This is a guest post from Karolina Mikołajczyk at NapoleonCat.
Email and social media are two vital pillars of digital marketing. They both have unique benefits and disadvantages, and even the most seasoned marketers can’t seem to decide which of them is ultimately more effective. Is there a winner in this debate at all?
A good digital marketing strategy is one that works towards hitting your business objectives by combining multiple tactics and tools. Email and social media marketing should (and often do) work together.
Multichannel communications are, by no means, just a marketing trend; their effectiveness has been proven by psychological studies. The familiarity principle of attraction states that we’re all attracted to what we recognize. This applies to consumer behaviors as well: The more touchpoints you create within your digital marketing strategy and the more you expose potential customers to your brand, the closer you get to conversions.
But how, exactly, do you go about integrating your social media efforts with email marketing? Certain social media strategies and content solutions can be used as powerful lead generation tools. Read on to learn how you can leverage social media platforms to expand your email marketing contact list.
Invest in next-level content marketing.
Every brand’s social media presence should revolve around solving problems or answering the needs of their audience through thoughtful content. This means you should focus on providing value to your followers. Social media is a competitive arena for businesses big and small—if your content doesn’t stand out, it’ll get lost in a sea of more attractive updates.
In some cases, appealing to your audience’s aesthetic or supporting causes they care about is valuable enough to build and sustain a loyal following. You can, however, go a step further and create advanced forms of content, such as eBooks, reports, webinars, or a podcast. These types of content provide your audience with tangible value: high-quality industry insights, specific knowledge, an opportunity to ask professionals their questions, etc.
Strategically, the best thing about these types of content is that the high value justifies restricted access. This, in turn, creates an opportunity for you to ask users to subscribe to your email newsletter or provide contact information before accessing your eBook, webinar, or podcast.
Utilize social media for organic and paid promotion of the exclusive content you’ve crafted. Consider using cross-platform promotion too. For example, if you’re releasing a business-focused eBook, post about it on LinkedIn, where professionals go to seek such content. Make sure to include a call to action. Once a user clicks the download link, redirect them to Messenger, where an interactive bot will take over.
Adding some fun and innovation to the process will make for a memorable experience. And, ultimately, staying top of mind for existing and potential customers is the goal of most marketing efforts.
Reward your followers.
EBooks, webinars, reports, and podcasts can be highly effective for lead generation and email collection. They do, however, work best for business and technology-related topics. This doesn’t mean that retailers and services can’t utilize them in their strategies; it just might take a bit more creativity in the case of typical B2C businesses.
Contests are a solution suitable for almost every business profile. People use social media for a variety of reasons, and entertainment is definitely one of them. Social media contests are fun and engaging. They rely on simple but tried-and-tested psychological mechanisms. A sense of urgency and the promise of gratification make them particularly attractive compared to other types of social media campaigns.
Similar to high-quality content, social media contests justify requesting your followers’ contact information because you need a way to get in touch with your winners. A database of contacts collected through a contest is particularly valuable. It’s essentially a new group of potential or existing customers you can add to your newsletter communications. And you know so much about them: They’re willing to interact with your brand, they enjoy social media, and they get excited about particular categories or products.
Use this information to craft tailored email communications that fit their specific tastes or needs. Provide them with deals relevant to the subject of your contest or with information they might find interesting. By doing so, you’re engaging in meaningful communication (and effectively building the customers’ loyalty toward your brand) rather than adding one more cookie-cutter newsletter to their inbox.
Regardless of the creative direction you choose for your social media contests and email follow-up, don’t forget to follow industry best practices. It’s extremely important to always get the participant’s permission to include them in your email communications.
Embrace paid social.
These days, most major social media networks offer paid promotion solutions. Their primary benefit is combining vast userbases (Facebook alone
is currently at 2.3 billion monthly active users) with highly advanced targeting options. This means you can use paid social to get your business in front of some pretty valuable eyes.
Facebook’s Lead Ads are the social network’s approach to combining targeted paid posts with conversion forms. Traditional ads redirect traffic from social media to a brand’s website, store, or online form. In all cases, the user is taken to a new tab or window.
This makes sense when a sale is the desired outcome—the sooner the potential customer is able to add a product to their cart, the better. However, if your goal is signing users up for a mailing list, interrupting their social media experience and taking them to an entirely different site to request information might cause some of your potential leads to drop out along the way.
Facebook addresses this risk with Lead Ads. Once someone hits the call-to-action button on the ad, they’re able to fill out the form that follows without leaving their feed. This means that, with Lead Ads, you’re able to:
- set up a campaign designed specifically to expand your email database,
- place it in front of a highly customizable target audience,
- collect information from your users in a seamless experience,
- and easily measure your return on investment using Facebook Ads Manager,
all without leaving the Facebook platform. Combine Lead Ads with Facebook’s retargeting capabilities to reach users who’ve already interacted with your brand, and you’ve just created a foolproof and cost-efficient lead generation campaign.
Get creative with Messenger.
Social media marketing automation has been a hot topic in the digital marketing industry for a while now. Broadly speaking, the trend comes down to improving processes and workflows by handling certain tasks with the use of specialized software and AI. Examples of social media efforts that can be automated include planning and publishing content, setting up and optimizing paid campaigns, moderating user interactions, and social listening.
One area of automation that allows for a fair dose of creativity and helps convey your brand’s personality is automating replies. Using automation solutions like Messenger bots, you can set up fun and engaging guided conversations with your followers.
Bots can perform many functions for your brand. They can be programmed to answer frequently asked questions or provide social media users with basic information about your business, like company policies, shipping times and rates, and hours of operation. They can also boost your email marketing strategy by providing your followers with a unique route of opting in to your newsletter list.
The great thing about guided conversations on Messenger is that they can be applied to virtually any business. If you’re active in the arena of email marketing and social media, you can utilize automation tools to create a stronger link between the two, regardless of your business profile. The examples above prove that the strategy is equally useful and relevant for a renowned business news outlet, as it’s for a streetwear brand.
Despite the vast differences between the uses and advantages of social media and email marketing, the two should complement one another in a holistic approach to digital marketing.
Social media is a dynamic environment, and social presence strategies can be flexibly adjusted to fit your specific business objectives. When setting out to expand your email database, utilize social media solutions that work best for the goal: Create high-quality, valuable content, engage your followers in competitions, invest in Lead Ads, or entertain your customers with guided conversations via Messenger bots.
Regardless of which method(s) you choose for your strategy, remember to view social media and email marketing as an integrated mechanism that works best when all of its parts are in place. And, as with any mechanism, remember to perform regular check-ups. For best results, monitor not only your own performance, but check in on your competitors too, and always keep an eye out for emerging industry trends.
About the author
Karolina Mikołajczyk is a Digital Content Creator at NapoleonCat. She is a content and social media specialist with several years of digital marketing experience gained on two continents. Originally associated primarily with influencer marketing, she is currently exploring social media automation tools and strategies. Karolina loves fashion, music, and her two twin cats.