Why e-mail needs social media, and tips to get you started

It’s no secret that e-mail marketing is an effective and inexpensive lead generation channel, but where it lags is in its power to spread content beyond your existing list. Whereas the reach of an e-mail message is equal to the size of your e-mail list, the reach of a social media message is equal to your network of fans or subscribers plus all of their connections.

While social media has proven to have the power to spread your content, that does not mean we can or should forget about e-mail. The two can work together remarkably well if integrated thoughtfully. Here are some steps to help get you started.

First, figure out what social media sites your customers and prospects use. Whether you like it or not, your customers are online talking about you and your industry. Figure out which sites they use the most. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are great places to start for most businesses.

Next, set up profiles on each of those Web sites. It’s free and only requires a small time investment. Even if you decide not to invest a lot of time on these major sites, be sure to reserve your company name anyway, before someone else takes it.

Third, add links in your e-mails to follow or subscribe to your social media profiles. Existing e-mail subscribers are great candidates for following you in social media. You just need to let them know that you’re there. Connecting with these people on social media sites gives you the added benefit that, if the subscriber’s e-mail address changes as they change jobs, you will still be able to communicate with them through your social media connection.

Make it easy for your recipients to share the content with their networks. Include both “Subscribe” and “Share” links in your e-mail marketing campaigns to encourage engagement and content sharing among your recipients on social media sites.

Finally, make sure you integrate social media at all stages of customer communication. In other words, don’t stop at your e-mail message. Follow the user from the e-mail to the landing page and lead conversion. Include the same social media links on the landing page leading from your e-mail campaigns.

If done properly, integrating social media into your e-mail campaigns can increase social media buzz, subscribers, traffic and leads for any business.

Ellie Mirman is inbound marketing manager at HubSpot. Reach her at [email protected]

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