How Social is Your Email?

I’ve noticed a really interesting phenomenon lately that I think needs some addressing.

For years people have sent out email with the little “tell a friend” or “forward to a friend” button and links – in fact, that may have actually been the first form of social media.

But here’s something else I’ve noticed. Email marketers aren’t further moving to amplify their efforts to spread the word by integrating social media into the email mix.

Personally, I think this is a great opportunity missed. Some marketers are claiming that social media will kill email, but I happen to believe neither is killing either. Integrating social media more fully into your email marketing efforts, and vice versa, is a way to make both broader and more far reaching.

The reason I think these two medium support each other so well is that they really serve different purposes in the marketer’s toolbox. Social media is not now, and may never be, a very good way to sell directly to a prospect, but email has a long history of very effective conversion, promotion and direct selling.

So, rather than dumping email for social media why not use your current lists and email marketing efforts to make social media a better tool for you.

Here are few ways to get started enhancing your social media presence through your email efforts while making your email efforts reach further using social media. (This post assumes that you have already established basic social media activities such as blogging, twitter, facebook and LinkedIn – even if they are not yet robust)

Email signature – this one is silly basic, but why not use the space – add your social network profiles to your every day email signature – some people may prefer connecting with you there.


Make your mail tweetable – add a tweetmeme button to your email newsletter archive and make your stories easy to share via twitter,


Subscribe and archive on Facebook – add an email newsletter archive to your Facebook fan page and don’t forget to add a newsletter sign-up form there too (I wrote about how to add a custom form to a Facebook page here)

in your email newsletters

Add links to all your social profiles


Want to hear more about this and other ways to get more from your email? Join me for the Evolution of Email, a webinar sponsored by Verizon, Wednesday September 9th at 12:30 EDT

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  • Sara J

    Great Advice – I love the specific examples. Working as the Social Media Coordinator for an email marketing company, I love reading about the combination of email marketing and social media. Ever since we have launched our twitter, facebook, and wordpress accounts, we have combined our social media efforts with email marketing.

    I use a signature linking to all three accounts in my email. Also, we have sent out newsletters announcing our presence in to social media world to gain loyal followers from our customer base. I have seen great results. People actually respond via twitter now when I ask a question.

    We have not yet integrated tweetmeme into our newsletters, definitely something worth looking in to.

    Thanks again for the thoughts!

    • ducttape

      Thanks Sara – you'll like the tweetmeme use

  • donnyg16

    Just sending out the boring old standard emails to your email list don't cut it anymore. You have to add social value to it by providing social media tools or other forms of multimedia to make it more entertaining for your readers

  • danny345

    ExactTarget provides a great integration with the various social networks, they partnered with ShareThis…you can actually specify the content you want to make available to share…great control.

  • melissa

    I see what you're saying here, though at first I thought UG! I really dislike when people have graphic email signatures – it messes up the format – makes email slower to download – it's more likely to get caught in the spam filter.

    But – all great things to use on newsletters or weekly/monthly types emails that go out to lists.

  • franpro

    I have just added my email subscribe box to my fan page. Great idea. {of course}
    Thank you!

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  • RedHotFranchises

    I use social media as my email signature too for every email, having the benefit of both direct and indirect marketing, it has been a very effective approach so far.

  • deborahrichmond

    Email certainly is not going away. I find that social media allows me to use both for communication and allows me to use my email more effectively. If a short hello message is all I need to send, Facebook works very well. But for more formal communication, I still use email.

    I did include links in my signatures to my networks and I recommend everyone do it. As you said, silly basic…but effective.

  • dorsini

    All of these are great suggestions. For everyone out there that may not know how to embed those social media icons in their Outlook signature I did a how-to blog article on that here:

    Also, one additional noteworthy point, I highly recommend not adding more than 4 hyperlinks in your email signature. We ran into some problems with the new Outlook 2007 security updates labeling these emails as SPAM, I guess it resembles phishing tactics.

  • email hosting service

    With any form of internet marketing you should be looking at the wider picture whether through email or search marketing integrating your advertising efforts will help.

  • sethplatt

    As always thanks for the great suggestion. I even created some icons for websites I want people to visit for my email signature. Here is a good template to create your own icons for your business or your individual projects.

  • dowelltaggart

    Great ideas, John. I have been putting my Facebook and Twitter links on my Gmail signatures. I have noticed that a few prospects have connected to me.

    Last week I noticed that a friend added his Google Profiles link. What do you think about this?

    • ducttape

      I think a link to the Google Profile is a fine idea as long as you build the profile as fully as possible.

  • etiennedenis

    Thanks. I have included your quote “Social media is not now, and may never be, a very good way to sell directly to a prospect, but email has a long history of very effective conversion, promotion and direct selling” in a post about email budgetting (Scoop : investissez dans les courriels at…).

  • Vickie Smith-Siculiano, PMP

    I totally agree, John – you have to make it easy for people to want to share – especially in social media, someone blinks and they're onto the next thing…and there was so much competition for eyeballs to get them there in the first place, you can't lose the opportunity to keep the conversation going any way you can. Great post!

  • teamtherisetothetop

    I love the idea of making your email tweetable or being able to add a link to it on other social networking sites, what an innovative idea. Thanks for these tips, very helpful.

  • scottdetoffol

    Making your email blast tweetable is a stellar idea and should be especially effective when there is a redeemable offer included. People love to share good deals.

  • timeshareresales

    I have just added my email subscribe box to my fan page. Great idea.
    Timeshare Resales