Email Design Tip of the Week: Integrating Twitter to Your Email Strategy

ExactTarget's Twitter page

Twitter has revolutionized micro-blogging and ways users share content in real-time. Some believe that social media is more valuable than email, but I beg to differ, as both are powerful platforms and are different mediums of communicating. A great solution is integrating Twitter into your email campaigns to reach out to both audiences.

Why Twitter? According to Mashable, there was an estimated 18 million users on the popular micro-blogging site in 2009. Even with 60% of users quitting within the first month, there are roughly 7.2 million active users; untapped and perhaps not an email subscriber of yours. That’s a lot of people to reach out to. Twitter is a way to reach out to new users to: a) communicate with them outside the reach of email b) compel them to become an email subscriber.

Integrating Twitter to your email marketing campaigns will expand your presence and is very simple to set up. Here are a few ways to integrate Twitter in your email strategy:

Twitter integration
Twitter integration is currently an iLab feature and will be available to all ExactTarget users in the future, which will automatically post your email as a tweet to your company’s Twitter account. This is a simple and effective way to broadcast your message further; with the opportunity for your followers to re-tweet and share your email message.

Add social forwarding on your emails
The ExactTarget application provides a simple way to spread your email message beyond your lists with our social forward feature. Social forward will include buttons in your email message (Twitter is included as a ShareThis feature) which easily allows your subscribers to share your message. You will reach out to users who are not your subscribers; opportunity for new relationships.

Start a #hashtag
It’s amazing what people will do if you simply ask them. If you’re trying to reach out to your audience on Twitter, consider asking them to be an extension of your broadcast by starting a hashtag. For example, if Northern Trail Outfitters wanted to start a hashtag on Twitter, they could send an email asking subscribers to tweet with the hashtag “#NTO.” This begins a searchable discussion of content tagged “NTO.”

For a great example, check out Style Campaign’s blog post on how HBO’s True Blood used Twitter in their emails. This is a great way to utilize email to leverage your Twitter campaign.

Post content on your company Twitter account
Your presence matters. Regardless of the size of your company, start a Twitter account and open dialogue with the Twitterverse. Consider posting links, re-tweeting useful content and speaking with your followers. Set up a search and see what people are saying about your company.

Link to your Twitter account on every email

Again, your presence matters. Put a link to your Twitter account on the footer of your email messages; could be a button or simple link. Let people know you are there.

I want to conclude with a few reasons to use email in your marketing campaign, that doesn’t quite work on Twitter:
  • Sometimes you just need more than 140 characters.
  • HTML email will allow you to send your message to your subscriber’s inbox.
  • Your Twitter posts can get lost in the timeline and be bumped out of the real-time stream.
When integrating Twitter into your email strategy, think about the differences between the two platforms, the people on them, then ways you can converge the two together.

For great insights on the rise of social media and its relation to email, check out our whitepaper, Expanding the reach of email with social networks.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExactTarget and @ETDesign.

Happy Tweeting!

David Hoang
ExactTarget Campaign Solutions Team

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