Dear Socially Stephanie:
I know you talk a lot about building up your list. Do you have any tips or tricks to build your list through social media?
Listless in Los Angeles
I like you already! Yes, your list is one of the most important assets that you can own. Now note that I said "own," not rent, not borrow. You own your list because those who subscribed consented to your marketing. On Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, G+ and anywhere else on the social web, you are just borrowing your fans. Most importantly, you don't have access to their most personal online space - their email inbox. Plus, one day Facebook may disappear and be replaced with a younger and sexier network...and poof! Your fans are gone.
Your list, on the other hand, won't disappear. While some people may leave and no longer need you, the majority will grow with you. And that's why you need to build it and nurture it. The better your list, the better your sales. Period.
Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal. People are more likely to buy from an email prompt than a social media post. In fact, 44% of email recipients made a purchase because of an email they received.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm a social media addict and make my living educating people about the use of social media to increase sales. I know firsthand that social media increases sales, gives you a brand identity, and builds relationships (which turn into sales). The benefits of social media for a business are enormous, but you can't rely strictly on social media to do all your talking. You need a complete marketing strategy, and that definitely includes email.
In my business, we use Infusionsoft, which for small businesses and ecommerce sites is a real blessing. If you are an Infusionsoft user or plan on being one, then GroSocial is a tool for you. It allows you to create social media contests which are integrated with Infusionsoft, so anyone who participates in your contest is now on your list. In essence, it boosts your social engagement while increasing the number of people who opt-in to your marketing. Brilliant, right?
Since we're on the topic of social media contests, sweepstakes work incredibly well too. You can host them on your social sites directly, or on your website and use your social channels to increase exposure and entries. Another great way to boost the number of entries you receive is to submit your sweepstakes to contest promotion sites like SweepsAdvantage. It works, but one thing you need to be wary of is that some of the people who enter may not be the most targeted buyers for you in the long run.
If you have a highly trafficked Facebook page, you should think about using your precious tab (app) space as a place to sign up for your newsletter. Because it receives top billing, it could be a great way to move your Facebook fans into your list for double trouble. If you can hit your fans from their inboxes and their social channels, you are in good hands. MailChimp and Constant Contact have tabs that are turn-key. But it is pretty simple to create a tab yourself.
Lastly, Twitter's Lead Cards are a direct marketer's dream come true. One click of a button and people are in your list without ever leaving Twitter. In order to take advantage of this option, you will need to spend a little advertising money, but the results could be worth every penny.
Well, there you have it: four great ways to build your list. But remember, once that list is built, you have to add value for your subscribers. Don't broadcast, but instead be a resource that keeps people engaged, interested and ready to buy.
Do you have a question for Socially Stephanie?
Please email SociallyStephanie@socialmediatoday.com and let Stephanie help you solve your social quandaries, queries, and boondoggles. (Questions may be edited for length and clarity.)
Illustration by Jesse Wells