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Making the most of social sharing

Social sharing widens your mailing's reach, but it doesn't do so automatically (dangit). Here are five tips to make sure your audience is sharing -- and loving -- your mailings (hooray!).

1. Draw attention to the social sharing buttons

Your audience members may know a thing or two about social sharing, or they may be completely new to it -- and not pay attention to the fancy little buttons atop your mailing. Consider composing an email that announces you've enabled the feature in your mailings, and let them know that they can click to share your mailing as long as they have Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn accounts.

2. Create content that's relevant to current and potential subscribers

Remember that you can choose when to enable social sharing. You probably won't want to enable it when you're sending an invitation to an exclusive event or a survey to customers that purchased a product in the last six weeks.

What kind of content is good for sharing? Think about:

  • The announcement of a store-wide sale
  • A call to action, such as donating to a charity or organization
  • A press release or quarterly report
  • Tips or tricks of the trade

3. Display content in a web-friendly way

A mailing meant to be shared should look different from a mailing intended for an email inbox only. For example, though some of your stakeholders may read a five-paragraph email because they are interested in the intricacies of a new policy, the larger community is likely to be interested in the summary. Consider enabling social sharing in a summary mailing to your entire audience, while not enabling it in the mailing to your stakeholders.

The same can be said for the layout of the page. Just as you want to catch a recipient's eye in the preview pane of an email, you want to maximize the "retail space" at the top of the mailing that's being shared with your subscribers' networks. You have just a few seconds to catch their interest and convince them to care about you -- and your message.

4. Use audience segmentation

As you become familiar with social sharing, use the response metrics to your advantage. Are certain recipients more likely to share to LinkedIn? Do others share to Twitter most often? Does the type of content in the mailing affect where it's shared? Use the data to segment and target your audience even further.

5. Reward social sharing

Let your audience members know that you recognize and appreciate when they've shared your mailings with their social networks. Think about rewarding those who share with a thank you note, follow-up coupon or white paper.

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