Engaging tartet customers in your content and getting viral traction is one of the tougher aspects of marketing in the social web. As social marketing continues to mature and mainstream, new tools are constantly emerging to help make this task easier.
Share-to-Social is the next generation of the ‘forward-to-a-friend’ forms found on many websites and email campaigns. This will be cool when it becomes mainstream. Why? Because share-to-social functionality enables an email recipient to share your content with their entire social network.
New Products To Test
Tons of new products are coming to market in the viral sharing space. Here are two that we are looking at that specifically address email marketing.
- Exact Target rolled out a suite called Social Forward in April
- Silverpop also introduced new share to social functionality in the last few months.
Both companies provide a way for marketers to incorporate the icon of a social network such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn in an email. Subscribers can then click the icon and share the contents of the message with their online networks.
These products do two things. First, engage prospects and customers to virally spread content to their social graph. Even better, these tools also can track your “campaign” as it travels virally through Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and other social networks. For example, Silverpop’s Share-to-Social feature tracks which social network the email recipient posted the message on, and which achieved the most pick up. So you can tell what content is getting the most play in various social networks. This provides great feedback for understanding your target customers better and targeting messages as well as content.
The net is if building our list is the “holy grail” of our marketing efforts, this becomes a very nice capability to help us maximize the value of our list and activate our customers and prospects to spread our messages. That’s email ROI…
Studies show these tools can be very effective. One study, by Silverpop (you can get the case study on the website), discovered that the average social sharing rate is 0.5% – compared with the less than 0.1% rate realized by earlier-generation forward-to-a-friend campaigns.
Other findings from the report:
- The life of a shared message is about one week.
- Email messages generate clicks on sharing links for an average of 6.8 days
- Despite inclusion of links, 35% percent of email messages studied generated no social email clicks.
- Facebook dominates among social networks.
- On average, an email will collect an additional 1% of views when shared on networks, a number Silverpop expects will grow as social sharing moves into the mainstream.
- Shared email has a powerful “multiplier effect.” Using conservative numbers, the Silverpop model estimates a posted email message has an average increase in reach of 24.3% (based on original emails delivered), but it also expects this figure to increase exponentially when sharing becomes mainstream.
- There is not any consistently in click through rates based on placement or other variables measured.
Social sharing is still relatively new and not adopted by mainstream (does your Mom or sister use it yet?). Email and instant messaging are still the most popular way to share web conten. This is going to change quickly and it is one of the places you can get ahead of the game and get and edge on your competition. We will be testing these new tools in the GenNext Social Media Lab over the next few months. You should too…
Let’s compare notes.