3 ways to use email and social media together at the holidays…and year round

There’s a buzz in the air: the holidays are here. Undoubtedly, businesses are descending upon your inbox offering 20% off, then free shipping, then another generic offer that will be indistinguishable from all the rest. How does a business or organization separate itself from the herd at such a busy time of the year? And what lessons can you learn now that can be carried into 2012?

Integrate your communications channels — particularly email and social media — to reach customers, clients, and supporters. That can make the difference between a business or organization whose messages blend into the others, and one where its customers, clients, and supporters actively look forward to receiving and interacting with them.

Here are three ways you can effectively combine the power of email and social media:

1. Support your email program with social media. The temptation always exists to increase your email frequency at the holidays. Many people will do that, doubling up emails and clogging up inboxes. Social media allows you to stay top-of-mind with customers, clients, and supporters without giving them something else to read in their inbox. The good news is you can increase your social media posting frequency without becoming a nuisance.

2. Promote your emails on social media. If you want your emails to be seen, give your subscribers a heads up on social media that they should look out for a message from you. Post a message on Facebook and/or on Twitter, or even better, tease the content that’s included in your newsletter.

3. Get your subscribers to share. Everyone likes a discount, but on social media, people like helpful or fun content they can pass along to their friends even more. When you give that to your subscribers, then your messages will go farther than your subscribers’ inboxes.

What content gets passed along? Tips for using your products or surviving the holiday season. Compelling stories about the success your organization has found. A fun video that shows off your business or organization’s silly side. Anything that doesn’t sound like a promotion and that provides benefit to your readers. Resist the temptation to sell, and your subscribers, fans and followers will share your content and keep you in mind when they (themselves) are ready to buy or donate.

Combine email and social media marketing to keep your customers, clients, and supporters’ attention and you’ll reap the rewards now and all year long.

Gina Watkins is a leading expert on e-marketing for small business – and has a real passion for helping businesses to succeed. Her ongoing series of dynamic lectures are filled with real-world examples, humor and results-driven wisdom garnered from more than two decades of sales, business development and marketing experience. In addition to owning her own business, she is an award-winning direct marketer, has been featured on WUSA Channel 9’s Mind Over Money show, Dr. Gayle Carson’s Women In Business radio show, Morgan State’s Briefcase Radio program, and in numerous other media. In her role as Constant Contact Regional Development Director, she’s presented to more than ten thousand seminar attendees about the keys to success with easy, affordable, highly effective technology tools that grow trusted business relationships.