Facebook vs. Email: Friends or Foe?

February 13, 2012Sparxoo

Show of hands…who has heard the myth/tale/fiction that Facebook is going to kill email?

If you have, I am sorry to say, you have been lied to.

For starters, you need an email to even log on to Facebook. Fundamentally, Facebook and email go hand-in-hand. These two seemingly similar platforms can really make a great team if executed properly. And both are needed in your social media arsenal. According to Exact Target 2011, 58% of adults in the U.S. check email first thing in the morning. There is nothing that is going to kill email anytime soon.

Another myth is that you must have a Facebook page to get more customers on Facebook. Even 44% of corporate social marketers look at Facebook as a way to get new customers, according to Wildfire 2012. In reality, this is completely inaccurate. We like what we like. You like companies on Facebook that you already have an established relationship or experience with. 84% of fans of company Facebook pages are current or former customers, according to DDB 2011.

In short, Facebook is a ratification of a relationship, not a creation. Facebook helps your customers remember you, and email does the exact same thing.

How are email and Facebook similar?

  • An email subscribe/unsubscribe = a Facebook like/unlike/hide
  • The percentage of email opens = Facebook reach numbers
  • The number of Email click throughs = Facebook engaged users
  • The number of email forwards = the number of Facebook shares

Tips to leverage email and Facebook’s strengths:
1. Use Facebook to source email content. Ask people their opinion, what they want to hear from your company, what they’re interested in.
2. Use Facebook fan posts as email content. Don’t tell your customers how great you are. Let other customers share their opinions.
3. Use Facebook to provide your fans with exclusivity. Give your Facebook fans a 24-hour heads-up on special email deals. This will not only make them feel special, but also grab the low-hanging fruit by obtaining any email addresses of Facebook fans you do not already have listed.

Another great tip, is to always be testing. Each time you update a Facebook post or send an email, analyze the number of opens/likes/shares. See when the most effective time for posting/sending emails is. You want to optimize your marketing.

Currently, only 18% of corporate email marketers include social icons in their emails. Your emails, website and social media platforms should always drive traffic among themselves.

And always remember that with Facebook, the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. What this means in relation to your company is that if you are not updating your Facebook page with interesting content, your post will fall to the bottom. The easiest thing about Facebook fans is that these are people that already like you and want to interact with you. Don’t lose the opportunity to speak to them.