Reading news like this, it's easy to think that social media is choking off all marketing efforts. Truth is, for email marketers, social media is one of the most useful tools available to make campaigns bloom with more targeted, relevant and successful emails.
By including a social sharing feature in email campaigns, marketers can extend the reach of those campaigns by letting members do the sharing with others who they feel will be interested in receiving emails. Like the old shampoo commercial: "They'll tell two friends, and so on, and so on." The result is a boost in brand awareness. In addition, this provides an excellent vehicle to augment email lists.
As email campaigns are being socialized, it stands to reason that all these social media sites will enhance SEO results without spending a lot of extra effort on the marketer's part.
If marketers wish to build an email program from scratch, social media is an excellent tool to begin the relationship and build the list. A homebuilder in Indianapolis ran a "12 Days" promotion during the holidays on Facebook, with prizes including free furniture for an entire home. Twitter also was used to create interest in the promotion. As news of the promotion spread and people signed up for the contest, the company was gathering names and email addresses for a future email list. While marketers are used to driving prospects to their Web site and building campaign lists this way, social media is unique because it disarms prospects by building a connection with them in advance.
Social media is also an excellent tool for research. Using LinkedIn Groups, for example, is a quick way to take the pulse of an issue without the cost or the delay of a survey. For example, posting questions such as, "how often do you want to receive retail emails" or "when do you have the most time to act on retail emails," will give a retailer great information on frequency and timing of email sends.
In addition, setting up Google Alerts or Twitter RSS feeds on certain search terms, or even on a company name, can provide important information on industry trends, helping a company to stand out and build a higher level of engagement.