This is a guest post by Constant Contact GM of Social Media Mark Schmulen
In today’s highly-connected world, effective marketing is no longer about broadcasting content and promotions. Talking at your customers just doesn’t fly -- that’s the old way.
Social media has changed (for the better) the way businesses connect and communicate with their customers and prospects.
Consumers want more than just content; they want to get to know the people behind the brand, they want to hear from other consumers and they want to be heard and acknowledged. That means you must engage.
The tools for engaging your audience include both social media and email. It’s not a question of which channel is better; smart marketers know that both email and social media are important components to a complete marketing mix.
Your customers want and expect choices. Some will prefer to connect with a brand on Facebook or Twitter; and others, through email.
Engagement requires permission and to get your customers and prospects’ permission, you need to connect with them on their terms. That’s actually a good thing because email and social media go hand-in-hand.
Want to really crank up your visibility and reach new customers? Leverage both channels into an integrated marketing campaign and make your emails social.
Because of the real-time nature of the newsfeed and other factors like the Facebook EdgeRank algorithm, email remains the best way to get your message heard. However, social media is certainly the best way to get your message to spread. So why not leverage the strengths of both channels?
You can expand the reach of your email campaign beyond the inbox by simply sharing a link to the campaign across your social channels. Adding the “Like” and “Tweet” buttons in the body of your email will make it easy and more likely for your subscribers to share your message with their friends.
Another common approach is to use a strong social call–to-action to draw your email readers to Twitter or your Facebook Page to continue the conversation. Try using email to ask your customers for feedback, invite them to share their stories or to simply ask you questions that you can respond to through Facebook or Twitter.
It’s no longer enough to just provide solid content, it has to be heard and made easy to share. Additionally, it’s not enough to just broadcast a message; you must listen and respond to your audience. These are the key factors to effective engagement marketing, and both email and social media are the tools to make it possible.
Mark Schmulen is responsible for guiding Constant Contact’s social media product strategy and external education efforts around social media marketing. He’s the former CEO of NutshellMail and a former investment banking analyst at JPMorgan Chase. Follow Mark on Twitter at @mschmulen.
[Image: Flickr user Marc Berry Reid]