Why add Social Media Links to Email Signatures?
Why you need social media in email signatures
Adding a ‘Follow’ or ‘Tweet’ button below every staff email signature brings customers, leads and everyone your company knows into your social sphere. Then, embedding your Tweets, updates, statuses or posts under your signature keeps them there – reminding them why they interfaced with you initially and reinvigorating their interest for your output.
These are two obvious opportunities for enhancing social media prominence – but the idea isn't difficult, it’s the execution.
Expertise is required to make the above possible – controlling the appearance of everyone’s signature, updating it instantly, retrieving social content automatically. Whether that expertise is human, like a nominated member of staff, or automated – in the form of signature software – it is instant social media impact.
Email as a familiar, well-integrated channel already has all the interaction most companies want out of social media.
First, we’ll discuss methods for transferring that email audience onto social media in ‘Interactivity’ – gathering ‘Fans’ and ‘Followers’ through quick links in email signatures.
Then, the preservation of that activity will be explained in ‘Content’: bringing already active audiences back to a profile by adding recent updates, statuses and posts under signatures.
Turning email contacts into social connections
Friends, families and colleagues connect through social media - as a marketer, you don’t belong. They’re there to share jokes, ideas, memories, celebrations, commiserations and more: your products or services are very far from the top of that list.
The only thing worse than a cold, hard-selling ad is a false, clichéd attempt to meet them on - what you believe to be - their level. Subtly inviting readers to join you on social media can be much more comfortable than paid advertising, direct marketing or on-channel endorsement – and the results reflect it.
A simple start can be adding a Twitter ‘Follow’ or Facebook ‘Share’ link to staff email signatures – but try to limit the number of links per signature, and better yet, to allocate them appropriately to various teams.
For example, the sales team could show a link for LinkedIn ‘Recommendations’ about the product they’re discussing, while customer service could have a Facebook ‘Share’ link relating to the whole company. Though the mere presence of a link is invaluable, accompanying it with information can improve its efficancy.
This need not and perhaps should not be material or monetary. Discounts, free items or products traded for intangible endorsements like a Google ‘+1’ or Twitter ‘Tweet’ may only cause scepticism and friction. The distance between the much offered and little given can seem desperate and predatory. Instead, offer information or exclusive content.
or example, a banner promoting a pre-launch preview of a new product for all Twitter followers is not just relevant, but subtle – rather than ordering viewers to ‘Follow’, they’ve described a potential benefit and shown readers the opportunity to collect it: a link beside the promotional message.
Consider social media like any social situation, success depends on three factors.
- Be there – let all your email users know you’re on social media and they can join you, quickly and easily, in a single click.
- Be interesting – offer them some information and an incentive to do so, perhaps with a promotional banner beside the link.
- Be yourself – incentives offered should be appropriate (not suspiciously expensive or desperately disproportionate) and should reflect your sector or output.
Social media activity
People listening to you isn’t enough – you need people participating.
Talk to your ‘Fans’, ‘Followers’ or ‘Circle’ as much as you want - but if they don’t talk back, it’s worth nothing. They won’t say the things you want your potential customers to hear, they won’t do the things you want your existing customers to do - and they eventually won’t care because it will seem like you don’t. Again, creating a flow between the emails you send and the sites they like can be crucial.
By adding social media content – like comments or Tweets – to signatures, readers are regularly reminded about your social output: and, potentially, why they wanted to associate with you in the first place.
The difficulty here, unlike the ‘Interactivity’ section, is not strategic but technical: deciding what to say is simple, adding it to every signature instantly and constantly is not – unless you have dedicated software.
Content like Tweets and updates can age rapidly – seeing them even twice might be too much. It’s possible to configure signatures to automatically cycle the content: showing a different entry each time, to avoid tiresome repetition.
A related issue is segmentation. Different sets of customers may use different networks – business customers may be on LinkedIn but consumers may use Facebook. Even within the same network, some users may not be interested in statuses that others are.
Defining who uses what may seem difficult but is ultimately worthwhile. If different teams can display different updates, the more likely it is the content will resonate with their very different readers.
As different as social media and email are, a campaign that spans both will always be more effective than either one alone. Any company can rely on email to drum up interest in its social media output by transferring audiences from one to the other. Email readers already communicate, discuss and react to your company: social media is the perfect place for them.
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