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At this point, you know that a good email or SMS campaign goes hand in hand with social media. Few one-two punches even come close to the kind of power this duo packs. However, are your only options really Facebook, Google+, and Twitter? While the “Big Three” might be the first that come to mind when you think of reaching out to fans on social media, the truth about your other options – and the stats backing up these claims – might surprise you. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how Instagram can compliment a strong SMS or Email marketing campaign, sending your brand influence through the roof.

The Power of Instagram

Before going any further, you’re probably wondering why anyone would dare to put Instagram in the same category as Facebook or the other leading networks. However, the truth is that Instagram is in a league of its own when it comes to making contact with customers. According to a recent report from marketing research firm Forrester, Instagram delivered 58 times more engagement for brands per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter. To put it plainly, these two leading names aren’t even close when it comes to actually connecting and interacting with your audience.

For a little extra context, the report showcases a video posted by Red Bull, which received 2,600 likes on Facebook. Not bad, right? While that kind of engagement is nothing to scoff at, it definitely pales in comparison to the 36,000 likes the same video received on Instagram. In total, six of the seven platforms studied reported engagement rates below .1 percent, with Instagram easily outpaced the field, taking the lead at 4.21 percent.

Going Beyond Stats

While the stats are definitely eye-popping, the real power of this visually oriented social network is the ability to actually engage customers in a meaningful and interactive way. Instead of tired, generic posts that so many brands rely upon when posting to Facebook or Twitter, sharing on Instagram lets you express your brand image, story, and content in a more engaging and visually pleasing manner. This unique method of getting in contact with your customers is what truly makes connecting via Instagram so powerful. While generating high quality graphic content that relates to your latest round of email or SMS messages, or brand in general, might take a little extra work, the numbers don’t lie regarding how your audience responds to this kind of engagement.

Building an Instagram Strategy

So now that you’re up to speed with what you have to gain by incorporating Instagram into your social media game plan, it’s time to take a look at how to fit this network into your next campaign. To start, take advantage of the full service profile features to give your customers an idea of what your brand is all about. Much like Twitter and Facebook, incomplete profile information doesn’t come off as very professional, so make sure you give your audience all they need to know (and then some) to ensure they have the complete picture regarding your brand.

From here, engaging your customers with fun events and activities is a great way to drum up interest in your brand and even score some extra numbers and addresses for your contact lists. Offering contests that require user submissions, as well as featuring these members of your audience on a regular basis, can go a long way toward building a significant brand following on Instagram. Even doing something as simple as showing off a promo code you’d normally use for your email or SMS marketing initiatives every once in a while can give members of the network all the incentive they need to make stopping by your profile and checking out your latest uploads a part of their daily routine.

Looking to the Future

Of course, the biggest question surrounding a platform like Instagram is the concern that it is just a passing fad. While the likes of MySpace, Friendster, etc. all tell a cautionary tale about the viability of social networks, the fact that over 90 percent of Instagram’s 150 million (and growing) users are under the age of 35 bodes well for the long-term prospects of brand’s that plan on utilizing this platform in upcoming campaigns. Adding in that the mobile technology revolution is going nowhere anytime soon, it’s pretty safe to say that Instagram should definitely have at least a complimentary spot in your email and SMS initiatives for a long time to come.

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By now, you know that email marketing and social media are two peas in a pod when it comes to reaching out to your audience. Whether it’s one of the countless marketing blogs out there telling you how great these two are together or your own personal experience doing a little brand promotion work, it’s not exactly the best kept secret in the industry. However, what plenty of talking heads fail to cover is exactly how you can put this connection to good use and grow your email contact list without a lot of extra effort. Thankfully, all you need to do is take a few minutes and look over these must see tips to get the ball rolling on your next big email marketing push.

Use Facebook’s Built-in Apps to Make an Email Opt-in Form (and Don’t Forget to Promote It!)

