7 creative ways to add social media to your email newsletter

For too long people have viewed email marketing and social media as two separate platforms for advertising, when actually they can be ideal partners for many campaigns. Both email and social are designed as conversation starters, building communities and providing customers with a channel to feel heard; which is why they’re a great combination - provided you have a strategy for effective integration.

By combining the two marketing methods, you’ll be able to improve your email marketing ROI quite significantly. By adding social media to your email newsletter and encouraging people to sign up to your email database can result in an impressive expansion of your email newsletter reach. That being said, using your email database to leverage your social media profiles can significantly increase your social followers as well.

Now days it comes down to more than just adding your social media buttons at the bottom of your email – hoping that they will be utilised. Social media should be a bigger focus of any campaign if you want to see any real increase in clicks on these links.

There are a myriad of creative ways to add social media to your email newsletter, however you still need to have a plan. It’s an essential step to safeguard a ROI for your brand.With an email database, social followers and an effective marketing strategy in place, you’re able to:

  1. Extended the reach of your email databases’ friends or contacts.
  2. Create a sense of legitimacy by allowing your recipients to see how others feel about your product or service.
  3. Better understand your audience just by tapping in to what your audience has to say about your product or service, thereby modifying your brand presence accordingly.

But first, you’ll need to polish up on a few things before mixing it up:

  1. Use the right content – provide a decent value proposition and appeal to customer emotions and needs. For example, ask questions and provide solutions to problems customers may be facing in their day-to-day lives, which can lead to potential customers considering your goods and engaging with your brand.
  2. Make your Call To Action (CTA) a strong one – capture the reader’s attention with a clear CTA. Aim to end off your campaign with one main CTA, as this will help you to focus your audience on the main point of the campaign. Smaller, supplementary CTAs throughout your mailer is should be utilised as well.
  3. Always measure your results – make sure that your Email Service Provider (ESP) has the ability to track who has clicked on links in your emails, and if shared, on which platforms.
  4. Segment your data every time – by using the information provided from your campaign, you can gain insight into who the key influencers are on your database, and possibly offer them rewards for helping you expand your reach, as well as targeting your audience for future campaigns.

So, how can you add social media to your email newsletter?

  1. Ask for it – if you are offering something of value on social media that differs to what subscribers get from the emails you send, why not just ask your email database for the likes and follows? Being totally forthright about it actually works for some brands. But sometimes all it takes is a small amount of encouragement to get people to interact and participate. Try it, you might be pleasantly surprised with the result.
  1. Provide text alternatives to social share buttons – with all the creative social button designs, people can become quite numb to the idea entirely. Perhaps displaying the ‘@’ and your profile name or providing the full social URL in plain sight might trigger a reaction and increase followers on a social media pages.
  1. Include it with the rest of your offerings – if you’re a retailer and advertising a list of top products, make one of those in your list a social “product”! That way there is less chance of it being ignored.
  1. Give them a reason to – run a promotion that links people to an advantage on both platforms – extra entries to a competition if they follow you on social; a unique discount for subscribing to a particular list and so on.
  1. Hashtag it – it’s not only Twitter that uses hashtag tagging; Facebook, Instagram and various other platforms incorporate searchable hashtags too. Take ownership of your own one for a specific campaign and reinforce this hashtag in your emails.
  1. Make your content shareable – if your emails have several unique articles that form part of a whole newsletter, it’s worthwhile incorporating shareable links for individual articles. People may not want to share the entire newsletter but might like a specific story and think that their friends will find it interesting too.
  1. Move your links around - if your social links have always been at the end of your email newsletter, try placing them at the top, or smack bang in the centre of your email template.

Email marketing should be “social by design”.  You don't just simply add social media to your email newsletter. Basically, you want to build in a reason to participate and share into communications, and even products. Don’t be shy to test out these methods and see which one works for you. Need more options for extending your reach?

  1. Validate your email send – through a third party service, have your Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) validated. If you have a verified Google+ business page, the domain that your email was sent from will be recognised and displayed on the right hand side of your email in Gmail, so your recipients will get the opportunity to connect with you on Google+ too!
  2. Add your email to social – if you have Twitter followers, Facebook fans or the like, tell them about your newsletter and give them a link or better yet, a subscription form to sign up with so that people don’t have to leave the platform in order to sign up.
  1. Broadcast your email – once your email has been sent, use a ‘view online’ link to share with your social followers, especially if your email content is unique to your usual newsletters. Make sure to use publishing tools to aid syndication, where you can also gain insight into the updates that were the most popular, which you can then also feature in your newsletter.

The potential when it comes to marketing is endless. Just remember that with all the platform choices and communication channels available today, you have to prioritise your social media channels. Find out which platforms your customers are most active on and then stick to the ones that make sense for your business.

Twitter might work well for particular facets of your business such as customer service issues, however Facebook is probably better for running promotions or competitions, while email can be great for announcing sales. It’s always important to test it out and see what people respond to best.

If you’re asking people to be a part of your social media communities and on your email database, never give them identical content across all platforms. Provide variety and give your audience a reason to join each platform.

Essentially, you’re aiming to accommodate your audience in a way that they are most apt to engage with you; not only towards extending your reach, but towards converting them into the loyal customers you know they can be.

Go on, get creative. If you’re unsure of what steps to take in order to achieve social integration with email, ask your ESP if they can advise or find out what features they have to assist you with your email marketing strategy.