growthSocial networks provide a fantastic platform for sharing content and engaging with customers and prospects. But from a marketing perspective, a fan or follower is not quite as valuable as an email subscriber. Only with an email opt-in do you have clear permission to send the kind of highly targeted, relevant messages that help turn prospects into customers.

In fact, 75% of social media users said that email is the best way for brands to communicate with them, according to a MarketingSherpa survey. So one of your first goals for social media and email integration should be to convert social media fans and followers into email subscribers. Here are some suggestions for achieving that goal, divided up by social network.

How to Convert Facebook Fans

Start by adding an email opt-in form on your Facebook Page. Surprisingly, only 10% of brands currently do this, according to a Silverpop study. This means you can get a leg up on your competitors by making it easy for Facebook fans to become email subscribers. And the tactic can be incredibly powerful. For example, banking accessory company Wilton followed up its audience surveys with a campaign to convert Facebook fans who hadn’t yet opted in to the company’s email newsletter. The marketing team created a Facebook wall post that encouraged fans to join the email list, and as a result, the company saw a 225% increase in newsletter subscriptions.

Adding an email opt-in widget to your Facebook page is relatively simple. In fact, your email service provider (ESP) may provide the technology for you: Aweber, Bronto, MailChimp, and StrongMail are just a few of the ESPs currently offering an email opt-in form for customers’ Facebook pages. Consider offering a small incentive, such as a coupon or free content download, to convince Facebook fans to sign up.

Footwear retailer Crocs added an email opt-in form to its Facebook page and offered fans a 20% off “welcome” coupon for signing up. Now, nearly 12% of their new weekly email subscribers come from Facebook. You can also re-post articles, offers, and other content from your email newsletters and promos to your Facebook Page as examples of what subscribers receive when they opt in to your company’s email.

How to Convert Twitter Followers

There are several ways to mix email opt-in offers with your regular tweets. The most direct way is to tweet occasional requests for Twitter followers to join your email list (including a shortened URL that links directly to your email sign-up page). When tweeting an email opt-in offer, briefly describe the benefits of joining the email list, such as gaining access to exclusive offers, valuable content, industry news, etc.

Other list-building tweet techniques include:

  • Teasers of email newsletter content.
  • Mentions of current email-only promotions, with a reminder that followers must sign up to gain access.
  • Links to registration-required content, such as whitepapers, ebooks, or on-demand webinars.

Also, make sure your email opt-in box is on every page of your website or blog. That way, any content you tweet features a way for visitors to join your email list after clicking on a link shared via Twitter.

How to Convert LinkedIn Connections

Groups are a great way to expand your reach on LinkedIn and connect with people interested in a specific topic. 81% of LinkedIn users are members of at least one group, according to a survey by Lab42. You can create your own LinkedIn Group to promote discussions about your company or industry, or you can join existing Groups. Once you do, look for ways to share content that encourages Group members to sign up for company email. Good content for Group sharing might include educational content that requires registration or articles from recent email newsletters.

In what other ways can you leverage your social media following to grow your email list?

This article is a modified excerpt from one of our newest ebooks, "The Definitive Guide to Integrating Social Media and Email." Download your free copy here.

Image Credit: balanced.crafts


Originally published Aug 29, 2011 5:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016


Email Marketing