Why Email and Social Media are Complementary Strategies


Social Media Week

If you want to succeed in the realm of digital marketing, it’s best to stop thinking about each strategy or area of development as separate; instead, try to see them as shades of the same campaign.

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Marketers like to segment their strategies, but in reality, there’s a ton of overlap between them. Search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing, for example, almost can’t exist without each other, even though both involve different tactics and have different end goals.

Still, SEO and content marketing intuitively go well together, while other strategies seem further apart. Here, we’ll take a look at email marketing and social media – two very different types of campaigns on the surface that, in fact, perform best when working in harmony.

Why Email and Social Seem So Different

Most marketers see email marketing as a way to take advantage of soft leads—these are people who signed up for more information on your site, have purchased from you in the past, or have otherwise expressed an interest in your brand. It’s also a way to update and inform your current customers—which is a quality it shares with social media.

However, social media stands apart because it’s mostly used as a way to attract new people, and spread your visibility. While it can (and should) be used as a way to reinforce relationships that already exist, it’s mostly about scouting.

In this way, email and social media can operate seamlessly in conjunction with each other—if you have the right tactics to tie them together. These are some of the best tricks to help you get the job done:

Rely on existing integrations

For starters, make use of integrations that already exist. For example, DialMyCalls has an excellent article on apps that integrate directly with MailChimp, many of which are social or relate to social media in some way. The more automated your strategies are, the better, and you’ll definitely want to tie these areas of your campaign together with as many threads as you can find.

Focus on building a list

Before you get too far with either strategy, you’ll want to work on building up a viable email list. The bigger your list and the more qualified the people on the list are, the more valuable all of your outgoing emails are going to be. The same is true of your social media following, and you’ll use similar tactics to build up both at the same time. Hubspot has a great article on tactics to accomplish this. Just one word of caution: never take a shortcut and buy a list outright. It’s far more valuable (and safer) to build one organically.

Offer platform exclusives

Though it might seem like a good idea to make the same offers on both channels (to maximize your potential reach), it’s actually better if you offer exclusive deals for each channel. For example, you could promote a discount code that’s only available to your social media followers, and then announce a free product giveaway that’s only for your email subscribers. This tactic simultaneously rewards both sections of your audience in different ways and encourages members of one group to also sign up for the other.

Cross-promote on an ongoing basis

For that same reason, it’s wise to cross-promote your two strategies whenever you can. On social media, encourage your followers to sign up for your email list. Over email, make reference to your most popular social media posts, and encourage users to follow you there. The more you do this, the stronger your mutual audiences will become.

Mutually link back to your main site

Finally, though this should go without saying, use both your strategies to promote the best content and material you have on your main site. For example, if you’ve written a long-form blog post you’re especially proud of, make sure both your email and social media audiences get a chance to read it. You’ll also want to promote it in different ways based on the medium; you may encourage more active conversations with your social media audience, but give a “sneak preview” to your email subscribers about what’s coming next.

If you want to succeed in the realm of digital marketing, it’s best to stop thinking about each strategy or area of development as separate; instead, try to see them as shades of the same campaign. The more you bring your strategies together, the more consistent your brand voice will be, the fewer cracks you’ll leave for visitors to slip through, and the greater return on your investment you’ll see overall.

Combining Data, Email, and Social for Lifetime Value

At Social Media Week New York in 2016, we heard from Dr. Jason Davis (CEO, Simon Data) and Josh Neckes (President, Simon Data) explain how email marketing, social media, and data need to work together in order to create customer “lifetime value” for organizations. You can watch their full session, “Extending Lifetime Value – The Future of Customer Engagement” by signing up for SMW Insider, and below is a short clip from their talk.

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.



Anna Johansson

Founder & CEO, Johansson Consulting

@number1annajo

Anna is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant from Olympia, WA. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, HuffingtonPost.com and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.



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