Making the most of social sharing

Social sharing is an exciting feature that widens the email marketing landscape, and like all new tools, should be approached purposefully. Here are five tips for making the most of social sharing:

1. Announce that social sharing has arrived.
Your audience members may know a thing or two about social sharing, or they may be completely new to it. Consider composing an email that announces you've enabled the feature in your campaigns, and let them know that they can click to share your campaign as long as they have Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn accounts.

2. Create content that is relevant for current and potential subscribers.
Remember that you can choose when to enable social sharing. You probably won't want to enable it when you're sending an invitation to an exclusive event or a survey to customers that purchased a product in the last six weeks.

What kind of content is good for sharing? Think about:

  • The announcement of a store-wide sale
  • A call-to-action, such as donating to a charity or organization
  • A press release or quarterly report
  • Tips or tricks of the trade

3. Display content in a Web-friendly way.
A campaign meant to be shared should look different from a campaign intended for an email inbox only. For example, though some of your stakeholders may read a five-paragraph email because they are interested in the intricacies of a new policy, the larger community is likely to be interested in the summary. Consider enabling social sharing in a summary campaign to your entire audience, while not enabling it in the campaign to your stakeholders.

The same can be said for the layout of the page. Just as you want to catch a recipient's eye in the preview pane of an email, you want to maximize the "retail space" at the top of the campaign that's being shared with your subscribers' networks. You have just a few seconds to catch their interest and convince them to care about you - and your message.

4. Utilize audience segmentation.
As you become familiar with social sharing, use the response metrics to your advantage. Are certain recipients more likely to share to LinkedIn? Do others share to Twitter most often? Does the type of content in the campaign affect where it's shared? Use the data to segment and target your audience even further.

5. Reward social sharing.
Let your audience members know that you recognize and appreciate when they've shared your campaigns with their social networks. Think about rewarding those who share with a thank you note, follow-up coupon or white paper.