Has Social Media Supplanted Email?

Are social media websites leading to the extinction of email newsletters? With the trends that have been emerging in marketing techniques, email newsletters are beginning to look like dinosaurs. Instead, many companies favoring blogging, tweeting, and posting updates on Facebook to stay in touch with their customers.

The Role of Email Newsletters

For the last decade, companies have relied heavily on email newsletters as an inexpensive way to present themselves to their customers on a regular basis. These newsletters not only provide information about the company and its special offers, but also add value to the customer by giving helpful tips in the company’s area of expertise.

The Switch to Social Media

Whereas people used to stay in touch with loved ones primarily through email, social media is now becoming a more common medium for interaction. As websites like Facebook and Twitter have made it easier for businesses to create accounts alongside individuals, companies have taken advantage of this opportunity to be part of their customers’ trusted circles.

In addition to posting announcements and marketing messages on social media sites, companies can also use their accounts to give coupons to customers. This is an increasingly strategic approach, as they can require people to “Like” their page or retweet their posts to get access to discounts, effectively providing the company some free marketing. As more and more people adopt devices capable of mobile gaming and social networking in addition to making phone calls, the importance of offering mobile communication methods to consumers will increase.

Advantages of Social Media

One of the big differences between posting information through social media and in email newsletters is that social media makes it much easier to start a conversation with customers. As customers post comments or retweet, they get to interact with the company in a public space focused on short, friendly interactions. This often makes the company seem more approachable and accessible, even to those who are reading the conversation rather than being directly involved.

Developing a Marketing Strategy

Despite the gains of social media, it is not quite time for companies to give up entirely on email newsletters. Many customers are not avid users of social media websites, so sending direct emails is a better way to get their attention for now. Emails are also much better for long-form content that will not fit into the framework of Facebook or Twitter.

Therefore, companies should combine email marketing with social media presence to bridge the gap and reach all types of customers. One interesting strategy for transitioning to an approach more focused on social media is to include links to each of the social media accounts in an email newsletter. Especially if the links are accompanied with a description of what customers can find on the social media sites, people are likely to click through.

What’s the Verdict on Email?

Fewer companies these days rely exclusively on email newsletters for online communication with customers. Instead, more and more are turning to communication on social media websites to keep in touch with customers and stay connected to the people that keep the business going. Social media provides an opportunity for short-form interaction on a regular basis to keep customers engaged with a company. At the same time, email marketing remains effective for large amounts of information and to connect with those who aren’t on social media sites yet. It looks like email marketing is staying — at least for now.