You’ve heard it time and again: Email marketing and social media are not mutually exclusive. Each tool lets you engage with your audience wherever those people are. In addition, they each serve a different purpose: Email allows you to deepen your connection with customers, clients, constituents, and others, and social media allows you to broaden your reach to new audiences. Email is a one-way communication channel, and social media is a two-way dialogue. This much is not up for debate.

That’s why, for a while now, we’ve been advising you to share your emails on social media sites. But have you ever taken a step back to ask yourself why you’re doing it? Is it just because we (and others) are telling you to do so? If that’s the case, then allow me to say I think you need to find a better reason. Sharing for sharing’s sake doesn’t cut it.

Don’t get me wrong: You should share your emails on social media. But better yet, you should use the act of sharing to create a stronger link between the two channels that results in a solid communications circle that never ends.

Customers, clients, constituents, and others connect with businesses and organizations in different places for different reasons. When they sign up for your email list, they’re looking for information or perhaps special offers that they won’t find elsewhere. When they connect on social media, they’re looking to engage and interact. That means the content you provide in both places should take these differing dynamics into account and shouldn’t simply be a repetition.

For example, instead of simply posting your newsletter to Facebook with the blurb “Check out the latest issue of our newsletter,” you should include a strong social call to action in your newsletter, such as asking readers a question that they can answer on your Facebook Page. Then, in your blurb on Facebook when you share the newsletter, you can pose that question. You could also post your newsletter on Facebook or Twitter and give your fans and followers a call to action to share their feedback: What do they like or dislike, and what would they like to see more of?

This promotes a more active dialogue between you and your fans, and doesn’t just duplicate the same content that a person would see if he checks his inbox. It also puts the onus on you to create content that’s interesting and helpful, and is more than a sales pitch or coupon. Then, once you have customer comments and feedback from your Facebook fans and Twitter followers, you can use that as the basis for future email content.

The idea with social media is not to simply push information out to your fans and followers, but to engage with them. That’s why you should share your emails on social media: So you can connect with customers, clients, constituents, and others, and build stronger relationships with them.

Do you know why you share your emails on social media? Share your thoughts in the comments below.