One of the absolute best synergies between social media and email marketing comes from the biggest social platform in the world. As part of its extensive app library, Facebook gives your brand the opportunity to setup an email opt-in form right on your page. While this might not seem like much, think back to the last time you were browsing a page and had to click an external link to check out an article or sign-up for something; chances are you probably just kept scrolling down because you didn’t want to leave the Facebook page or app on your phone. Your customers have the same mindset, so make it easy on them with a sign-up sheet that keeps them on Facebook. Once you have it up and running, don’t forget to post about it so that it pops up in their newsfeeds.

Each Social Site Deserves a Little Extra Attention

In a world where everything is automated and lumped together for convenience, it’s easy to be lazy and approach your social media engagement in broad and generic strokes. So many platforms give you the ability to post to all sites at once, so why not do this and save a little time? While this sounds good at first, the reality is that different people prefer different networks, so using the same method to promote your list across all of them isn’t your best bet.

Much like your email templates that have links and icons for each network you post on, instead of just one option, your promotional messages should also mix things up to entice different portions of your audience. While this does mean that you’ll need to test and tweak the different parts of your posts to see what Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. viewers like, the sign-ups you get in return will make you happy you didn’t take the easy way out and just click “post to all.”

Free Stuff Is a Great Motivator

If after all this you’re still having trouble with sagging contact list numbers, don’t be afraid to do start handing out some freebies. While you might not want to make this your go to plan, it doesn’t hurt to have some giveaway ideas in store for the times when you need to inject some new life into your audience’s enthusiasm. After all, nothing gets the online crowd buzzing more than a post offering goodies or discounts to those who take a minute to sign-up. If you really want to go deep on this strategy, adding in a small bonus for those who like or retweet your offer will have it popping up on potential new customer newsfeeds in no time.

Give Your Users a Chance to Sound off

With the rest of the tips on this list focusing on how you can make the sign-up experience enticing for customers, this one shifts the balance of power in the other direction a little bit. Customers love giving feedback, so why not give them a chance to speak their minds and let your brand know exactly what they like and dislike about your email campaigns. It doesn’t have to be an open Facebook post or Google+ community discussion, but linking back to feedback forms and customer support email accounts on your social media pages offers a direct line to the people you’re trying to connect in the first place.

Don’t Forget the Secondary Networks

The final tip that can really grow your email list doesn’t have anything to do with Facebook or Twitter. While these guys are definitely the top dogs when it comes to social media, that doesn’t mean they are the only players in the game. Working with Pinterest, LinkedIn, and the other up and coming platforms can help you tap into a user base that might not connect very often on the bigger networks. Additionally, getting creative and doing things like saving your email offers as pins on Pinterest can help push your brand image ahead of the competition. When it comes to email marketing and social media, isn’t that where you want to be with your audience?

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For the regular readers of this blog and pretty much any other site that covers email marketing, you probably see a ton of discussion regarding social media – and for good reason. While emails are still your best bet for generating leads and hammering out sales, there’s a ton of overlap between this marketing approach and getting friendly with your email list and other potential customers, especially on Facebook. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of this synergy and how you can best retool your company’s Facebook account to supercharge your next email marketing campaign.

Everyone Loves Being Liked

The first entry on the list is pretty straightforward, but highly effective. By simply having a “like” button in the bottom of your email messages, you give your list members a fast and easy way to share your content and let it go viral. With so many social groups looking to show off great deals, it only makes sense that you give them the tools to do this with a simple click. From here, others who might never have known about your email list can jump on the bandwagon and get your daily or weekly offers in their inboxes going forward. In short, it’s a simple addition to your message that goes a long way with customers who love being social on the web.

Learning More about Those Already on Your List

Outside of having your email list show off your deals by liking and sharing your latest message, you can dig a little deeper with Facebook and learn more about your target audience. With so much information being made publicly available via this social network, your company can compare its mailing list with what these customers like and which social communities they’re a part of. Even just a few years ago, this type of insight into what your audience likes and wants was pretty much unheard of. However, with this information in hand, you can reshape and rework your email marketing operations to give them what they really want and boost conversions in a big way at the same time.

