Changing search algorithms and the hypercompetitive beast of the attention economy are also a couple of reasons why you need to keep building your email list. And that’s not even mentioning the fact that your audience could take a social media hiatus at any time.
All these are unlikely to happen with email.
So, how do you go about building an email list using social media?
Just like how you have opt-in forms in your emails, website, and landing pages, you can also use them on your social channels.
And because those who opt-in are giving you consent to reach out to them, they become that much closer to becoming qualified leads, thus giving you a better chance at conversion.
If you’ve yet to optimize your website opt-in forms, Shopify has an excellent guide on how to strategically place them and build your email list.
How to build email lists using social media?
Below, we give you some of the ways you can build your email list on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Give away free content
Source: Kim Garst
As you can see in this example, you can put your free offer right on your Facebook page. Using an app like Leadpages, you can embed an offer, along with a convenient opt-in form that allows users to stay on Facebook while opting in.
If they’re interested enough to visit your Facebook page, they’re interested in what there is to do. This makes those free e-books, white papers, or webinars that much more enticing if all they to do is give you their email.
Promote your content
This may seem redundant, given that you’re on the platform to share content. But why not do it while also capturing emails?
One way to do this is by making your content gated. This means that when they click on a link, they’ll be prompted to put in their emails in exchange for the free content (refer to image above).
As noted by OptinMonster, it may present users with a low-barrier entry, but it’s a low-risk strategy to build your email list.
Use a Facebook CTA button
Facebook has made it even easier to help you build your list by providing you with a CTA button on the right-hand side below your cover photo.
If you don’t have a button set up yet, you need to click on “Add a button” and it gives you a slew of options, select “Get in touch with us,” and then “sign up.” You’ll be asked to put in a link to your opt-in form, and you’re all set.
Promote a lead magnet in your Facebook Live broadcast
Live videos have been proven to be one of the more engaging content formats on social media. Its raw, ephemeral nature tugs on people’s FOMO and provides real-time interaction.
Whether it’s a behind-the-scenes look at an event, a tutorial, or simply catching up with fans, you can leverage the attention by providing them (or directing them to) a link where they can opt-in. You can entice them to do so with special offers, or free premium content.
Create a lead-generating Facebook Ad
Another way to get email addresses in exchange for free stuff is thru Facebook Ads. While it will require you to spend, it gives you the benefit of targeting your demographic with even more targeted messaging.
When you go to Facebook’s Ads Manager, you can add countries, interests, age, and gender, among others. It’s best to limit your audience to a single interest to make studying the results simpler.
Make sure that you optimize your ad to give yourself the best chance for users to actually click.
Use multimedia tweets
Studies show that tweets with photos or videos get three to four times more engagement. So if you plan on catching people’s attention to eventually ask them to opt-in, you’d be wise to do so with a multimedia tweet.
Be it a nice photo that complements your tweet or a video that catches users’ attention, make the most out of your tweet by going multimedia.
Use pinned tweets to drive traffic to your landing page
A pinned tweet is one that you choose to stay on top of your Twitter page. It gives you an opportunity to display your offer without needing to retweet it constantly (an excellent way to annoy your followers).
Similar to the point discussed above, you can offer free content in exchange for emails. Make sure, however, that you craft it in a fun way (as opposed to a straight sales pitch) to make it appear interesting to your followers.
Create high-quality content
In an ocean of content, quality reigns supreme over quantity. But that doesn’t always mean curated photos or videos.
Apart from how-to’s and other valuable content, sharing things like cute pets, funny memes, and good reads is a great way to build trust with your audience. If you can slip in a link to an opt-in page, that works too.
Leverage hashtags and trends
Sending out tweets using trending hashtags and topics is an excellent way to reach out to users that aren’t following you. You don’t need to be an expert in everything that’s trending to make this work. In fact, simply tweeting out jokes (non-offensive, of course) is a good way to get into the conversation.
If you do it right and they visit your profile, that pinned tweet might just do its magic.
Link everything to an opt-in page
You’ll need to be creative to do this without annoying your audience. But if you can, it would be wise to squeeze in a link to an opt-in page in most of the tweets (if not every) you send out.
If you’re just starting out, you can use Twitter Analytics to find out which are your best performing tweets and experiment adding opt-in links to those.
Choose your freebies
Before you start building your email list thru social channels, you need two basic things set up: choosing your opt-in freebie and setting up an opt-in landing page.
When it comes to the former, make sure it provides enough value for your audience to want to exchange their emails for it. And for the latter, make sure that your CTA is clear and eye-catching (nothing too long or complicated).
Create a pinnable image for your opt-in
Those who are fairly new to this platform could easily miss this. Why would you create pinnable images for your posts, but not do the same for your opt-in? There are a number of tools like Canva that make it easy to create beautiful graphics.
An ideal pin for your opt-in must have these key elements: proper size (735px x 1103px), clear title, and gorgeous imagery.
Apart from adjusting the sizes (depending on how much space you want the image to take up), you can also create multiple pins with varying styles to increase your chances of repins and opt-in click-throughs. Stay creative and experiment until you come up with one that works best.
Hide your pinnable image within your landing page
Of course, depending on your landing page, you may not want a large image distracting your visitors from the important bits of the content. If this is the case, you can always hide the pinnable image.
Again and again. The first place should be the board dedicated to your site, one that contains content exclusive to your website. Next are the relevant boards on your profile.
If, say, you’re a travel website and you have a “Guide to Backpacking in Europe” as your opt-in, similar boards like “5 Underrated European Destinations,” or “Best European Restaurants” are other places you can pin your opt-in pin.
Share your content to group boards
Sharing your opt-in pins to group boards is a great way to reach new audiences. Of course, you need to check each prospective board’s rules before sharing your opt-in pin.
So you’ve built your list, now what?
Now, you have to segment your list. In a world where the emails that work are personal and targeted, you want to make sure that your list is segmented so that you can send emails that are timely, relevant, and valuable to your list.
According to Red Stag Fulfillment, 57 percent of users find email marketing communication they receive to be “never” or “rarely” useful. You don’t want your emails to be part of that statistic. There are a slew of email automation tools that can help you segment your list according to things like geography, demographics, gender, job function, and behavior.
If you’re a clothing retail company, you don’t want to be sending out emails with your latest styles for women to a male CEO. Sometimes, failure to segment your email can result in avoidable errors like that.
It’s easy to focus on social media’s power to create awareness, increase reach, and engage audiences, and then forget its ability to grow one of the more valuable marketing channels you have email.
Have you ever used any of your social platforms to try and build your email list? When was the last time you opted in yourself? Tell us about it in the comments section below.
Naida Alabata is a content marketer at Grit PH and an entrepreneur in the Philippines, she opts to share her expertise and knowledge in digital/content marketing, business development, and e-commerce through guest posting.