10 Tips for Driving Engagement Using Email + Social

White Paper

Although most marketers understand the importance of the email and social channels, leveraging the combined forces of the two, with the lack of a cohesive social media plan frequently cited as the biggest barrier to an integrated digital strategy. Learn how you can use email and social together to drive database growth, increase revenue and deliver a better cross-channel customer experience. Get tips for:

  • Using social networks to drive more high-quality email opt-ins
  • Promoting and featuring social content in your emails
  • Creating emails that people will want to share via social
  • Inviting potential unsubscribers to follow you on social media

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Remember when the experts declared that social media was going to replace email? Never happened. Instead, email and social found ways to work together.

Today, social media is about creating conversations with customers and prospects for greater brand affinity and awareness. Email picks up on that and drives the conversion when marketers can integrate them successfully.

But while most marketers acknowledge the importance of each channel, leveraging the combined forces of the two remains challenging. Although 87 percent of CMOs are looking to integrate crosschannel touch points in the next three years, about two-thirds feel underprepared to cope with social media, with the lack of a cohesive social media plan cited as the biggest barrier to an integrated business and digital strategy.

The 10 quick tips below will help you better use email and social together while delivering an improved cross-channel customer experience.

1. Add an email opt-in form to your Facebook page.

Connect your Facebook fans with your email program by adding a custom tab with an opt-in form they can fill out without leaving Facebook. The tab opens a form within the framework of your Facebook page and appears in the navigation bar below your cover photo.

Another option is to use a “Sign Up” button that links out to a form on your website. This takes your visitors out of Facebook, which interrupts their Facebook experience but also moves them onto your own turf. Test to see which mode drives more opt-ins.

Note: Neither of these functions appears in Facebook’s mobile format. However, mobile viewers will see your “About” page. Be sure to put a link (plus a benefit statement) in your “About” section so that mobile readers can see and click on it.

2. Use your Facebook or Twitter newsfeeds to promote opt-ins.

The content you send out via email can be a steady source of fresh, high-quality posts in your social media channels. Facebook’s algorithm takes this into account when determining your reach. On both Twitter and Facebook, newsletter articles often make great posts, as do your regular deals and “email only” exclusives that let your non-subscriber fans know what they’re missing.

Schedule regular opt-in promotions, and point either to your Facebook newsletter tab or to the opt-in page on your site. On other social sites, add an opt-in link to your “About” or information pages.

3 Promote your social campaigns in your emails.

Using your email newsletters to communicate about fun social promotions adds exposure for your follower and hashtag campaigns beyond the walled gardens of your Facebook and Instagram pages, Twitter feed or Pinterest boards. On Facebook, for example, algorithm changes have reduced organic reach for promotional posts. Email can boost exposure, visits and, ultimately, new follower acquisitions.

Adding your social campaigns to email messages can also inject some creativity and brand personality into your newsletter. For example, Moosejaw, famous for its irreverent approach to marketing its outdoors gear, encourages customers to send in selfies taken with a Moosejaw logo flag (see image at right).

This customer-as-brand-ambassador initiative also adds a human-interest angle to your emails. In an inbox crowded with “buy-buy-buy” promotional emails, this type of personable content can help you stand out from the pack.

4. Repost popular social content in email.

Use the broad reach of your email program to give your own social content more exposure and reward your influencers for helping you spread the word.

Find the Pinterest pins or Facebook posts that your fans share and comment on the most. Instagram photos or tweets from a hashtag contest provide consumer-generated buzz that provide social proof.

Repost them in stand-alone emails, in your scheduled email newsletters or in your onboarding series. Consider these sources:

  • Most popular pins on your Pinterest boards
  • Your content or products pinned or repinned on your followers’ boards
  • Your promoted Tweets that generate the most retweets and favorites
  • Select Twitter follower comments from hashtag or Twitter-party campaigns
  • Instagram photos of customers wearing or using your products

Moosejaw’s humorous email encouraging readers to submit a photo of themselves generated an 18 percent higher click-through rate than average, with the company receiving hundreds of new customer pictures it used throughout its marketing.

5 Put your social icons where people will see them.

Are people really clicking on those tiny social icons at the bottom of your email template? Move them up out of the basement to a spot with better visibility. Testing will show where they’ll get more attention: front and center; embedded in copy; or in some other location.

It’s not just about location, either. Write a brief value proposition for each channel. Group your icons together to create an attention-getting icon field in your email.

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6. Promote your social connections in your email onboarding series.

A series of email messages usually engages new subscribers better than a single welcome message. Include a stand-alone email that invites them to connect with you in all of your social channels. Take advantage of this extra space to explain the value proposition associated with each channel.

Think beyond the usual social networks, too. Consider including your blogs and user communities. Also, test the order of your onboarding emails to find which position in the series drives the greatest engagement.

However, if you can’t expand your onboarding series, be sure your welcome message includes the social media invitation, link to the home or “About” page and a short value prop for each channel.

7. Spotlight videos and blog content in email and social posts.

Social media is more than posts and pins. Promote your blog and video channels (YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo, Vine, etc.) to boost traffic, brand awareness and sharing, and to generate quick content in your emails.

Give readers a reason to engage on your blog and video platforms. Post recent headlines, and link them to your blog. For videos, promote your newest productions (products, demos, etc.) with a wellchosen screenshot, descriptive synopsis and link.

After adding an email to its welcome series inviting new contacts to connect with it via social, the Georgia Aquarium saw its social media audience grow 22 percent in the next year.

8Create crazy/fun emails that people will want to share via social.

Connecting directly with your customers and fans through social media shows you what content engages them. Capitalize on that information by creating fun emails your readers would likely share as forwards or on their own social channels. This takes some finesse if your brand doesn’t have a clear personality. You can’t engineer an email to go viral if the message doesn’t grab your fans. However, knowing what engages them on social media can help you experiment with email content that they would engage with and share.

9 Reach out via Facebook Custom Audiences and Twitter’s Lead Generation or Website Cards.

If you’re serious about building audience and reach, you’ll probably have to spend money. Facebook has been up front about wanting brand pages to pay for exposure, and Twitter has introduced several paid tools for advertisers.

The downside is that you have to commit some time and budget to set up these services. On the positive side, it’s an opportunity to reconnect with and build your email audience without compromising permission.

Facebook: When one marketing channel closes, reach out in another. Using Facebook Custom Audiences, you can upload your unsubscribe list to look for matches within Facebook’s membership database and then run targeted ads to reach those users on their Facebook pages.

Twitter: Lead Generation Cards take the friction out of Twitter campaigns. When you add this capability to your Twitter campaign post (such as cross-posting your email offer or promoting opt-in to email), your fans can click a link that brings up a form already populated with their Twitter data: name, email address and Twitter handle – definitely a mobile-friendly move.

Not every email has to sell – this fun message from King Arthur Flour tallied strong engagement metrics, provided blog content for the company and delivered an uptick in social sharing and comments.

Or, try a Website Card, which allows you to direct both followers and users similar to your followers to any page on your website, including the company home page, product page or an important blog post.

Bonus: Use this data to identify your most engaged or influential fans. You can then reach out to these loyal followers with great advocacy offers and other content designed to reward them and inspire an even stronger sense of brand loyalty.

10 Invite email unsubscribers to follow you on social media.

Unsubscribers don’t always want to cut off all contact with your brand. Connecting with you via your social channels can keep the relationship going. So, put value-driven invitations that link to your social pages on your unsubscribe confirmation page or on a subscription-management page.

Track these movements to see where your subscribers are going after they leave your program. Use insights from this data to improve your email program and retain more subscribers.

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