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Social Media Fans v. Email Subscribers: They Are Not the Same

Aug 26, 2013   |   3 min read

Knowledge Center  ❯   Blog

social media fan email subscriberAs discussed in the blog “5 Ideas on Growing Your Email Database Using Social Media,” social media, used in tandem with your email marketing efforts, can effectively strengthen your relationship with current and potential consumers and improve the overall effectiveness of your marketing programs.

Think about that statement a moment, and it really makes sense. Both social media and email marketing are mediums in which you talk directly to consumers who had to take some action (liking, following, subscribing, etc.) to hear what you have to say. From the marketer’s perspective, both social media and email marketing are used to nurture your relationship with consumers to get them to take action (download a piece of content, sign up for a free trial, purchase your product or service, etc.).

With so many similarities, it’s not uncommon to want to lump social media fans and email databases into the same category, delivering the same content and special offers to both audiences at the same time-but that’s a big mistake. Social media fans and email subscribers are different audiences; treat them as one, and your overall marketing efforts will likely suffer.

Commitment and Control

Aside from platforms, what’s the difference between the two groups? Jason Moore and Dave Charest say it’s commitment.

“Social media followers are like the neighbors who like to chat with you on the street, and email subscribers are like the neighbors who would invite you into their homes,” says Dave Charest on Constant Contact. “Social media transactions require a much lighter commitment. It’s easy to follow someone on Twitter or ‘Like’ a Page on Facebook. There’s a bigger commitment made by the person who hands over his or her email address and invites you into his or her inbox.”

On AWeber, Jason Moore echoes a similar sentiment: “All a Twitter follower (or Facebook fan) has to do to listen to you is click a ‘follow’ or ‘like’ button. That’s pretty non-committal; you don’t know how interested those people actually are in what you have to say.”

He continues, “Email is a much more committed relationship. People have to do more than just hit a button. They have to enter their information on your form and click to sign up.”

Another key difference between the audiences is control. “Tweets flow past the stream. Facebook has algorithms to determine who sees what,” says Charest. “With an email, you’re in control. You decide when and how often to send a message, and it goes straight to the source.”

Different, Yet Important

While social media fans and email databases are different, they are both important in their own ways. “Social media followers are important to have because they help you start conversations and attract more people to your cause,” says Charest. “Email subscribers have given you permission to contact them on their turf, which means there’s a higher level of engagement in what you’re offering.”

Used together, social media and email marketing can really boost your overall marketing results. In a recent survey, AWeber found 43 percent of its customers experienced an increase in email subscribers and 39 percent noticed an increase in friends, fans or followers by using social media and email marketing in conjunction to one another.

Get them to Subscribe

When it comes to social media fans, the takeaway for email marketers is to convince the people who are really interested in what they’re offering to subscribe to email and learn more about why they should become paying customers.

“Social media allows you to find and connect with more people,” says Charest, “but you should focus on moving the conversation to email because you’ll be getting a higher level of commitment from your email subscribers.”

Not only will this help grow your email database, it will also help you better qualify the people you’re speaking with.

Need more ideas on growing your email database? Download “20 Great Ways to Grow Your Email List” today!

Photo Credit: George Hatcher

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