The past week or so has seen some amazing, whiplash inducing changes in social media marketing:
- Google+ has opened up to the public and added 10 million new members in less than a week, bringing its total user base to 50 million people. (source)
- Facebook has changed how it displays information on all its user profiles, putting more important items in the news feed and less important items in a ticker.
- Facebook at its developer conference, F8, announced a series of major changes including its new timeline that will display content for a user’s entire life and Open Graph, which makes all applications inherently social.
Marketers would be forgiven for feeling a bit of panic and a sense of being overwhelmed about all of these changes and their vast, far-reaching implications. Email marketers have the added stress of wondering how these new changes in social media will impact subscribers and customers’ interactions with email itself. Allow us to share some insights and things you should be doing as an email marketer to position yourself for the advantage with all of these changes.
Google+ isn’t so significantly different an animal from other social networks that your practices need to change. Rather, simply incorporate it into your existing social media workflow.
1. There are no corporate pages permitted on Google+ just yet, so in lieu of that, work on having your staff set up individual profiles and promote your content. If you don’t have anyone on staff who is socially savvy, now might be the time to get that rolling. The more that your staff can share and +1 your content, the better it will perform.
Useful and powerful: post a link to your newsletter’s View in Browser version to Google+ when you publish it.
2. Incorporate share and +1 with your network snippets in all of your email content. Even if your email service provider doesn’t allow this, you can use third party services like ShareThis to create links in your email that will allow it to be shared. For WhatCounts clients on the Publicaster platform, Google +1 is built in.
3. Remember to segment out your database and promote Google+ content to anyone with a GMail.com address! Now that Google+ is open to the world, anyone with a GMail account is automatically eligible to participate.
4. With the new document sharing capabilities in Hangouts, consider creating a circle of customers or your top subscribers (by open rate and click through rate), then having a hangout with them to review your email marketing messages for impact and suggestions prior to sending.
Facebook’s changes mean that simply “Liking” things will be significantly less impactful. By moving items such as likes to the scrolling news ticker, they’ll be much less visible to friends of friends as they’ll simply pass by.
Conversely, shared stories, links, and content live in the central timeline. As a marketer, getting people to share your content rather than press the Like button is far more important now.
Some things you can do as an email marketer:
1. Ask people to share newsletters on Facebook, rather than using a Like button. Sharing is the new Like.
2. If you want to drive a specific piece of content on Facebook, post a link to it on your wall and then send a followup email to your evangelists, asking them to reshare it on their profiles.
3. When using Share/Like buttons or links in your email newsletters, track who clicks on them and segment them out into a separate list such as socially-savvy subscribers or influencers. You’ll want to be able to reach out to these influencers first any time you need to bring attention to new content or campaigns.
4. If you’ve got a Facebook app, consider having your developers integrate email marketing more tightly into it to encourage usage and participation. Facebook will be promoting the visibility of apps based on their Graph Rank algorithm, which effectively requires marketers to be constantly promoting an app in order for it to be found by Facebook users. By incorporating mechanisms that send email to app users, your app will rank better.
Social media is changing the game rapidly, and these latest network changes from Google and Facebook add additional challenges to your marketing strategies. The one commonality between them is that your email list is now more valuable than ever, as you’ll be able to highlight how you’re adapting to changes in social media to your subscribers.
Christopher S. Penn
Director of Strategy, WhatCounts