For years, marketers have debated the benefits of social media versus email marketing.

However, in today’s omnichannel world, the reality is that brands must use both to engage and retain their audiences.

According to the Marketing Rule of 7, consumers need to “hear” a message at least seven times before taking the desired action. Combining email marketing with social media allows brands to target their audience more frequently, ultimately moving them through the customer journey.

How Email Complements Social Media Marketing

Brand awareness is the #1 social media marketing goal for US businesses, ahead of community engagement and building a bigger audience.

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By sharing great content, maintaining consistency, and listening to their audiences, brands can capture the attention of their share of the roughly 308 million Americans using social media.

Email marketing, on the other hand, is more successful at driving both consideration and conversions. Need proof? Check out these quick stats:

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In other words, social and email have their individual strengths. And marketers can make those strengths all the more potent by uniting the two for a more holistic marketing strategy.

9 Ways To Integrate Your Email and Social Media Strategies

Aligning your email and social strategies gives you the best chance of achieving your overarching marketing goals. Here’s how to make it happen.

1.    Set Clear Marketing Goals for Email and Social

If you build a truly integrated strategy combining email and social media marketing, you need to set a top-level marketing goal and then break it down into channel-specific objectives and KPIs.

For instance, let’s say the overarching goal of your marketing efforts is to increase annual revenue by 10% year on year. What role should each channel play in hitting that goal?

As we’ve already noted, email is one of the most effective channels for driving conversions. But to deliver the desired results, you need to significantly increase the size of your email list, which is where social media marketing comes in.

That might translate to the following KPIs:

  • Social media: Encourage followers to sign up for our email newsletter. Grow email list by 10% month on month.
  • Email: Generate more conversions from email subscribers. Increase revenue from emails by 30% year on year.

That way, you can ensure both channels pull in the same direction and contribute to your broader business goals.

2.    Create a Unified Brand Voice

The whole purpose of integrating your email marketing and social media strategies is to ensure current and future customers see your messaging in as many places as possible.

But there’s no point in doing that if you have a wildly different style and tone of voice on various channels. You want your followers and email subscribers to feel like they’re engaging with the same brand — and that won’t happen if your email is super-formal, yet your social accounts are full of memes and all-lowercase text.

Start by characterizing your desired tone of voice. Do you want to be seen as friendly? Helpful? Sassy? Well-informed? Then, curate (or come up with) examples of how you’ll reflect your tone of voice across different channels and content types.

It’s also worth taking a leaf from Uber’s book by creating a quick tone-of-voice checklist:

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That way, when a new starter joins your social media team, you can quickly get them up to speed on how your content should sound.

3.    Combine Your Social and Email Content Calendars

Hopefully, you have a documented content strategy and content calendars detailing your planned social media posts and emails.

However, many brands need more cohesion between those content calendars; they often treat them as separate entities rather than part of a unified strategy. If you’re going to integrate your email and social activities effectively, you need to close those gaps.

This doesn’t have to be a complicated exercise. It’s simply a case of taking the time to plan campaigns that span multiple marketing channels and then translating those overarching plans into channel-specific content.

Beauty brand Three Ships is excellent at this, as we’ll demonstrate by looking at a recent product launch.

Any time you launch a new product or service, you definitely want to discuss it in as many places as possible. In the case of Three Ships, it started by teasing the forthcoming launch through email and inviting recipients to a live shopping party.

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Then, they take to Instagram on launch day to broadcast the news to a broader audience:

This was a smart approach because it built loyalty among email subscribers by giving them unique access to an event while still ensuring as many people as possible knew about the launch.

4.    Upload Your Email Marketing Lists To Facebook Ads Manager To Run Retargeting Ads

When you create a Facebook ad, you can choose between identifying an audience via Facebook’s targeting tools or using “custom audiences.” Custom audiences allow you to reach customers you already know with ads on Facebook. When you upload a customer file, Facebook will identify those people (if they are on Facebook) and serve them ads.

Custom audiences can be built using data from multiple sources, including your:

  • Website data
  • Lead capture forms
  • Facebook Page and Instagram followers
  • Offline activity
  • In-app activity

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Significantly, you can create custom audiences based on your email marketing list. You can target anyone on your email list or serve an ad to subscribers who have opened a recent campaign.

For detailed instructions on setting up your custom audience, head to Facebook help.

5.    Reach Qualified Prospects By Creating a Lookalike Audience From Your Customer File

Custom audiences aren’t the only way to close the gap between your Facebook, Instagram, and email marketing activity.

Another approach is creating a lookalike audience comprising people with similar characteristics, interests, and preferences. These audiences can be based on the following:

  • People who like your Facebook Page
  • Data captured by conversion pixels
  • Any of your existing custom audiences

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This approach is a highly effective way to identify and reach new prospects because the people who make up a lookalike audience are typically more qualified than a general audience.

