design email to look like your social media voice sounds. This is a great way to help prospects and customers become more familiar with your brand.
Don’t Duplicate Content
It’s understandable that a prospect or customer may opt-out of your email or unfollow/unfriend you if all you do is post the same news over and over again on different sites and through email. You must adjust your messages for each site to keep readers interested and engaged.
Give email recipients the inside scoop
Use email to share your best discounts and rewards, but allow news to spread virally through social media sites. An example of this is giving an insiders peak and premier registration for events to email recipients, but encourage subscribers to share news via email and social media. Or post new product information on social media sites, but product discount information in emails. These exclusive email discounts will get people signed-up to your email, while news of your discount program may spread on social sites.
Help email recipients share your news:
Many email marketers are encouraging people to share the details of their emails on Facebook and Twitter. Other marketers are posting links to the company or senders social marketing accounts, allowing email recipients to choose if they wish to receive emails or want to interact with your company through social media sites.
Utilize email functionalities in social media sites
Sites like Linkedin and Facebook allow group owners to send messages to their group members. When sending emails remember to create messages targeted for these groups. These sites are often forgotten by email marketers, though are a great way to connect. Watch email opt-outs on these sites and when people leave your group, similar to how you watch opt-outs in email and adjust messaging to your audiences preferences to decrease this attrition.
Don’t report your email marketing successes separate from social media mentions. Create marketing reporting that is unified and can create a complete picture of your marketing activities. Make sure you show how all the pieces worked together, and how each influenced the overall success of a campaign.
By combining these strategies, you will increase the success of both your social media and email efforts, allowing you to create the strongest online marketing effort possible for your organization. Mike and I agree, the power isn’t in social media or email marketing, it’s in how you use them together.