The best ways to integrate social media into your email marketing strategy

A holistic content strategy encompasses a number of different channels, often focusing on three central pillars: a website, social media and email content. It’s always a good idea to use them all in conjunction with one another, and in this article we’re going to look at the way that social media and email can work together to serve as an integral part of your marketing strategy and, specifically, increase the impact of your mailer campaigns.

While adjoining social media and email marketing campaigns is a relatively new concept, it’s already showing positive results and kicking up quite a storm in the marketing sphere as a result. In a 2011 survey it was discovered that “More than two thirds of business leaders (68%) said they plan to integrate social media with their email marketing efforts”.

Now the question is ‘why?’. Well, the answer is quite clear and simple. The same study found that “42% of executives reported a lift in email campaign performance after integrating social media and email”.

soicla media postage stamps on email marketing

Quite simply, it’s an effective way of improving returns and making consumers happy. Email and social media play different roles in your marketing strategy, helping you to cover all of your bases. It’s not about email marketing vs. social media but rather ‘email marketing social media integration’ as a holistic concept. Social allows for users to shape and drive the spread of content in a highly sharable environment, while email facilitates direct, targeted and controlled communications to the user, where the company shapes the content.

So the cycle looks like this:

Your email will deliver seed content – a hook if you will. Then you can ask for it to be shared. If it’s relevant enough to your reader and their friends, it is likely to enter the social sphere – at the discretion of your readers. Your job is to get the content right and facilitate the sharing process using the basic tips we touch on later.

Then, if it’s shared, it circulates within social channels where your brand needs to be active and continue the conversation with your consumers. This is also a good way to drive people to your site for more information or a strong call to action – taking them through an organic journey that hopefully leads them to make a purchase, sign up to a service or visit on of your stores.

At this point, you can neatly close the circle with a confirmation email or receipt if your user made a transaction on your site, or a content mail if the user signed up as a subscriber to your communications or your YouTube channel for example. So, traffic is the currency that social media provides, and email allows you to keep reaching your consumers when you need to.

Which companies are doing it successfully?

South African based event management company Seed Experiences has an email campaign to both a mailing list of subscribers, as well as other event industry professionals that combines event notifications and communications with their social media profiles, and those of their clients.

They regularly direct readers to visit their Facebook page for further updates and even post links to less mainstream networks where consumers can listen to music and join their other communities. In doing so they’ve fostered a larger Facebook community with almost 17, 000 likes and continue to sell out major events. This is a fantastic example of how an SME can thrive online through integration.

Corporates are also making use of this marketing strategy. The grocery franchise, Checkers, is well known for its visually appealing, informative and enticing mails, and so their marketing team decided to take it one step further. Their method of email marketing social media integration relies on link building by adding social buttons. This not only builds links to their various communities, helping their search engine rankings and gaining them wider exposure on the web, but it also provides a place for more information and allows readers the opportunity to engage with what they’ve read.

Now it’s your turn to improve your campaigns with integration

Follow these simple steps to create an integrated foundation for your campaign:

  1. Acid test your content by assessing whether it’s actually shareable. It has to be really good and offer something your reader won’t get anywhere else.
  2. Deliver your email content with clear social sharing options such as linking buttons with social media icons.
  3. When people share, engage with them on social media, and if they like your page, make sure they can find related content updates to keep them interested.
  4. Always develop a feedback loop for people to reach your site via your social channels and become subscribers themselves. This way, your integrated campaign begins to do the work of following up and advertising for you.

All told, generating high-value and enticing content in an email can lead to social sharing, engagement on this media platform and ultimately gaining new sign-ups that will help you build and maintain a relationship with your consumers. As a result, you get more business and credibility; so ensure that your integrated marketing mix offers readers a clear journey and something they are excited about, see value in and want to share!