How to make social media and email marketing work together

5 min

We’ve been saying that all your marketing channels need to work together to achieve your goals. We say that a lot. Each marketing channel is, after all, part of a tactic in your greater strategy. The trick is to leverage each channel at what it does best. So what are each channel’s strengths?

If you’re going to use any marketing channel effectively, you need to know how to use it properly. That includes knowing what works well for each medium. Social media, with some exceptions (I’m looking at you, Instagram), isn’t a great place for direct sales, bottom-of-the-funnel conversions, or the end of a customer journey, or whatever terminology you choose to use.

Luckily, social media platforms – and online marketing channels in general – aren’t islands you cannot build a bridge between.

All of them have their own strengths and the *only thing* marketers need to learn is how to use them to their advantage.

In this post, I’ll show you how to connect two of my favorite ones  – email marketing and social media.

What is social media good at?

  • Building brand recognition
  • Building brand loyalty
  • Building community
  • Driving traffic back to your website
  • Increasing conversion opportunities

The trickiest part of social media is that you don’t control who sees your messages. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – all have algorithms that restrict your posts’ organic reach. Remember, all these platforms are publicly-traded companies now and their main business is advertising. They’re happy to let you pay to get your message out. But they won’t make it easy for you to spread your words organically.

Email marketing has a big difference – you control (almost) everything. For email, the “how to use it” goes beyond understanding how to use your email provider’s platform. Just like social media posts are written in a way to generate engagement, emails (subject lines and body copy) are written to encourage opens and clicking links.

Why is that?

Because email marketing is good at:

  • Building relationships with customers
  • Delivering targeted and personalized messages
  • Converting subscribers into customers
  • Retaining customers
  • Delivering upsell opportunities

Email is a great medium for the bottom of the funnel activities and getting customers to the sales page. Remember that email is how most consumers want to receive transactional and business communications. Generally speaking, it’s where people expect to receive offers and sales messages, so make use of that wisely. But if marketers use email and social media for different purposes, how can they work together?

Treat them as complements

Social media and email complement each other. One is good where the other is weak. So use each channel to build the other. Otherwise known as cross-promotion. You can cross-promote your channels in several ways:

Use organic social posts and paid social ads to promote your lead magnets. This will increase your subscriber list as your exposure grows – if you target well and have a valuable lead magnet.

Use apps like a Facebook web form integration to allow people to sign up for your list straight from social media. We do this ourselves at GetResponse – we offer our list-building course as a lead magnet.

getresponse facebook webform integration

Leverage user generated content across all your channels to build community. This can be reviews, posts from visitors to your social profiles, or even Instagram images. Always ask before using!

Look at how Paravel leveraged user generated Instagram content in one of their emails:

paravel user generated content email
Image courtesy of Really Good Emails

Include your social profiles in your email template

This is a little trick you can use via social icons. Check out this email we sent to on Black Friday and find the social icons at the bottom right corner of the email. That’s how you can use the template – subtle, necessary, and effective.

beam promo email black friday

Use both channels to get your subscribers to become your social fans – and vice versa. The goal is to get them join your list or follow you on social networks – whichever they have not done yet. Offering discounts specific to each channel, if they perform the requested subscription or follow (respectively) is one way to do that. Check out what Good American did to encourage their email subscribers to become their social fans wherever they were:

good american social media email marketing
Image courtesy of Really Good Emails

Use social ads targeting your email subscribers to direct them to specific product pages. This is a common thing you’ll see in your newsfeed. Here are some examples based on tracking cookies from website visits:

amazon kindle social ads targeting
zappos social ads targeting

Think of the Rule of Seven in marketing. It’s easy for both email and social media to be at least two of those contacts before a customer purchases from you. Which is the ultimate goal, after all.

Use your community, like a Facebook group, to build your email list

There are several ways you can do this. One is requiring those who wish to join the group to provide their email address via group onboarding questions.

member request settings

Another is that you could also use a lead magnet as the cover image, with a link to the lead magnet in the image description.

Share your content between channels

This should seem obvious within the context of a larger marketing campaign. Use the same content, adapted for each medium, across all your distribution channels. That keeps the messaging consistent and recognizable. But it’s not necessary to take this course of action just for campaigns. Use your content wisely across email and social media. If there’s a great video that will help your audience, use both social and email to bring it to your customer’s attention.

Drive traffic to wherever you think is most important for your goals. Create teasers from long-form content to drive fans/subscribers to your destination/lead page. Use more than one channel. Social algorithms mean you never know when a fan will see a post. So, what if they happen to see it on more than one social network? That’s an extra “Rule of Seven” contact.

One is not better than the other

Remember that email marketing and social media are both necessary for a well-rounded digital marketing strategy. One is not inherently better than the other. Each channel has its own strengths and weaknesses. Each has its own place in the marketing ecosystem.

How do you do it?

Have you been successful in integrating both social media and email marketing in your business? What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? Share your successes in the comments below.

Krista Liebmann
Krista Liebmann
Krista Liebmann is a freelance digital marketing manager. A blogger, writer, and Instagram addict, she loves all things social media and digital marketing. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @kristaliebmann