2009 was definitely the year of Social Media. Businesses in all industries aggressively implemented social media plans and began testing out this new relationship-building tool. However, for most, fan and follower growth stalled. It seems that it was easier to start a Twitter account than to fill it with a loyal (non-spam) following.
Surprisingly, we’ve discovered that the best tool for building thriving social media communities is probably the dullest, least sexy tool imaginable…email.
Guess what, email is still alive and well and it’s a “killer app” for jumpstarting social media communities. Let’s see why –
Social Media and Email – The Greatest Partnership Since PB&J
At its core, Social Media is a relationship-building tool. Up to this point, you’ve probably been using email for this task.
Your current prospects list is the best place to find enthusiastic fans because they already have a relationship with you. An invitation to engage with your business on Facebook and Twitter feels natural and is a logical extension of their current experience.
Quick Tips for Getting Started
Use the Cute Icons
Immediately add the appropriate social media icons to the bottom of your email messages. Also add a quick line of text promoting the benefit of connecting with you via social media. If your design template permits, consider moving your social media icons to the top of your email rather than burying them in the footer.
Our experience has shown that prominent placement of these icons communicates your willingness to engage in a conversation and dials-down the corporate feel of your emails.
Give Your Social Media a Shout Out
As you write your email messages, add social media to the conversation. Prompt readers to engage with additional content on your blog or Facebook.
If you have ongoing event schedule, encourage readers to follow you on Twitter to stay updated
Get Your Community Signed Up
Add an opt-in box to your blog to add subscribers to your in-house email list. The real value of social media is in its ability to attract targeted visitors and transition them into your marketing database for follow-up. Consider offering a premium such as a Special Report to entice visitors to provide their email address.
What to do next
Social Media and email integration is a mindset as well as an ongoing marketing process. Recognize that you are building a multi-touch communications channel where each tool plays an important role.
You’ll find that tightly integrating your email and social media platforms will lead to a growing and vibrant community of buyers (and fans).