Timing’s Everything on Any Platform

It’s funny how some things, regardless of the platform, never change. When it comes to email marketing and posting on Facebook – or any other social network – timing is at the top of this list. If you’ve taken the steps to learn as much as possible about your target audience, then you should have a pretty solid idea of how and when they like their messages. If not, that’s OK too. By fiddling with when you schedule posts on Facebook and keeping track of which offerings blow up and which ones fizzle out, you’ll learn a lot about timing and your audience. From here, putting those test results to good use by optimizing your email messaging schedule is a nifty little trick that can help you sneak in a few extra conversions that might have otherwise have gone by the wayside because of bad timing.

Having a Little Fun

Of course, the synergy between email marketing and Facebook that your fans will like the most is letting them have a little fun. At first glance, you might be wondering how this is even possible. However, simply opening up a browser window with your own Facebook page and looking at your newsfeed will answer this pretty quickly. If you’re page is like most of the rest of ours, you’ll notice that everyone’s filling out quizzes and surveys for pretty much anything. From TV shows to the latest Internet trends, surveys asking “which character are you most like” and a variety of other topics are a major part of the Facebook social experience these days – and there’s no reason your brand shouldn’t get in on the fun.

By having links to your own Facebook surveys, quizzes, and even contests in your emails, you’ll not only engage your audience a little more by letting them have some fun filling these out, but you’ll also learn a lot about what makes them tick. When it comes to maximizing sales and exposure on any part of the web, this kind of insight and interaction should be a top priority for any brand that’s serious about getting the most out of social media and email marketing.

Give Your Viewers a Reason to Share

The final entry on the list is more of a mantra than a specific tip. While all the other synergies we’ve covered have been pretty specific, the biggest thing to remember, regardless of what you decide to do with your company’s Facebook page and email marketing campaign, is to give your audience a reason to share your content. No matter what direction you go, keep this ideal at the forefront of your strategy and you’ll be sure to hit a home run with the social butterflies that make up your audience the next time you roll out a new campaign.

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It’s your brand’s worst nightmare: you drop a hefty chunk of your marketing budget onto a great SMS campaign, only to watch the bottom fall out as some new craze hits your target audience. If you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you just might have this sinking feeling in your stomach after finding out that Facebook purchased WhatsApp – a peer-to-peer chat app that is massively popular. However, let’s hold off on a complete meltdown and look over some of the facts surrounding the deal, and what it means for connecting with your audience via text, before we start reading the last rites for SMS marketing.

The Skinny on Facebook’s Monster Purchase

The best place to start is with a good look at what went down. Facebook recently broke the news that it was purchasing WhatsApp for a whopping $19 billion. That little tidbit in and of itself is enough to make waves in any industry. However, with reactions ranging from “jaw-dropping” to breaking down the value of each WhatsApp employee ($345.5 million a pop, in case you were wondering), the story has spread like wildfire and taken on a life of its own. While getting caught up in this craze is definitely exciting, pumping the brakes a little bit and thinking things out will help you see that this deal is definitely big news in the mobile and social media sectors, but SMS marketing is still king in many ways.

What Does This Mean for SMS Marketing?

Because Facebook monetizes pretty much everything it touches, the concern surrounding this deal was that the social media giant would go over the top of the SMS marketing industry and leverage ad space on the app. However, the linked article from Venture Beat we just shared does a great job breaking down exactly why that kind of thinking is closer to mass hysteria than it is to common sense.

First, and perhaps the biggest reason why WhatsApp gaining traction with Facebook doesn’t mean much to you, is the fact that this app makes its money from yearly subscriptions. The entire platform is based on a mantra which includes “no ads,” so customers couldn’t even sneak a peek at your offers while chatting with friends even if you wanted them to. After digesting this, the next little snippet from the article explains that WhatsApp isn’t even a big deal in the states. Ask yourself a quick question – before this story caught fire, did you even know what WhatsApp was? Don’t worry, neither did most people.

