Social Confusion: Keeping Up With Social Media

by Neil Berman, president of Delivra

Publication: MediaPost Email Insider
May 19, 2010

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.
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