It’s important to note that your custom audience must have at least 100 people from a single country to use it as the source of a lookalike audience. Here are instructions on setting up a lookalike audience.

BONUS TIP: Serve prospects in your lookalike audience with a brand awareness campaign directing them to a landing page that provides high-value content in exchange for their email address. Then, create an email list of these prospects and send them a welcome campaign that repeats your message. That way, you’re effectively using your email list to capture new subscribers.

6.    Use Social Media To Grow Your Email List

Cultivating a large social media following is an important goal for many brands, but it shouldn’t be the channel you rely on to spread your messages. After all, you don’t own your social media followers – and they could be gone tomorrow.

One of the best ways to create value for your brand from social media is to convert your following into email subscribers.

Create regular social posts that remind followers to sign up for your email list. Share a preview of the type of content shared in email campaigns, or offer an incentive for new subscribers. For example, hold a sale and tell followers they need to subscribe to learn the promotion details.

Be sure to include an easy, frictionless way to sign up. For instance, point followers toward a link in your bio, then create a landing page with the promotion details and an email opt-in form.

Promote this giveaway regularly on your social channels over 4-6 weeks and really build up the buzz around this contest.

BONUS TIP: Partner with another brand or company and cross-promote the giveaway on both of your platforms, like this collaboration between beverage brand Recess and flower delivery business The Bouqs Company:


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Recess (@takearecess)

That way, you each benefit from the other brand’s followers. Just make sure the partner has a similar customer base.

Whatever your offer, remember: the primary focus of social posts offering gated content or discounts in exchange for an email is adding value. Email addresses are valuable to your business, so provide something worthwhile in return. This could include a discount for an e-commerce store (such as 10% off first purchase) or gated content for B2B brands.

BONUS TIP: Incentivize sharing. Create an additional discount or special offer for current email subscribers sharing your post or newsletter on social media. Ask subscribers to copy or tag you on their share so you can send them the extra treat.

7.    Share UGC Via Email To Serve as Social Proof and Encourage Consideration

User-generated content (UGC) has been a major marketing trend for years — and it isn’t going away soon.

It’s easy to see why. Three-quarters of consumers believe user-submitted reviews and testimonials are more credible than when brands talk about their own products, while visitors who interact with UGC in some way convert at a 102.4% higher rate than the average consumer.

Because it involves resharing content captured by customers, UGC is typically associated with social media campaigns. But it can also be an effective part of your email strategy.

In email campaigns, UGC effectively serves subscribers with relevant, helpful information about how products are used in real life. It also creates social proof, nudging engaged subscribers further along the customer journey.

Here’s an example from the fashion brand Kina and Tam, which used email marketing to share images of customers wearing its clothes alongside links to shop for the products:

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BONUS TIP: Create a branded hashtag to engage your customers, tell them how to share their content, and make it easy for you to find.

8.    Run a Campaign To Encourage Social Sharing

We’ve discussed how email subscribers are likelier to buy than audiences on other channels. But did you know they can also help spread your content and brand to new audiences?

SaaS brand Quick Sprout discovered that people signed up to receive its email are 3.9X more likely to share the company’s content through social media. If you’ve got a few thousand names on your email list, they could play a significant role in boosting the reach of your content or raising your brand awareness among their followers.

Here’s an example of how that could work in practice, courtesy of baby cruiser brand Veer Gear:

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Veer Gear gave its audience plenty of inspiration about the types of content they could share and provided a branded hashtag and social handle to include in their posts. It’s all about making life easy for would-be brand advocates.

9.    Convert Your Email Subscribers Into Social Followers

We’ve already discussed how brands can use social media to encourage more sign-ups to their email marketing list.

Now, let’s look at the opposite approach: running an email campaign to drive social media engagement. For instance, when tourism body Visit Fort Myers launched a TikTok account, it encouraged email subscribers to follow:

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Much like encouraging your social followers to become email subscribers, creating value for the subscriber in exchange for engaging with your brand on social media is essential. For example, Visit Fort Myers explained the types of content it would share on TikTok.

Presumably, people on the brand’s email list are interested in learning where to eat and what to see in Fort Myers, so there’s a good chance they’d follow the TikTok account, too.

BONUS TIP: Even if you don’t want to create a whole email campaign to promote your different social accounts, you should still link to them somewhere in your emails. Here’s how T-shirt marketplace Redbubble does it:

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Final Thoughts

Both social media and email marketing are critical components of a well-rounded, holistic marketing strategy. While each has benefits, marketers see real results when they are integrated to create a seamless customer experience. Ensure you get the most out of both channels by having your email marketing and social media work together.

We hope these tactics will help you to create more of a connection between these two channels. Have you found any other tactics successful in integrating social media and email?

Learn best practices on how your brand can take a holistic approach to social media strategy and other marketing channels at an upcoming Social Media Strategies Summit.

Featured image by Freepik.

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