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Are There Social Media Alternatives to Email Marketing?

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This blog originally appeared on Whittington Consulting’s Online Results blog.

Back in 2007, we wrote the blog post “Emerging alternatives to e-mail marketing,” highlighting some different techniques marketers were using to reach their audience.

The blog post covers reaching your audience through text messaging, instant messaging, and Facebook. We also covered an early mobile marketing campaign that one company created using texting and Myspace.

Obviously, 2007 is long gone and there’s no business audience on Myspace for anyone to even try to reach. Online trends change quickly and it’s important to stay on top of what is emerging today.

Many social media sites deal with fleeting popularity, but sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter have shown some lasting power. Here’s a few ideas for email marketing alternatives on social media that we’ve come up with:

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to share information with other industry professionals. Sharing posts or even publishing your own content on LinkedIn’s news feed gives you visibility outside of a set group in an email list.  You can post articles from your blog with a teaser and encourage interested readers to visit your site to read the entire post. It’s also a great place to share articles, content, and other information created by others.

LinkedIn Pulse

LinkedIn also has a publishing platform for posting articles called LinkedIn Pulse. LinkedIn Pulse allows you to craft blog like posts and articles directly on LinkedIn. When you post a new article, it’s available to everyone that uses LinkedIn, not just your connections.

If you’d like to try LinkedIn Pulse to publish new updates, go to your LinkedIn profile and find the “Publish a post” button. See the image below for an example:

Other Social Sites

Social sites like Facebook and Twitter have highly beneficial offerings, but nothing quite like the unique power of email. You have the ability to share blog posts and website articles with your followers and have public conversations directly on the comments of post. You also have the ability to directly message users of the site, but many users prefer not to receive promotional messages in their private message inbox.

The major perk of sharing updates on sites like Facebook and Twitter is the audience. Combined, the sites have 1.59 billion monthly active uses – way more than your email list. The trick to social media is getting these users to follow or like your company’s page. If you get users to follow your page, they are more likely to see your posts and potentially read your articles.

You can also “hashtag” your Twitter posts with popular hashtags to reach a greater audience within an industry or even at a trade show.

Social Media Still Doesn’t Top Email

Social media is definitely something you should add to your marketing campaign, but should not be used as a replacement for email. Because email marketing still works and has tremendous value in your marketing arsenal, you should instead look to expand your reach by supplementing with social media.

Email continues to be a powerful and effective tool for reaching your qualified contacts. Just like in 2007, when we wrote that original blog post, email is still a great tool for communicating with your contacts and leads. It’s important to stay on top of online trends like social media, but it’s not yet time to kick email out of your marketing plan.

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