What is important for SMS marketing as a whole is that Facebook has reaffirmed that having your brand be a part of messaging is a smart play in the long haul. As a population, we can’t get enough texting – to the point that some people don’t even bother making phone calls at all anymore. While your company might not spend $19 billion to stay in touch with consumers like Facebook did, using messaging to build brand awareness puts you in some pretty good company.

What Facebook Hopes to Gain

As far as Facebook itself is concerned, the marketing industry is still a little unsure of what to make of the whole deal. Across the pond, some experts believe that WhatsApp’s popularity is here to stay, but question if Facebook is really going to get its money’s worth out of this blockbuster deal. While there’s no doubt that WhatsApp has a big time following, is there really more room for growth? Some of the best minds in the business aren’t so sure.

Bringing things back a little closer to familiar territory is Forbes magazine’s interesting take on the value debate. Basically, author Thomas Goodwin isn’t even sure if WhatsApp was Facebook’s first choice. After failing to hammer out a deal with Snapchat, which is definitely a bigger deal in the U.S. than WhatsApp, some industry insiders view this purchase as a bit of a consolation prize. While we’ll never really know the truth – until some disgruntled ex-employee leaks the juicy details about the boardroom debates that most definitely preceded this deal – it is pretty interesting to soak up some of the speculation and wonder just how much of an impact Facebook is really expecting from this whole thing.

Thinking Long-term

If you just want to trim this whole discussion down into a single sentence, this one should do the trick: SMS marketing isn’t going anywhere, and Facebook spending the big bucks on a messaging service just reaffirms the fact that contacting people, like your target audience, this way is definitely a strong channel for building your brand. Now that you’ve had a moment to breathe and understand what’s really going on with WhatsApp, think long-term with where you want your mobile marketing campaign to go and keep your eyes on that target – it’s the best strategy you’ve got in a world where everyone’s ready to overreact at the latest breaking news.

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Social media seems to seep into everything these days. From the 3.5 million Twitter followers of Pope Francis to Barack Obama posting photos of the family dog on Facebook, it’s almost impossible to avoid being social on the Web. When it comes to your email marketing operations, this statement definitely holds true. If the crossover between your promotional emails and the world of tweets, likes, and shares isn’t so clear, don’t worry – with a little review and some keen insight, you can delve deeper into social media, understand how it affects your email marketing, and retool your management of these accounts to get the most out of your next email campaign.

Understanding the Connection

To start, let’s look at how exactly these two seemingly different fields overlap. When it comes to email marketing, your organization is obviously trying to gain ground with a new audience, or keep your established mailing list active and visiting your website. Similarly, companies that run great social media accounts push traffic and conversions back to the homepage by engaging customers with great content and conversation. So where’s the connection? The companies that do both best offer marketing content, like deals and promotions, on social media, all while linking back to social media pages and events via promotional emails. Under this approach, you can build both audiences and generate even more exposure as people like, favorite, and share your content from their inboxes and on their profiles.

Gaining Ground on Google Plus

You also have to carefully consider how you optimize each platform to ensure you get the most out of your combined email marketing endeavors. While many others might start with social media giant Facebook, Google actually offers some serious rewards if you decide to promote your brand on its network. First off, your followers on Google+ are more likely to see your posted content when they search for key search terms on the Google engine. This means you effectively get a third chance to show off your marketed content after sending out an email and sharing it on Google+. The fact that these posts end up on search result pages based on relevancy for users who don’t even follow your brand is icing on the cake. It also gives Google+ some serious clout when it comes to reaching your target audience.

