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Calls to Action Are Key for Social Media Success

Email and social media play major roles in the engagement marketing effort

EricGroves, Senior Vice President, Global Market Development

by Eric Groves,  Constant Contact Senior Vice President, Global Market Development

2010 was the year that email went viral thanks to new integrations with social media, which enable recipients to more easily and quickly share interesting content with their circle of family, friends, and colleagues across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and countless other social networks. As 2011 unfolds in front of us, email and social media will be fully integrated into a larger engagement marketing strategy that fuels customer acquisition, growth, and, ultimately, sales through great content and social interaction with customers and members.

Engagement marketing is about more than just linking to your Facebook Page or Twitter feed from your newsletter and website -- it's about getting your customers and members to connect and interact with you through social media. Yes, you want them to Like your Page and follow you on Twitter, but you also need to inspire them to have conversations with you and fellow customers on Twitter, share their stories and opinions on your Facebook Page, and share your content with their own social circle.

The latter part is the key piece of engagement marketing, because who knows your next best customer better than your current customers and members? If your current customers and members enjoy your products, services, or what you do for the community, then they're more likely to tell their friends, family, and colleagues with similar interests about your business or organization. Word-of-mouth is still a key marketing tactic; social helps spread the word -- good and bad -- more quickly.

Email lights the fire, social media fans it
We know your email list is comprised of customers and members who want to hear from your organization and have given you permission to market to them. It's your job to provide engaging content that keeps recipients opening your messages, clicking on the links contained within, and hopefully sharing your content with others. This year, add a few new ingredients to that already successful recipe to get people to engage beyond just reading and clicking.

How do you get readers to engage? You use your email content to start a dialog and then ask people to comment and share their experiences on Facebook and Twitter, where you can continue and grow the conversation. In other words, you light the fire in your email and fan the flames to full intensity with social media.

Here are a couple of real-life examples of how to get that fire lit in your newsletter and get it burning on social media:

  • TeamBuy, a Canadian version of Groupon, is all about using social media calls to action in its emails to members. Those who sign up for the company's email list get first crack at the deal of the day and are encouraged to share it socially with friends and family. Those who find out about a deal from a friend via social media are then encouraged to sign up for TeamBuy's list so they, too, can get an early look at the next offerings.
  • The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, N.H. (see this month's feature on them), built an entire exhibit -- "The Secret Life of Art" -- based on questions it regularly gets from visitors and members. It promoted the exhibit through its email newsletter, blog, and social media. During the exhibition opening, it had members tweet about their experience using the hashtag #curriersla. This created more social buzz about the exhibit and drew in more customers. And it's an ongoing effort at the Currier to continually ask for and listen to visitor feedback via Facebook and Twitter.

Don't sit back and watch the conversations happening in and around your social media sites. Join in and add your thoughts as well.

Close the acquisition loop
The beauty of social media is that a lot of the conversation and activity happens out in the open. So, as customers and members interact with you on Facebook and Twitter, their friends and followers will see the activity and hopefully will be persuaded to act. How often have you seen a mention pop up of a friend "Liking" a business or organization on Facebook and you immediately followed suit because you too enjoy that same group or trust your friend's judgment? Have you ever joined in a conversation that bubbled up in your Twitter stream simply because it interested you?

As new people (e.g., prospective customers and members) join the conversation, start following your handle on Twitter, Like your Facebook Page, or even become the Mayor of your location on Foursquare, it's vitally important to remember to drive the new folks back to your email list. Do this by promoting your email options from time to time, tease upcoming newsletters, and generally make people aware of the content and information that you offer to subscribers. The more people who join your list means more people who can engage in future conversations, continuing the acquisition cycle.
Having an email list, Facebook Page, and a Twitter handle is what 2010 was all about. 2011 will be about engaging your customers, members, and prospects through all available channels by offering great products, services, content, and discussions.

What do you think about this article? Engage with me by Twitter (I'm @e_groves) or by posting a message on Constant Contact's Facebook Page.

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