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June 5, 2009

E-mail: The forgotten piece of the social media puzzle?

In this post: Jaimy reviews the key takeaways from a Webinar on connecting e-mail to social media efforts …

Jaimy SzymanskiI sat in on an ExactTarget Marketing Webinar earlier this week, and, although WebEx kept freezing my computer, and I had to keep trying to get the audio to work (quite obnoxious), I thought there were a few good takeaways to share.

The webinar was titled ‘Social Forward: E-mail Meets Social Networking,’ and provided some key insight into how to connect the two tactics to produce the best results. Overall, I thought it was an interesting topic, as e-mail can often be forgotten as an integral part of a social media and digital campaign when all the newer, shinier programs/apps take center stage.

Here are a few of my favorite points:

Make it as easy as possible for consumers to share information with friends.

If your e-mail is relevant enough, it will be shared. Make the message flexible enough that people can add to it, make it their own and express their own creativity.

Make it as easy to share in as many ways as possible. Consider creating a badge to add to blogs or social networks. E-mail forwarding is also a social behavior, so make sure that opportunity is front-and-center in your e-mail’s content. If you include any videos, make sure the embed code is easy findable.

Allow people to take specific bits of content out of your e-mail to share with others via social platforms. The application ‘SocialForward’ was mentioned (as it’s a product of ExactTarget). I haven’t checked it out yet, but may be worthwhile as it’s a sister product of popular ShareThis.

Social media users like user-generated content.

User-generated content includes ratings and reviews by other customers as well as blog posts or the like. Try to integrate this content into e-mail to drive traffic to social media venues.

Interestingly enough, studies have shown that social media users actually trust user-generated content from strangers more so than those they know personally.

Connect your e-mail directly to a social platform.

Related to the first point, your content in any marketing e-mail should like directly in one or more places to expanded content on one or more social platforms (i.e. blog post, whitepapers, Facebook profile, etc.). Pull in information from these social platforms as well, to entice people to check your organization out in other areas on the Web.

Finally, consider crowd sourcing your e-mail content.

Ask confirmed e-mail subscribers (or, another subset that you’ve determined who would be likely to respond) what kind of content they’d be most interested in reading in an e-mail. Try posting it on social networks, your blog or Website in a poll or open format to get the best results.

I’d love to hear what you all think – In what ways have you used e-mail to drive social media efforts? Do you think it’s still a necessary piece to the digital marketing puzzle, now that social media has gained so much steam in many target markets?