Building Your Facebook Following

However, it’s hard to beat the sheer influence and reach of a great Facebook page. Once you get your page rolling with likes, follows, and shares, your message can literally reach extended viewers around the globe. To get to this point requires the right approach. Start by offering up multiple types of content and not just spamming your basic promotional emails in post form. People on Facebook want to see things that relate your product to their daily lives and pique their interest at the same time. Naturally, this takes more effort and time than hitting your followers with the bland copy and paste strategy, but you’ll soon see why being on the cutting edge of value-added content on Facebook is a great way to compliment your email marketing campaign and score some views at the same time.

Creating All-Star Tweets

In some industries, there’s nothing bigger than Twitter for connecting with customers. If this applies to your company, you can become a thought leader and share your email content at the same time by following a few straightforward rules. To start, optimize your profile to reflect your business and hit all the key tags. While some people don’t bother to put anything in the description for their profile, this can come back to haunt you in a big way. By filling this section out, you can sneak in a little SEO practices while pairing your profile with relevant keywords. Combine this with setting up your tweets to include links and appropriate hashtags while engaging your followers and other thought leaders, and now you’ve positioned yourself as an authoritative voice in your industry while keeping consumers and contemporaries alike glued to your latest updates.

The Big Picture

You could also consider other social media platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, and other emerging social networks, but for businesses looking to revamp the social media process to compliment a great email marketing campaign, it’s hard to steer away from the “Big Three.” That doesn’t mean the others don’t have a place, but building a sound foundation starts with Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. With these accounts rolling, you can not only promote your email content on new platforms, but also expand your mailing list and site exposure just by being active. For any company looking to go viral and hit new audiences, you can’t beat this kind of combo.

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It’s 2014, and the Internet has never been more alive with people connecting across the globe on countless platforms. While this might not be awe-inspiring to some, if you’re a business looking to connect with customers, this is the golden age of interactive marketing and building virtual connections. Standing astride many campaigns and projections are connecting with customers via social media and email marketing initiatives. On the surface, these two practices might not seem to have much room for overlap. However, with a deeper look from both sides of the process, you might be surprised at just how much synergy exists between social media and email marketing, leading you to revamp how you interact with your customers entirely.

The Goal of Marketing via Emails

To start, email marketing approaches the process of connecting with consumers in a more traditional manner. By building a database of potentially interested individuals, you can ship out newsletters, offers and informational emails that help redirect customers back to your website and through the doors of your physical storefront. In some cases, having exclusive promotions or other perks listed in an email-only format, helps promote your mailing and the importance of signing up. Once you’ve got your email list up and running, these messages require optimization that is akin to the refinement that happens from a content marketing standpoint. By having high quality emails that include snappy text and sharp visuals, you can maximize your chances of wowing a viewer and getting a click back to your site and join a growing trend of email marketing effectiveness that has reached unprecedented levels in recent months.

Reaching Out via Social Media

Similarly, social media is all about showing off your brand in the right way, even if the platform is fundamentally different. With this approach, you can share the same messages and promotions via Twitter, Facebook and Google+ that you would with an email marketing initiative. The difference is that your content usually focuses on building a conversation and expanding your organization’s virtual reach via visibility. To put it simply, the more people talk about your content on any of these sites, the more other people take notice and give your products attention. From this perspective, the goal of getting viewers in your web store remains the same, but the path they take to get there is slightly different.

Is There a Connection?

Considering that joining virtually any social media website requires a working email address, you can safely assume that your target audience overlaps in at least some fashion on both of those platforms. However, the question of whether or not you can draw connections between the two styles of marketing still needs to be answered. When combined properly, there is room for a strong connection between social media and your email marketing campaign. For instance, building in retweet, like and favorite options on your emails gives viewers a chance to freely share with others who may not be on your mailing list. Basically, every time someone clicks one of these little buttons, you get access to a new list of potential customers that would otherwise have never had a chance to learn about your promotional content. For anyone who wants to get the most out of their email marketing budget, it’s hard to say no to free exposure via a social media referral.

Is One Better Than the Other?

