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Q&A: Making Money While Email and Social Media Make Nice

By Oct 23, 2010

Now that the talk is less about social media replacing email and more about how the channels complement each other, marketers are striving to ensure that they obtain maximum synergy from using them together.

John Foley, Jr., CEO of marketing solutions provider InterlinkONE, discusses the differences between email and social media that make it important to integrate them effectively, and how to do just that.

Email Essentials: One could argue that if someone already subscribes to your email, there’s no need to try to enlist him to follow you via social media. Likewise, if someone follows you on Facebook or Twitter, asking him to subscribe to your email might seem redundant. Why is that not the case?

Foley: It’s definitely not redundant. Email and social media are two unique channels that are different in both tone and frequency. However, when they’re used together, marketers can experience many benefits.

For example, email communications are typically more serious compared to social media posts. While both outlets may be used to share informative materials, social media is certainly better suited as a platform to demonstrate your company’s personality. Don’t get me wrong: Emails should be personable too, but certainly, only to an extent. People expect social media sites to have a definite human touch, and when you put that forward, you can greatly increase the relationship between your company and your prospects and customers. You can be a bit more light-hearted when it comes to social media, and take a few more risks.

Social media and email also differ in frequency. If you were to send out an email to customers every day, they may quickly become annoyed. You may have the greatest content in the world, but people are already fighting a battle to get through what’s in their Inbox. However, people expect to see frequent and fresh content when they check social media sites. If you post updates to your company’s Facebook and Twitter pages, your posts are competing against the posts from someone’s spouse, friends, favorite celebrities, and brands. [Consumers] want those people and groups to post frequently. You can take advantage of those channels to fill the need. Of course, your content should be useful and/or entertaining. It should also come in a variety of formats—links to news, links to articles from other sites, videos, audio clips, pictures, and more.

Email Essentials: What would you say are the most common mistakes marketers make regarding leveraging email and social media?

Foley: I think marketers forget to use the two channels together. On your emails, you should add tools that promote your social media channels and that make it easy for people to share your content on their favorite social media sites. But you should also use your social media channels to promote your email content. This might include your enewsletter, coupons, special offers, and other news alerts.

Email Essentials: So many marketers think it’s enough to just include a link to their Facebook page or Twitter feed in their email. What else should they be doing to leverage the power of both media?

Foley: One of the greatest advantages to social media is its ability to spread your message to many people—and it doesn’t always have to come from you. Thus, we need to help make it so people can easily share our content on social media sites. In your emails, provide links that make it easy for people to share a link to your articles on their Facebook page, Twitter page, or other social media sites. When someone clicks the link, their status box should be prepopulated with a short-URL that points to the article. You can also include a brief message around the link, which people can certainly customize.

Email Essentials: Should you differentiate the emails you send to people who also follow you via social media from those you send to nonfollowers?

Foley: Yes! People who take the initiative to follow and show an interest in your company deserve to be rewarded. If you can categorize them as social media followers in your CRM system and database, then it should be easy to deliver personal messages to them when you send out email communications. Your social media followers have the potential to truly serve as advocates for your brand. Find ways to encourage them to do so, and you will reap the benefits.