Social Media Runs on Email

With the growth of social media, email’s become a dirty word. Yet the reality is that despite forecasts of email’s demise and social media’s ability to provide alternate communications channels, not only is email alive and kicking, it’s the engine that drives communication and engagement on social media platforms. The reason is obvious. Email provides a tried and true way of communicating with prospects, customers and fans. As a time-filler activity, email rules; mobile Internet users spend 38.5% of their time on email compared with 10.7% on social networks.

6 Functions email fulfills for social media

As a marketer, there are lessons in these social media uses of email that can be applied to your marketing plans. Here are six critical functions that email fulfills for social media.

  1. Email supplies administrative horsepower. Email is integrated into the administration of the social media ecosystem in a variety of ways including user ID options, confirmation vehicle and lost password mechanism. Does this make sense for your firm or website?
  2. Email is the ringtone of social interaction. Many social media platforms use email to alert members that they’ve received a communication on their network. For example, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all let you know that someone wants to be a member of your social graph or that you’ve received a direct communication. Despite the fact that social media usage accounts for one out of every 4.5 minutes online, these sites want to ensure that the maximum number of users return and respond to their peers. Email drives engagement on social media. HARO started as a Facebook fan group and leveraged Facebook’s email to distribute its messages three times a day. As a marketer, can you create enticing alerts that your audience wants to receive?
  3. Email provides the glue of network activity. While many social media networks have their own communications channels to give users an alternative to their cluttered email boxes, others leverage existing third party email. For example, Meetups, a social media network that enables social interaction to translate to real-life, face-to-face events, uses email to keep group members informed while nudging them to show up at events with continual reminders. Can you use email to drive your audience to act? If it doesn’t work for your business, how can you use email to extend your customer interactions effectively?
  4. Email acts as the deliveryman for group coupons. Email is the lifeblood of Groupon, Living Social and other group buying options. While these businesses have websites, it’s their daily emailings that drive sales. Can you leverage email to enhance your reach and drive interactions?
  5. Email keeps track of activity and hands out record. Email is the conduit for distributing the details of social media interactions for participants who don’t have time to stay involved in real time or directly. For example, LinkedIn groups send out regular emailings highlighting new activity to drive recipients back to their site to interact. Do you have a reason to reach out and connect with your audience? If not, can you create one?
  6. Email equips marketers for future business. For many bloggers, building an email housefile is an important goal of their blogging plan. The housefile is an indicator of a business’ potential and health. It enables the blogger to promote their business or other offering to blog fans. What can you do to get your prospects to register for your email list?

While social media is a maturing channel that’s a critical component of your overall marketing mix, understand that these networks leverage email in a variety of ways to ensure participants stay informed and connected. As a marketer, how you can leverage social media’s use of email to support your marketing? How can you apply these email uses to your business? Please share your ideas in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Photo credit: Brokinhrt2 via Flickr

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