Social Media in Email

6 Creative Ways to Use Social Media in Your Email Campaigns


We’ve all seen articles toting claims like, “Email is Dead!” or “Marketing on Social Doesn’t Work.” Well folks, neither is dead and they aren’t going anywhere.

For marketers, email will continue to be the key communication channel for acquiring leads and customers as you get a $39.40 return on every $1 invested. While social is nowhere close to that yet, it still has such a broad reach that you’re throwing money out the window if you neglect potential prospects on this medium. That’s why it’s advantageous to blend these channels and have them work together, instead of against each other.

By using these channels together, you can:

  • Extend the reach of your campaigns.
  • Grow your social and email list.
  • Identify key influencers.


In this blog, we’re going to break down how you can incorporate social elements in your email campaigns. From the basic, social icon in the footer to embedding live feeds in your campaign, read on for some great marketing techniques.

Include Social Icons

Before we jump into more creative ways to integrate social techniques in your email, let’s start with the “must-have” technique: social icons. Your email should always have your social icons so your audience can connect with you on all your platforms, not just one. Since getting a new like or Twitter follower isn’t typically the focus of the email, it’s better to put them near the footer as to not distract from the #1 goal of the email.

Also, incorporate a CTA with the social icons. Instead of just slapping them in your footer, give them incentive to follow you on these other channels. For example, in the email from West Elm they say, “Show your personal style with #MYWESTELM.”

West Elm Email

You can bet that if someone made it to the very footer of the email, they are interested in the brand and may want to engage on multiple platforms. Also, by providing a hashtag to use on the social platforms, West Elm can easily track the social engagement they’re creating from their campaign.

Use Social Share Buttons in Newsletters

Share buttons differ from just embedding your social icons in your template. This is when a marketer includes an option for the subscriber to share the entire email or a specific content block with their social networks from one button.

According to GetResponse, emails with share buttons have a 158% higher click-through-rate than those without. The five share buttons with the highest CTR are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+.
A great tip when using social share buttons in your email is to make sure there is an HTML webpage copy of your email. Then, code your buttons to share the HTML page. It would be poor form to make users visit a separate html webpage and then hit a “Tweet” button in order to share your content or promotion with others.

Fancy, a social photo sharing webstore, emails their customers with things they may want to purchase. While this may look like a run-of-the-mill group of social sharing buttons, it’s better than most because at the end it explicitly says, “Share this email.”

Fancy Email

This is extremely helpful because then your readers won’t mistake it for a social icon that they’d click on to follow the company. In the email below decided to put the share icons at the top. It is unclear in this email whether these icons are in fact for social sharing of this email and not just following icons. You want to ensure you are clear.

Scoop it email

Host a Contest

Sometimes it’s not enough to get your email list to engage with you on social by just politely asking. That’s why you need to offer a compelling incentive that encourages engagement on your other platforms like Facebook.

Daskalides Chocolatier ran an awesome email campaign that personally incentivized their readers to hop out of their inbox and on to Facebook.

Daskalides Chocolatier Email

Not only is the email itself beautifully designed, they are also offering an awesome incentive and making it into a game. People are more willing to engage with a brand if it seems fun and light-hearted.

Add Social Elements on Your Email Unsubscribe Page

Even though someone is bidding your email campaigns adieu, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to hear from you outside of their inbox. Add social icons to your unsubscribe page so they can follow you on their preferred channels.

Habitat email

Habitat’s email unsubscribe page executes this tactic flawlessly with the text that reads, “We noticed you’re not loving our emails, so why not like us on Facebook instead?” Conversions happen out of the inbox too, so make sure you’ve got the net in place to save prospects.

Include Social Proof in Your Campaign

Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when an individual looks to other people’s actions to determine what decision they should make. According to CompUSA and an iPerceptions study, “63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.”

In email marketing, social proof is a must. Sure, you have an incredible offer (product, service, etc.), but you need real people singing your praises to convince others. Below, MarketingProfs did a great job with a customer testimonial to show what a PRO membership can do for you.

MarketingProfs Email

Bottom line: As an increasingly social culture, people want to feel validated by knowing that others find value in the product or service they are considering. Ease their minds and create an environment where that decision is a no-brainer with social proof.

Code Live Social Feeds into Your Email

This is one of the more innovative and unique ways to incorporate social and email. In order to achieve a technique like this you will need some coding experience and a platform to run a lot of email tests on! This hack in your template will require you work with dynamic CSS as well as being able to implement fallback strategies.

Check out this awesome example below from the Financial Times.

Financial Times email

At the very bottom of the email they coded a live Twitter feed of the U.S. election coverage. This is a great use of this coding technique on an incredibly timely and topical subject.

Social Components? Check! Now What?

From coding your social icons into your footer to more advanced techniques of live feeds in your campaign, they all have one thing in common: you absolutely need to test these social elements in your campaign before you hit send.

In need of a testing solution that doesn’t require you open your email on 20+ email clients and different devices? Try Email on Acid, free for 7 days, to get unlimited email, image and spam testing!

Avatar for Alex Ilhan
Author: Alex Ilhan

Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.

Avatar for Alex Ilhan
Author: Alex Ilhan

Hailing all the way from England, Alex brings his email development expertise along with an endless stream of cups of tea and British cynicism. Follow him on Twitter: @omgitsonlyalex.

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