Email list growth

7 Killer Tactics to Grow your Email List through Social Media

This post was updated on September 20, 2019. It was originally published in September, 2014.
Email is one of the most effective marketing channels out there. We’ve talked about email’s potential ROI and how it’s still the preferred method of communication for many people and businesses. Compared to other channels, email is more effective than social, display, paid search, affiliate, and even video marketing. (Heck, as the Social Media Coordinator here, even I have to plug my own channel once in a while. 😉)  With how impactful a solid email marketing strategy is for a brand, how do you go about achieving email list growth? As marketers, it’s smart to focus on the most effective channels we can, but also to realize that a lot of marketing channels work together. It may not be the blog post that drives the conversion, but it could be the retargeting ad that triggers a result. Think of all the channels in your marketing strategy as members of the same offense. Email marketing may be the wide receiver that makes the touchdown, but social media is often the teammate that throws the pass, or makes another play that helps your emails score. kitten football gif Plus, with 3.499 billion active users, it would be unwise to ignore social media completely. Try out these seven techniques to help you grow your email list through strategic use of social media. Make sure to add them to your marketing playbook!

Optimize Your Profiles

It’s no secret that we love email here at Email on Acid. But we also love using our social presence to share those emails with more people. It’s a given that you should fill out your social media profiles with the basics: a profile picture, cover image, short bio and a link. It’s best to keep profile pictures, often a logo for brands, consistent. The other three elements, however, can be optimized to serve different goals and marketing campaigns. In this case, let’s assume the goal is to achieve email list growth.

Custom buttons and links

Set up custom buttons on Facebook that redirect to a sign-up page for your newsletter or gated content. Your ESP may have applications for adding a sign-up page for Facebook, making it easy for people to sign up for your mailing list right from the platform. For Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter you can just update your link. You may choose to use Bitly, Linktree, or another link shortener for a polished look.
Any business can gate their content. Put together exclusive material behind an opt-in form that someone must fill out in order to get it.
Either way, make it a point to integrate the link for your sign-up form in every “about” section. This simple tactic can be incredibly effective. Check out MailChimp’s Facebook page below for a good example of an embedded sign-up form in action. Mailchimp's embedded Facebook email sign-up Once you click on the Email Signup tab, you are taken to a fantastically simple form to join their mailing list. Easy peasy.

Cover photos

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all have another piece of real estate that you can use: the cover photo. Design these graphics to draw attention to your custom buttons or links, or include a CTA to push potential subscribers to click. Another tactic is to include explanatory copy in the graphic that teases what they’ll get out of your newsletter or what the gated content is about. A cover photo with a CTA


Your bio is one final area you can adapt and change to drive the click. Depending on how much space you have (usually around 150 characters), you can tailor the copy to encourage your followers to become subscribers. Or keep the design of your cover photo clean and text free, and include explanatory copy in the bio instead. An Instagram bio Once you optimize your bio, you can begin trying out the next six techniques.

Make a Bulletin Board

After you’ve created some highly desirable content and gated it behind a sign-up form, use a social media post to promote it. Pin that post to the top of your page so it’s the first thing profile visitors see, acting like a lead magnet. Check out this example from SproutSocial. The link takes a follower to a page with a sign-up form to download the index. Here is another example by Tarte Cosmetics. This social media post that goes to a dedicated landing page not only helps Tarte build their email list, but also helps them segment it. An Instagram post driving traffic

Build Community

Live video and stories, Twitter chats, AMAs and webinars help to build your brand and your community. They’re also a great way to push sign-ups to your newsletter. For live chats and videos, provide a sign-up page where your followers can register to get a reminder for the event. During and after your social media events, share a piece of gated content or plug your newsletter when it’s relevant. Here’s an example where our phriend, Victoria Peppiatt, shared some gated content during our Twitter chat with Phrasee.

Ask and Give

First and foremost – are you asking people to sign up for your newsletter? If not, start! Offer a reward for subscribers. Maybe offer a discount on their first purchase. Or, host a giveaway with a sign-up form to build your list. Here’s an example of what a giveaway could look like from Suja Organics. An Instagram giveaway

Tell a Story

Because Instagram and Facebook are closely connected, you can cross-post your story content on both platforms. On both apps, stories are right at the top of the page. For Facebook accounts, you can add the link in your bio to your story. On Instagram, accounts with 10,000 or more followers can put any link in stories. Otherwise, just direct your followers to the link in your bio like you would on a post. Plus, Instagram has the additional benefit of creating long-term stories, called Highlights. Check out this Highlight from So Delicious, which is dedicated to their newsletter. At the end, there’s a link to swipe up and immediately sign-up for the newsletter. That’s pretty sweet! A swipe-up CTA in an Instagram Story Of course, Snapchat invented the social media “story”, so that’s a great place to try this tactic as well. Finally, the Twitter Moment can also function in a similar way. Build out a Moment to highlight some of the top “moments” (aka content) from your newsletter.

Partner with an Influencer

Influencer marketing is still hot – even for B2B businesses. Have your influencers promote your newsletter on a special affiliate page. You might even consider having one of them curate, contribute to, or even do a takeover of your newsletter. It will motivate fans to sign up for emails to get exclusive content from their favorite personalities. An influencer post


Social media advertising can be a pretty cost-effective way to get your message in front of new subscribers. For example, you can create Facebook ads targeting people with similar interests. Similarly, on Twitter you can send highly tailored tweets based on geographic location. You can even go as far as to upload your existing mailing list to Facebook. That way, you can exclude current subscribers from ad targeting and hone in on the soon-to-be-subscribers. When you are creating a promoted post, remember that the goal is to collect email addresses. Simply include an enticing offer that links to a dedicated landing page that captures your target audience’s email addresses. This ad from T-Mobile drives traffic to a sign-up form so people can get a reminder when the new iPhone drops – affording T-Mobile email list growth in the process. A waitlist sign-up

Final Thoughts

Every 60 seconds, 4.5 million videos are viewed on YouTube, 87,500 people tweet, 2.1 million snaps are created, 46,200 new posts are put on Instagram. There’s a lot of chatter happening online all the time, so keeping your brand front and center is a challenge. Switching conversations with fans over to email allows you to control the message. Plus, it’s a one-to-one channel where you can tailor the message specifically for each fan. You can also provide them helpful and relevant content, and hopefully drive conversions. Did we miss any techniques or tactics? Comment below and share how you employ list building techniques through your social media! And, of course, don’t forget to find us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for quality (cough, and relatable) content like this: Oh, and while you’re here…

Subscribe to our newsletter

The Mid-Week Mix is your weekly fix of email goodness. Sign up to get cool email code tips and tricks, industry news, and more delivered right to your inbox.
Stop Email Disasters Before They Strike!

It’s an email marketer’s worst nightmare. You hit the send button and an important campaign goes out with an ugly, costly mistake. Make sure that never happens with our email readiness platform. Optimize your campaigns and fix mistakes – even if you’re not an HTML pro! Keep clients and customers happy when you deliver email perfection. See how it renders before you send with previews from 100+ email clients and devices.

Start for Free