Social networks are an excellent method for engaging current customers, vendors and collaborators; sharing relevant information; and attracting the attention of prospective clients and business partners. From a marketing perspective; however, fans or followers on social media sites are not as valuable for your business as direct subscribers via email for direct email marketing.
Social Media Fans and Followers
Marketing professionals consider email subscription more valuable than fan or follower status on a social media site because it requires a stronger level of commitment on behalf of the individual. Social media fans and followers may like your company, but that doesn’t mean they pay significant attention to your status updates on your social media pages.
Direct Email Communication Benefits
Getting people to opt-in to receive an email newsletter, promotional communications or other direct marketing information is the only means of ensuring you have appropriate permission to engage followers and fans with highly targeted advertising-oriented materials. Bombarding followers and fans with such information via social media sites can get you dropped from individual feeds or eliminated from fan lists entirely.
Converting Social Media Fans and Followers to Subscribers
Recent studies indicate that most fans and followers prefer to receive direct marketing information via email rather than through social media feeds. For this reason, one of the first steps in building a stronger marketing strategy via social media accounts should be to convert fans and followers to subscribers. Here are suggested methods for accomplishing this goal on your various social media accounts.
The first step in converting fans on Facebook to email subscribers is to include an opt-in, subscription form widget on your Facebook Page. Most businesses that have a presence on Facebook don’t currently do this, which severely limits their ability to take full advantage of the attention received via Facebook. You can also periodically encourage fans on Facebook to subscribe to your company newsletter via status updates.
Converting Twitter followers to email subscribers will take a little more effort due to the nature of the social utility platform on the Twitter site. You can, of course, occasionally tweet about the opt-in option for receiving newsletters and other communications. This method will work with some followers.
Catching the attention of other followers is best achieved by providing tweets that contain teasers of newsletter content, with subscription required to receive full access to the content. Tweets can also mention e-mail only promotions and contain links to subscription-only content on your website. You’ll also want to ensure that all your website pages contain opt-in buttons so any links you share via tweets that lead followers to your website also give them the option of quickly and easily subscribing for access to even more information.
Converting LinkedIn network connections to subscribers requires a unique strategy; however, the professional nature of the social platform on LinkedIn often makes the additional effort required on the site well worth it for any business marketing team.
Consider joining professional membership groups on the site and sharing relevant information with group members, including links to your website and opt-in links for signing up for subscription-only content. You can also start your own group on LinkedIn and utilize that group to attract connections that will lead to additional subscriptions.