While you can clearly start to connect the dots and build a connection between the two styles, you might be wondering why smart marketers don’t just go with the method that has a better return on investment or other performance metric. While this is pretty strong thinking, the reality is that there is no clear winner when you start to draw comparisons. On one hand, eMarketer released a study showing that 2014 was the year for social media. In direct contrast is a report from the equally credible Forbes that asserts the supremacy of email marketing over social media. With experts toeing both sides of the battle lines, there is no best choice.

Maximizing Your Return with a Smart Marketing Campaign

Instead of picking only one strategy and cutting yourself out of potential opportunities to increase visibility and sales, a great marketing campaign builds off both the social aspect of reaching out to customers and the power of an optimized email initiative to get the best of both worlds. By having social media accounts that spread the same content and messages as your emails, you can reach out to the subscribers who might not relate to a promotional email or would otherwise let it go unnoticed in a cluttered inbox. Additionally, having the share features listed above in your emails gives you extra reach that, when used effectively, will have any professional marketer jumping with joy over the free exposure to friends and family of those on your mailing list. Now that you are up to speed on the bond between email marketing and social media you can rest assured that you have all of the knowledge you need to make a smart choice when you get ready to fire up your next online advertising campaign. By harnessing the reach of social media and the effectiveness of optimized emails, you’ll never be left wondering if you could have done more to enhance your brand awareness in the digital marketplace. Puzzle_Pieces

 

When it comes to your customers, you probably wish you had a way to read their minds and find out what they really want from a great marketing campaign. Unfortunately, the technology required to tap into personal thoughts isn’t quite on the market. Instead, you’ll have to rely on some more indirect, yet still effective methods to get the job done. At the top of this list is the email survey. With this tool in hand, your company can gain some serious insight into the inner workings of the collective conscious of your targeted audience – provided you go about the process in the correct manner. To make sure you get the most out of your survey, take a moment to look over some of the finer points of gauging consumer interest with this method.

Plan a Smart Survey

To start the process, look at what goes into an effective survey. According to Qualtrics, a data management and collection firm, a strong survey hits on four prime measurements via the compiled questions. Perceived quality, which helps define what the customer received, is the most important factor according to this firm. From here, gauging consumer loyalty – specifically if the customer would recommend your brand to friends and family – as well as the important details that led to their final decision on a purchase, come up next. Finally, checking for the potential for repeat business rounds out the process and gives you an idea of where your products and services currently stand with the shopper.

Get Creative with Your Survey

Once you have the basic question outline in hand, the next step in building a great customer survey to ship out after your email marketing campaign centers around engaging your reader’s curiosity and interests. While many companies understand the proper line of questioning to extract this information, they drop the ball with a dull and boring survey. To avoid having your email offering fall flat on its face, think about how you can spice up your survey to draw in the interest of the shopper.

Incorporating something fun, useful, or creative is the key to hammering this point home. For instance, look at a recent offering from online fashion boutique ModCloth. This design shop quickly realized that most of their customers probably weren’t that interested in a boring email that contained a generic marketing survey. Instead, the company repackaged this questionnaire into a fun and engaging style quiz that gathered the same information, but received a considerably larger amount of responses than what it expected from a typical survey. Naturally, tailoring this offering to your industry will require a little creative thinking. However, you can guarantee that your customers will take note of your hard work and reward you with this valuable information accordingly.

Ensure an Ongoing Process

Of course, a survey doesn’t do you much good if you simply roll it out once and waste the information you’ve gathered. With this in mind, Entrepreneur.com suggests that to get the most out of your email marketing and consumer survey approach, take action when you can. This means adjusting your offerings and services to boost consumer interest and letting these shoppers know you care about their opinions. A great way to do this is with a follow-up email detailing your company’s appreciation of their involvement and a description of upcoming changes and improvements to your products and services.

With all of this information on your side, rolling out a strong survey can give you all the tools you need to keep up with your targeted audience. To start, plan a survey that keys in on top concerns like consumer loyalty and the perceived quality of your products and services. Once you have this in hand, finding a fun or creative way of getting your message across can help you get more responses and help ensure that you keep your customers engaged and providing information as new iterations of your survey hit their inboxes.

