If you have read our white paper “18 Ways To Integrate Social Media and Email Marketing,” you would know that WhatCounts believes that social media and email marketing are two entities that are not mutually exclusive and can go together like peanut butter and jelly. While this rings true, if you do not ensure that your social media efforts are as strong as you want your email marketing campaign to be, you are setting yourself up for failure.
It seems to be that some marketers look at trying to bolster an email campaign with weak social media activity as being akin to running out of jelly halfway through making a PBJ – Sure you don’t have enough jelly, but the sandwich will still taste great and fill you up. What they don’t realize, though, is pairing your email marketing campaign with lifeless social networking is more like putting a wagon wheel on a Ducati: You just ruined the true potential of a beautiful, fast-paced vehicle with a sub-par accessory.
Some of you may be reading this and wondering: “How does this apply to me? Isn’t this a bit remedial?” While it may seem that way, we’re finding that many companies either underestimate the power of email/social integration or neglect their social media presence, consequently damaging their brand. Then, there are other companies who think that just because they post every so often, they are really building their brand via social media. With that being said, we found it necessary to go back to the basics and review what it takes to have a viable social media image to compliment your email marketing strategy.
One of the most fundamental ways to supplement your social media efforts is to consistently supply your network with current, relevant, useful content. This does not mean post a link to a random run-of-the-mill blog once every few weeks and say that you tried. Keeping your timeline filled with various forms of media such as articles, industry news, shareable graphics, quotes, or even a picture taken with your iPhone will keep your followers engaged and will give your brand personality. You can even post excerpts from upcoming newsletters or company blogs to give your audience a taste of what to expect if they were to sign up to your email list.
Since you’ve already followed the suggestions outlined in our “18 Ways To Integrate Social Media and Email Marketing” white paper, this means they will have a method to quickly subscribe to your email list through an app or link installed on your Facebook or Twitter page. Keep in mind, though, not to make all of the content you use in newsletters or mailings available on your social sites. As the old expression goes, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” – You are not giving your followers incentive to subscribe to your email list if they have already seen all of your great content in their newsfeed this morning.
Another key factor to keep in mind with social media content is how often you are posting and if that is sufficient enough. Like with email, you have to find the right balance in how often you post: You want to avoid blowing up your recipient’s inbox, but still develop brand recognition and engage subscribers. However, with social media this frequency needs to be far more often than once a month or even once a week. At minimum, I would recommend posting multiple times a week across social media channels such as Facebook or LinkedIn. This is where posts will continue to be in most followers’ feeds for a longer amount of time. When it comes to posts on Twitter, the more the better. I don’t mean you need to go out and spam your followers’ feed – Just keep in mind that depending on how many people they follow, your tweet can be lost in a matter of minutes.
Although there is no magic number to how often you should post, play with analytics to see when your followers respond the most. Even if you opt to post less often, keep in mind the following: A dead social media page is just as good as (if not worse than) no social media page at all. If a potential subscriber looks at your Twitter profile and realizes that your last post was 674 days ago, they’re going to assume your newsletter will be equally lacking.
Take a look at your organization’s recent social media efforts and see if this advice applies to you – Where can you improve? We will continue this series over the next few weeks, covering topics that will increase your ROI from integrating your email and social media campaigns. Next week, we will cover building a strong foundation of followers and how that can improve the quality of your list of subscribers.
Inbound Marketing Coordinator, WhatCounts