Social Confusion: Keeping Up With Social Media

Just when we all were getting the hang of social sharing and what it could mean to brands and organizations, Facebook switched it up. If you haven't already heard, Facebook announced that the "Become a Fan" feature on Pages has been changed to "Like" to make things more consistent across the entire platform.

Whether you like Facebook's change or not, it brings up the issue of how email marketers can best keep up with the changing world of social media.

Social media is a natural partner for email marketing. It gives marketers the opportunity to listen to customers, instead of simply talking to them. One recent study of mothers with children at home found higher than average use of social networking sites such as Facebook. In the study nearly 94% of respondents reported seeking advice from others before making a purchase, and more than 97% shared their own advice.  Clearly, the more you listen, the better you'll be able to refine future marketing efforts.

Here are some tips on how to keep social marketing current so you can keep listening to your customers:

  • Make sure you are asking customers to follow you on various social networks. Do this by including links in your emails, on your landing pages, on your website, and in any other customer touch point.  

  • All of your email messages should contain links or icons that allow recipients to connect with your social media sites, and to post items from your emails on their pages if they feel that their online friends will find them valuable. Think of email as the opening line in your conversation with customers, and social media sites as a place where your most engaged subscribers can expand upon those conversations.

  • If your email service provider offers a social sharing widget, use this to embed links in each section of content you would like to share. When you use such widgets, you can track which content is shared, to which networks, and what impressions you are getting once that content is shared.

  • Frequently mention your social-site presence in all your marketing channels. One of the most effective ways to do this is to share information about discussions on your website, or include postings from members in email campaigns. The goal is to make others curious enough to go to the site and read more.

  • Anytime you post content to your social media page, be sure to include an opt-in link for your email marketing program.  As people share your content with their online friends, they may be intrigued enough to want to know more, and your link makes it easy for them to do that.

  • Make your social sharing terminology more generic, such as "Follow us on..." instead of "Become a fan."

  • Don't make the common mistake of using the same types of messages across all social channels. Instead, identify your objectives for each channel, and then tailor the message and approach for each.

  • Even though your specific approach and message may vary from channel to channel, don't lose sight of the importance of consistency. Your audience needs to be able to recognize you and know that all of the messages are coming from the same organization. That kind of consistency strengthens your brand and creates synergy among the many points of contact.

    Tags: email
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    4 comments about "Social Confusion: Keeping Up With Social Media".
    1. Kate Lafrance from Hartford Woman Online Magazine , May 19, 2010 at 1:09 p.m.

      Excellent article! I was not pleased with the FaceBook changes - preferring my business to have "Fans" rather than "Likes" as "Fans" is clearly a stronger word. Your tips are very inspiring and I plan to begin implementing them right away. Thanks!

    2. Kim McCarten , May 19, 2010 at 9:03 p.m.

      Voice in the wilderness: asking people to follow you (on Twitter, FB, etc)...asking for more of their time ... in exchange for what?

      I don't yet see the value of SM marketing (in terms of actual payoff, expanding market share, sales, etc). I think these tools have potential, but will have surgical, specific applications.

      Still waiting for the hype to burn off so we can see what's left that's substantive ...

    3. Deven Shah , May 19, 2010 at 9:28 p.m.

      Great points.

      I think the key to make these tips work is to create quality content and add value. Once that happens, these tools get the fuel and the fire.

    4. K Srikrishna , May 25, 2010 at 10:27 p.m.

      As marketers, all too often we get caught up on the tech and media hype about the newest and greatest thing (loved that Onion piece satirizing this here http://su.pr/1RCkAE

      Hopefully we are building long term relationships with our prospects & customers, and much like email (or tradeshows or seminars) we will go where are prospects & clients are. as @kim points out, hopefully in all these instances we are giving a GOOD reason for our readers/audience to follow us.

      Roll back a few years and think about when on-line trade shows or webinars showed up - we didn't go crazy wondering whether to do ti or not, but signed up if it made sense for our audience & our businesses. So if we cut out the hype and focus on bring value to our audience and make it easy for them by being where they are, we'd all I suspect find the right mix four ourselves. Recently blogged about this here. http://su.pr/415VwM