Here at WhatCounts, we’re big on guest posts (reach out to email@example.com if you’re interested). Today’s post comes courtesy of Rory, who is a Senior Content Marketing Manager for Liveclicker, a long-time email geek, web analytics admirer, blogger, and email industry advocate. It’s not difficult to get Rory talking about email—which he’ll do exhaustively. His broad digital experience helps apply a holistic approach to interactive marketing and achieving online success. You can follow Rory on Twitter at @RoryCarlyle.
We made it through 2016! Congratulations to everyone who survived those crazy 12-months of surprises, tragedies, and busyness. For Liveclicker, 2016 was a wonderful year of growth, innovation and teamwork. We are very excited to see what 2017 has in store for us.
This year, the Liveclicker team expects to see a huge rise in social media content usage within the email space. The rise of contextual email marketing technology over the last couple of years has allowed for increased inclusion of social media in consumer inboxes. Now, real-time content delivery and email personalization can happen as each recipient opens the email, making the inbox a prime location to share real-time social media updates.
Over the last year, as social media networks continue to grow Instagram, Facebook and Twitter combined commanded a base of over 300 million users. Facebook alone drew more than 160 million logins; a distant second Instagram pulled a little over 89 million logins. However, growth projections for both networks show a 10% growth rate for Instagram over Facebook’s 2.6% increase (which is still large considering they reach 50% of the North American population).
Social Media in Email
During the time when social media was supposed to kill email, email marketers were only able to link to the social network via image or text. Many brands used static images, mostly the network logo to include social media in email content. Some still do. This practice exposed the clunky nature of inbox acceptance towards progressive media and code.
Social media will never destroy email. Email serves as a backbone for too many business and ecommerce systems. But now, with the availability of contextual email content, an email can contain one or more real-time social media feeds that update in the email each time it opens. Inbox technology can now blend dynamic and real-time content together to increase both relevance and contextual personalization.
Practical Tips for Adding Social Media in Email
Before we get started, remember that adding social media content in an email does not automatically raise performance or create some lead generation golden egg. Cross-promoting email sign-ups in social accounts and social channels to email lists are a fundamental way of strengthening digital brand reach, but the true success will come from the hard work needed to create a great marketing campaign.
In our 2016 Contextual Email Marketing Report, Liveclicker found that adding real-time social media content to an email can increase the average duration of open time a little under 300%! Creating real-time informational content helped marketers reach email openers with fresh content numerous days after the send. The average duration of open times for Fortune 1000 companies using real-time social media content was almost six seconds.
Tips: Social in Email
- Don’t add social media to every email you send – It is so important to realize when to use and not use social media in an email campaign. One example is adding social media content into transactional emails. It distracts from the point of the communication, making it harder to sell products.
- Know your audience – Do some research about the people who buy your products or services. How old are they? What networks do they participate in the most, the least? All of these questions help narrow the social content shared to increase relevance and effectiveness. If only 10% of your customers are on Twitter, it may not help to add a live Twitter feed to your newsletter.
- Ride the Wave – Find the networks with the most user growth and test campaigns for increased lead generation. Use social network trends and hashtags to identify opportunities for increased content personalization.
- Customize the Look of the Feed – Adding live social content into an email is awesome, but do not sacrifice brand integrity or overall look and feel of the email template for the content. Looking professional in the inbox is just as important as being relevant.
- Provide Incentive – Sometimes people need to be told why it would be a good idea to do what you are asking. Tell them the benefits of joining the social network and give them clear instructions on how to access those benefits.
We know that email marketing is here to stay. It is important that the community of marketers embrace the inbox and look for improved ways to reach customers. Social media has changed the way we look for restaurants, products, services, plan events, and communicate with businesses and other consumers. Combining social media and email is a great way to begin testing omnichannel messaging between both channels.
As always, these types of projects require testing and analytics to get the most out of your efforts. But with proper planning, both email and social channels should benefit from one another during a campaign. Many consumers enjoy having different digital options for getting information from companies, and email is number one on their preference list. Combining these two efforts long-term improves the visibility of every promotion across-the-board.
WhatCounts and Liveclicker have been partnering up for years helping customers increase their ROI through dynamic, realtime email solutions. If you’d like to know how WhatCounts and Liveclicker can elevate your messages, feel free to contact us anytime.