3 ways social media can build your email list

There’s something of a “Circle of Life” dynamic between email and social, whereby they both feed into and off one another. Last week we examined how email marketing...

There’s something of a “Circle of Life” dynamic between email and social, whereby they both feed into and off one another. Last week we examined how email marketing can be used to boost your social media efforts, but this week it’s time to turn the tables and approach it from the other side – how can social media be used to build an email marketing database?

Note the Lion King reference

Why does it matter?

Social media offers a unique opportunity to reach and build relationships with existing and potential customers, but when it comes to direct sales email marketing is an essential part of the mix.

That’s why so many organisations are using social media to collect email addresses and move prospects further along the sales funnel.

But in order to collect email addresses directly from social media, it’s really important to make it crystal clear exactly what the benefits are for the consumer. They’ve already connected with you on social, so why should they worry about giving you access to their inbox as well? It might be as simple as getting the latest deals a few days early or receiving a discount code.

Here are 3 ways you can go about it:


  1. Twitter’s lead generation cards

Social networks well understand the importance of lead generation, which is why Twitter introduced Lead Generation Cards last year.

Lead Generation Cards offer a means for Twitter users to share their name and email address with brands and organisations at the click of a button, without ever leaving Twitter. It makes the whole process hassle free for both parties, with no laborious forms to fill out. The cards contain an image and a short description in which to outline your offer and they can be attached to any normal tweet (see the example below).

Twitter lead generation cards

Give your followers a compelling reason to click and target the right users with an advertising campaign and you can build up your email list quite cost effectively (click here to see our ‘5 tips for maximising returns from Twitter advertising’).


  1. Facebook tabs and competitions

Similarly, Facebook lets third-party apps collect contact details from users – you just have to give your fans a compelling reason to do so.

It could be as simple as setting up a ‘register for our email newsletter’ tab, but these tabs no longer feature prominently under the cover photo and are instead tucked away on the left column. People aren’t going to stumble across them, so if you’re going to get results you need to think carefully about how to promote them.

One option is to promote your tab to your existing contacts and then to use the viral features of social media to encourage them to encourage others to take part. For example, if it’s a sweepstake competition you could offer additional entries if they tweet about the competition or share it with their Facebook friends.  For a really innovative example of this in action, take a look at this Facebook marketing case study from AirAsia.

The other option is advertising, which is another cost-effective way of reaching a highly targeted audience. Click here to see what Facebook’s ad management tool, Power Editor, has to offer.


  1. High value content

The third option is to offer high-value, gated content on your website and promote this via social channels. For example, webinars, white papers and eBooks are very popular for B2B marketing and we’ve had a lot of success with this in the past.

If what you’re offering is valuable content (whether that’s entertaining, interesting or useful) your fans and followers will often be happy to receive it in exchange for their email address.

For example, we’re currently offering an in-depth white paper on this very topic – ‘Integrating Social Media and Email Marketing’. It features insights from some of the UK’s leading digital marketing experts and is available to download for free.

Social media and email are two of the most popular tools for the modern marketer and on their own they can each deliver business results, but the really smart marketers are looking at how they can compliment each other as part of integrated campaigns. Encouraging your social media contacts to connect with you via email is just one part of the puzzle.

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