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“Americans spent $3 billion shopping online on Thanksgiving and Black Friday”

We can only imagine what that number will be after the official online version of Black Friday, Cyber Monday ends.  Year after year, e-commerce has shown significant and consistent growth.  Mobile purchases alone increased a staggering 118% since 2012 and show all signs of positive growth going into 2014.

What are you doing to take advantage of this?

If you haven’t believed in the power of the mobile buyer, now is the time to believe.  Tablets (especially the IPad) dominated sales at most big box retailers over the Black Friday weekend.  Couple that with the steadily declining sales of desktop computers and you have a buyer base that is essentially priming themselves for mobile purchasing.  Are you using your social media presence to take advantage of this shift in the consumer market?

I’ve missed Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  What can I do to make up for those days?

The great thing about having a mobile consumer market is that you have the capability, with their permission, to reach them literally any time and any place.  The challenge for you will be how to leverage that in the most beneficial way for your company.

One way to take advantage of the limited time before Christmas is to offer time sensitive coupons.  Adding urgency to an already urgent holiday buying season will help drive your customer to buy.  And with the finish line in three weeks and many presents to gather, discounts have never looked more attractive.

Free shipping with a minimum purchase will encourage people to buy more gifts from your business, instead of through multiple other retailers.

Jet Blue has become famous in the social media marketing world for the way they leverage their Twitter presence.  Anybody that has a problem, request or confusion can tweet Jet Blue and a representative will respond to them personally to resolve the situation.  What if you were to personally tweet your most loyal Twitter followers with special individual coupons?  Or tweet discounts to anybody that takes pictures of your brand via Instagram?  All customers want to feel special and social media is a great opportunity to publicly make them feel so.

The holiday season is the largest revenue period of every retailer’s business year.  Leveraging this properly can be the difference between having a good year to having a fantastic year.

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I have been consulting about social media since it was brand new. I remember when people moved from MySpace to this thing called Facebook…. and, at that time, Facebook was really easy to use with limited options. :)

When social media was just emerging, CBC created a documentary called “The Selling Game” that profiled some of the groundbreaking work we were doing with Sauza Tequila & Facebook. It was new, different, and hadn’t been done before.

Since that time, I have probably had a thousand conversations with organizations and brands of all sizes from all over the world about how to properly use social media, develop a good content calendar, measuring social ROI, and more.

Throughout all those conversations, I have always seen the different stages the leadership teams go through, especially when it’s their first time dipping their tool into the social media ecosystem.

So, when I saw this graphic from one of my favorite bloggers, Tom Fishburne, I had to post it here. He just captures each phase so perfectly!

Stages of Social Network Adoption

 

Email Marketing Fuels Social Media Campaigns

Email marketing and social media are keys to online business success. This is true for both small and large businesses alike; the problem most have is effectively integrating the two.

Many use social media to drive traffic to landing pages and signup forms in order to build their email lists. From there, they start their email marketing campaigns. This is effective, but email can also be used to help fuel a social media campaign.

Here are five tactics to make email a driving force for successful social media campaigns.

Include Social Components In Email Newsletters

Elite Email allow social profiles to be included in each email template. When setting up a newsletter, including social profiles does two things:

  1. It allows the recipients of an email to share it with their friends on their preferred social networks.
  2. It also gives recipients an opportunity to connect with a brand on social media by following that brand’s account or page, opening an additional channel for communication and engagement.

As the online space becomes more crowded, competition for attention is fierce and brands need to take every opportunity available to them to get in front of their target customers. When someone who has already opted in to receive emails chooses to follow and engage with a brand on social media, it increases the chances that they will help to spread that brand’s messages to their social contacts.

This is the online equivalent to word-of-mouth advertising. People still trust the recommendations of their friends more than any other form of marketing.

