Email and Social Media Integration

The main benefit of social media marketing is that it can significantly extend the reach of your message as your subscribers share it with their social media connections. As the message spreads from person to person, it is possible to reach a number of people that far surpasses what is possible through traditional email marketing alone. Here are three simple, concrete tips for leveraging social media to expand your target audience.

1. Make it easy for subscribers to share your content with their social networks

There are several free social bookmarking and sharing services, such as AddThis and ShareThis, offering widgets that can be integrated with existing websites. The widgets consist of a small snippet of code that can simply be pasted into your HTML code. These social bookmarking services allow your readers to easily share your content with their social media connections through Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Delicious and a whole host of other services. If you are sending email newsletters, create an archived web version of the newsletter containing the sharing widget. For the HTML newsletter itself, don't use the javascript-powered widget. Instead, include a static sharing image with a hyperlink to the sharing service's bookmarking page. You would then use the URL to the web version of your newsletter as one of the parameters in the sharing URL.

"Email newsletters, blogs, Twitter and other social media do not necessarily compete but complement one another. Email-based communication is superior and more suitable in certain areas, while social media is more suitable in others."

2. Drive traffic to your content from your social networks

A large part of email marketing is attracting new readers and expanding your subscriber base. One way to achieve this is by using your own social media networks to drive traffic to your content. Decide which social media that you want to focus on, for example Facebook and Twitter, and create a presence for your organization on those sites. Whenever you have a newsletter or fresh content available on your website, link to it from your social media accounts. Each social media platform has its own system for members to recommend or share content with their social media connections. In any case, whenever someone shares or recommends your content, you are opening doors, reaching new people and most importantly acquiring potential new subscribers for your email marketing messages.

3. Build your social networks parallel to your email-based marketing activities

It's important to keep in mind that social media networks exist in parallel with your email-based marketing activities. The focus shouldn't just be to leverage social media to drive traffic to your existing email-based content but to also use your email-based efforts to drive traffic to your social media networks. Email newsletters, blogs, Twitter and other social media do not necessarily compete but complement one another. Email-based communication is superior and more suitable in certain areas, while social media is more suitable in others. Don't be afraid to drive traffic to your social media accounts. The easiest way to achieve this is by placing icons and links to your social media networks directly in your email newsletters. Maximizing the reach of your messages and increasing your audience requires keeping as many connections open as possible to the outside world.

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