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4 ways to successfully integrate email and social media

Many months ago, amidst all the talk of social media dominance in 2010, were whispers of “the death of email marketing”. Fortunately though, this overly dramatic statement was laid to waste and instead, the integration of email and social media is on the rise, with favourable results.

MarketingWeek recently reported that nearly half of advertising professionals integrate either Facebook or Twitter or both into their email campaigns. In a survey completed in June 2010 by Email and Online Marketers, stats showed that 21% of those surveyed reported “significantly better” results after integrating the two mediums.

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Many did not think it possible, simply because on their own, they represent two different platforms of communication. While social media is focused on sharing content and engaging in interactive discussions, an email based campaign is focused on taking the results of those conversations and fledgling relationships to the next level of engagement. Together however, they complement each other and form a powerful solution.

Essentially, marketing has become a multichannel approach, and why not? The benefits of adapting and expanding email for social media are easy to see, especially if you look at the increase of brand exposure and the potential to reach thousands of new customers.

A quote from Simon Bowker, Manager Director of eCircle UK sums up this integration, “It’s not about abandoning one method for another but about using the best element of each to deliver higher ROI”.

If you are considering integrating email marketing and social media (which you should be), there are a few things you need to be aware of so that you can use them to the best of your advantage.

1. Include a Call to Action:

The most popular way to connect email with social media is by including a call to action link for people to follow you or become a fan on your social media page, such as Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn. Many people also use widgets or apps to add newsletter sign-up and registration forms to their blog. By all means use your newsletter to call people to follow you, but remember to also use those social mediums to let people know that you have an email newsletter they can sign up for. You see, it works both ways. Of course, you’ll find that different people get their fix in different ways so take note of your subscriber’s social media preference and target them accordingly.

2. Convert your email subscribers to social media subscribers:

If you already have a significant email list, then ask your subscribers to follow you or become a fan on your different social media pages. If they are loyal customers who trust your brand and who you have built a solid relationship with, this shouldn’t be a problem. Once you have created a profile, make sure that you keep your tweets or posts relevant, interesting and informative. This will help establish your social media presence and will gain the attention of potential subscribers and customers at the same time.

3. Earn trust to gain more subscribers:

Remember that integrating email with social media is done with the goal of expanding your audience and customer base, pretty much free of charge. Make sure you get involved in conversations, blogs and forums, and after you have developed an online relationship with people, invite them back to your website so that they can sign up to your newsletter or find out more about your company.

4. Be selective with who you follow:

Be selective when choosing people to follow on Facebook and Twitter. Even though it’s tempting to add 2 000 people just so that they follow you back, it won’t do much for your professional online image. If you are a carpentry company then follow similar companies and people in the industry. Your customers will far greater appreciate your 200 followers who post useful, informative links and comments, rather than streaming through a list of highly irrelevant posts from 2 000 people with nothing of value to add.

The integration of email and social media campaigns might be a relatively new concept, but current trends show that it is set to become a standard practice in the following years, with new apps being created to further ease the integration process.

By starting now with a campaign strategy that incorporates both mediums, you can potentially find yourself at the head of your game as this practice gains increasing popularity in the months to come.

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