Monday, December 14, 2009

How to integrate social and email marketing

With the holidays upon us, let us give in to our innate desire to get social. And by that, I mean let's talk about the right ways to integrate email and social networks.

Over the past year or so, marketing writers have often spoken of email and social networking as mutually exclusive channels -- if one, then not the other. The growth in social networking, many have said, comes at the expense of email. Some data, notably comScore web traffic data, show a rise in time spent on social networking sites and a decline in time spent on webmail sites. First of all, these numbers do not include the time spent on PC- or mobile-based email or social networking, so the true extent of any shift from one to the other remains unknown.

But more importantly, these channels work together. Before social networking, email acted as the online social sharing channel. People emailed pictures, updates, and, yes, bad jokes to one another. With the advent of social networking, people shifted a behavior from one channel to another. Email remains the de facto requirement of social networking membership. Neither channel will eliminate the other.

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