Use Email To Give Your Social Content Traction: 4 Tips

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According to an article in Mashable, the average American spends 15.5 minutes on Facebook every single day.

But even with these great numbers, what are the odds that your communication will appear in someone's social news feed at the exact time that they are logged in to see it?

That is the challenge with social marketing. Many marketers feel like they're speaking in a forest where no one is listening. A great way to help insure your content is read is to remind people of it with email.

With email, the message is directly received and persistent. People tend to spend their time scrolling through messages several times a day. While stats may vary based on the content and the offer, according to the Epsilon Q1 2011 Email Trends and Benchmark the average email open rate is 23.3% and the average click-through rate is a respectable 5.9%.

We also know that we want people engaging in positive conversations about our products and brand on social networks because—according to a Hubspot study—66% of people will look to social networks for recommendations before they buy.

So how do we get the best of all worlds without spending a lot of time and money with varying programs and campaigns? Here's four quick tips:

1. Create a Clear Content Marketing Strategy

Your content strategy needs to be a mix of short messages leading to relevant information. Include engaging questions and fun facts. For example, Adobe did a great campaign with pictures asking if they were real or fake. This generated a great deal of engagement. So focus on campaigns that will drive engagement and sales.

2. Consider Email an Important Social Network.

Once a week send out an email digest with your last 10 posts, or even email out your Facebook page including comments and likes. Links in this email can lead users right back into the conversations on the social networks. This is not new. LinkedIn has been doing this with their groups for a while now and it works.

When you email social campaigns, make sure they connect to your social media. Here are some real world examples:

• A technology company offered a white paper in exchange for getting the customer to represent the brand on their Facebook wall.          

• An educational reseller offered a 10% discount on products in exchange for getting the prospects to Like their page.

• A toy company offers a chance to win $500 for creating a 5 person virtual play group online. This required 5 friends to register together, and helps build out a database

Each one of the above campaigns was initiated through an email list, then the true power of social media was used to spread it.

3. Repeat the Program

Remember that social media marketing requires time and patience. Content that sustains loyalty and regular promotions can be combined with email and social marketing tools to produce sales growth.

(Loyalty Content + Promotions) + (Email + Social) = Sales Growth

The answer is to use standard marketing tactics and then leverage the marketing platforms that can create the best results. Our recommendation is that email remains the number one medium for initiating a social program, and social programs are the best way to insure that campaign is shared to the largest audience.

4. Measured Results

When the practices outlined above are followed, the results can be very good. For example, here is the performance of a recent campaign we ran for a major oil company franchise:

  • 300,000 subscribers received the email
  • 600,000 new people were reached through sharing on Facebook and Twitter
  • 3,000 people shared the promotion with their friends
  • 1,000 new people received coupons and exchanged them for service

There is a tremendous amount of opportunity when you add email to your social marketing initiatives (or vice-versa). The two together are much more powerful than each one on its own. Together they create loyalty, engagement, impressions and sales.

Jeffrey Mesnik is managing partner at Socialize Your Stuff.

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