Part 3 of 3: Integrating Email and Social Media: It's All in the Mix

As my colleagues Margaret Farmakis and Stephanie Colleton have pointed out over the past couple of weeks, there are several benefits to strategically integrating your email and social media initiatives in both channels. However, this integration is not without risks. When done well, true channel integration encompasses much more than including a “follow us” or “like us” link within an email. Just like the theme of the Twix candy bar states, “It’s All in the Mix” when it comes to integrating email and social media.

So, what can marketers do to create the right mix? How can the email and social media channels be successfully combined, like caramel and chocolate, to satisfy your audience (and your management team)? To provide some inspiration, we’ve rounded up a few examples of how some marketers are effectively mixing their email and social media strategies to increase engagement.

Use Social to Drive Email Sign-Ups
Because email is the more established channel, it is often used to grow a brand’s fan or follower base. However, according to ExactTarget’s “Subscribers, Fans, and Followers” study, 50% of consumers make purchases as a direct result of email—more than any other channel. Given this impressive statistic, it is important to use your social media properties to drive email subscriptions. The email sign up form on Valpak’s Daily Deals’ Facebook page (below) is an example of a simple way to collect email addresses right on Facebook. By providing this capability as part of the Facebook page, instead of redirecting to the home page, Valpak is creating a cohesive experience and lowering the hurdle for acquisition.

Use Email to Support a Social Cause
Combining social and email can also mean supporting the greater social good. Daily Candy promotes their “Girlfriends for Folate” (GFF) Facebook campaign through email to increase reach and encourage some friendly competition between the regions where their subscribers reside. They also provide an incentive for participating: Bayer will donate $1 to the March of Dimes for every new GFF participant. What’s more social than banding together with friends (and supporting a good cause while you are at it)? Figure out what moves your subscribers to take an action and leverage your social media and email programs to support the cause.

Enhance Refer a Friend Programs
Groupon’s referral program offers members customized encoded links so they can share email and online offers via any channel (IM, Twitter, Facebook, email, etc.) to anyone via any method. Providing your audience with a choice for how to share can not only result in more conversions, it also strengthens the relationship your brand has with its subscribers, fans, and followers.

Use Content from Social Media in Email
Discussions, comments, chatter and other content from social media sites can be included in email messages to demonstrate the value of participating with a brand via social media. In the example below, Force Factor integrates comments from their Facebook page right into their email newsletter with calls to action to become a fan or like the brand. By including this content, Force Factor is communicating the value of being part of their Facebook community, and potential fans can get a taste of the experience before joining.

Make Email Interactive
With advances in video, forms, and animated graphics, email is becoming one of the most socially interactive digital media channels. In the Williams-Sonoma example below, a link to a how-to video supports the email creative and encourages subscriber interaction. Marketers can include animated GIFs or videos that play directly in an email to make the email channel more interactive. In addition, marketers can provide the ability for subscribers to share videos (which are inherently viral) by using share-to-social links to increase reach.

A truly social email is about finding creative ways to engage subscribers and encouraging them to have a dialog with the brand, not just “like” it on Facebook. In the Betty Crocker example below, subscribers can see the answer to a featured question from an email subscriber, vote in the “Betty Bracket” for their preferred March Madness food, and view quotes and recipe ratings from other subscribers. The newsletter also allows subscribers to vote on the usefulness of the email or provide feedback on the new design.

Are you interested in learning how to create the right mix when it comes to integrating your email and social media programs? Return Path’s Professional Services team can help. Call 866-362-4577, visit us at or email [email protected] to get started today.

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