The other way to make emails social is to include hash tags. Twitter, Instagram and Facebook all make use of the hash tag feature to keep up with a particular topic. If a brand is launching a new campaign with a heavy emphasis on social media, they should have a topic picked out that they will create a hash tag for.

It could be the topic itself, or a related word or term that fits that topic. Whatever it is, it should be included along with graphics and videos in emails to encourage sharing, the use of hash tags and further engagement.

Give An Idea Of What People Can Expect On Each Social Site

When sending an email with the intention of boosting a social media campaign, users may want to know what will be different from the normal email and website content they are used to.

Creative emails may include videos, images or gifs that show users what they can expect to find on social media. It may be a contest, special deals and offers only shared with followers on social media, or even non-promotional content meant to build a brand.

It doesn’t really matter what the campaign entails. The only thing that matters is that people know what they are about to see, and that it is interesting enough for them to engage with it.

For most people, choosing to engage with a brand on social media is a step lower in terms of commitment than giving their email address. They are most likely already getting a steady stream of emails on a daily basis and can get overwhelmed.

Taking the opportunity to lighten things up and provide some sort of incentive to engage socially is a great idea. Not only does it change the dynamic of the brand-customer relationship, it also gives brands an opportunity to get more personal feedback on what is working and what isn’t.

Tell People What You Want Them To Do

A strong call-to-action is often the missing element in getting a conversion of any type. People don’t always know it, but they need to be told what to do.

If a brand includes social sharing with their email newsletters, they should tell users exactly what to do. Including a call-to-action in the email with directions to like a brand on Facebook, tweet an email newsletter to their friends, use a hash tag for discussions or follow on Instagram is a surefire way to increase social activity between target customers and brands.

Don’t just include icons or use a short line like “This email can be shared” at the end of a paragraph or at the bottom of a newsletter. Use clear instructions like “This email can be shared with your friends, click the Twitter icon to tweet it now.”

While it would seem that most people online would know what to do, many don’t. And those that do will often look past the sharing icon and eventually close the email. Tell them what to do and they are more likely to do it.

Make Your Landing Pages Social

Since most email is sent with the intention of getting the recipient to click a link to take them to a landing page, those pages need to be social media friendly as well.

Instead of including the sharing icons at the top of each post or in a scrolling bar to the side, begin each page with a social call-to-action. There may be an incentive, such as unlocking content on a blog post or getting access to a discount code. Likewise, there may be no incentive and simply the direction to share with friends. By building your Facebook and social media profiles (there are many companies that help with this), and by optimizing your landing page call to actions, you will improve your conversion rate significantly.

Each campaign is different, but if the purpose of a particular email or sequence of emails is to fuel a social media campaign, then each action a user takes should reflect that.

Use Email To Test Headlines

Headlines are vital to attracting visitors, getting email opens and earning social shares. The best usually evoke some form of emotion or pique curiosity.

If a business already has a large email subscriber list in place, they may want to test a sequence of emails on a topic related to their social campaign with different types of headlines.

From here, they can track open and click-throughs to determine what works best for their audience. People in different markets will respond differently to each type of headline. Some will open and click-through for headlines that appear urgent. Others will respond best to headlines posing a question. Some may even respond favorably to controversial topics included in headlines.

The key is to set up a sequence of emails leading up to a campaign and to track which headline received the most action. Once that data has been gathered, more effective headlines can be written for a social media campaign.

Bonus Tip

Use email to hint at something new on the horizon. It is not important to tell people that a new social campaign is starting, but to hint at something new and fun to watch out for.

This curiosity builds suspense and interest. These help to keep a brand in the minds of their audience, helping to ensure that whatever it is they do, people will take action o it once that new thing that has been hinted at actually happens.

Integrate All Channels To Maximize Success

Instead of focusing on one area as the main marketing focus, brands need to know how to use each one to fuel the other. Effective email marketing can drive social, just as effective social marketing can help fuel email.

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