As social networking has become ingrained in our lives, social sharing has become an incredibly valuable way for marketers to drive traffic, reach new customers, generate brand equity and ultimately increase sales. We recently conducted a survey of nearly 100 email marketers to shed some insights on the importance of social media, as well as the motivations and strategies currently being incorporated into marketing campaigns – the results threw up some interesting insights.

Creating magnetic content

Our research showed that messages with promotions, incentives or humorous content were those most likely to be spread through social channels. But creating content worth sharing is not easy.

Making sure people click on that “share with your friends” button is hard. eMarketer has coined the term “magnetic content” to refer to the sort of engaging messages that blur the line between content and advertising. An article published on social media blog Mashable states, “Magnetic content is content that’s good — content that gets people’s attention with a great story or outright hilarity. It’s the sort of thing people want to engage with and share.”

Our survey found that the most “sharable” content within email campaigns were promotions and discounts. Why? Because let’s face it, people are happy to tell their friends about something that will add value to their lives, like a buy-one-get-one-free offer for their local cinema.

Content likely to be shared gives something to the user that will add value. It provides inspiration, interest or excitement, and prompts them to act and engage.

BOTTOM LINE: Share something enticing that will compel your subscribers to chat and interact with their friends.

The push towards social continues

One part of the survey explored how marketers are using social media and the level of importance it has within their overall marketing strategy. Our survey showed that the push towards using social tools is not slowing down, as over half of the survey’s respondents are shouting about social media and its importance in their 2012 marketing plan. In fact, only 10% of survey respondents reported that social media does not play a significant role in their marketing.

BOTTOM LINE: As today’s marketing channels continue to integrate, more and more companies will dip their toes into the social media waters.

Turning buzz into business

Companies that have already realised the benefits of social marketing have focused on sharing messages that build brand awareness and reputation, offering support through social networks. Other companies have shied away from investing too much time in social marketing, as these efforts do not always contribute enough new names to the sales pipeline or deliver rich customer insights. As the tools for social marketing become more sophisticated, this marketing channel will become more powerful and have a bigger impact on the bottom line for a business.

BOTTOM LINE: Marketers must leverage tools that assist them with lead building and customer intelligence as they become available.

Effective community management is essential

It should come as no surprise to hear that the survey found that Facebook and Twitter are seen as the two big players in social media for business use. 35% of brands claim they have more than 5,000 fans on their Facebook page. 4.1% boast they have more than 250,000.

A recent survey from Altimeter Group found that, on average, a company has 39.2 Twitter accounts and up to 29.9 Facebook accounts. Managing this volume of accounts efficiently and effectively is an increasingly important area to consider and address. If these communities happen to be global, this changes the requirements for your Social Media Management System (SMMS), which enables you to manage multiple accounts across different social platforms. Managers should look to integrate key elements such as good listening functionality, full integrations with networks, analytics and scheduling options into their management platforms.

BOTTOM LINE: Community Managers will play an increasingly key role in developing their organisation’s relationship marketing strategies, as they will take on more responsibilities to manage communities of millions of potential customers. Ensuring the right technology is in place to distribute, manage and support these communities is paramount.

In conclusion

There is no doubt that email, mobile and social campaigns will continue to converge and integrate. To maintain a healthy community, managers need to stimulate and engage users, strive to satisfy their demands and offer proactive support.

To achieve effective social campaigns, remember the following as you prepare your next tweet, competition or update:

  • Develop relevant and magnetic content to gain message share
  • No matter the medium, employ all of the best practices of design and deliverability
  • Test, test, test! Don’t be afraid to try out some A/B split or multivariate testing. See what happens when you change the location of the share buttons that represent your call to actions

James Medd

James Medd


James Medd is Community Manager at Emailvision.