What’s the difference between email and social media content - and why does the distinction matter? Read on to learn more:
Crafting great content for your online marketing purposes entails a significant amount of planning. It can admittedly be stressful at times — a predicament that you can avoid by working smart and knowing the best techniques to make the content creation process easier — but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s solid content that forms the backbone of your marketing efforts. After all, content marketing plays a significant role in relationship-building, sales, and even thought leadership.
However, when it comes to using multiple channels for marketing, your content isn’t (and shouldn’t be) a one-size-fits-all deal. One particularly good example here is how you should create content for your email campaigns versus the way you do it for social media. What may work for one medium won’t necessarily work for the other. Thus, to be able to maximize the potential of both, you would first need to understand what makes them so different from each other in the first place.
Here are a few of the key differences between content creation for email and for social media.
1. You’re more likely to get your audience’s full attention through email than on social media.
One of the chief differences between email marketing and social media is that with the former, you can have your target audience’s full and undivided attention. Unlike with social media where users all have access to their own feeds (which are usually filled to the brim with content), your messages get sent directly to your subscribers’ email inboxes — a precise method of targeting, as well as an effective way to call their attention.
Sure, you don’t have a monopoly on the types of messages they’ll get (and other businesses are likely sending them messages too, just like you); still, at least you’re not simultaneously competing with ten or twenty other businesses when it’s your turn to show your subscribers what you’re offering.
2. You have allowance for longer, more meaningful content with email than with social media.
One of the worst things you can do on social media is to bombard your followers and subscribers with content that’s too long or tedious to read. The very nature of social media means that your content needs to be quick, sharp, and direct to the point — basically, posts that can
- Catch the eye of your followers even just for a split-second, and
- Make said split-second count.
Take a look at the most popular kinds of social media content on your own feed: 2-minute instructional videos, memes, or links to articles published outside of your social network. With email, however, you have the freedom to write longer, more engaging copy, simply because your target audience has the time to read. Whether you feel like sending an EDM or a full-length newsletter, you can guarantee that your recipients have the chance to read and absorb what you have to say.
3. Email allows you to keep your audience engaged by establishing a reason for them to do so.
Think of email as, well, electronic mail — a way of establishing correspondence between you and your customers that even facilitates continued communication. Much like sending a pen pal a stream of letters regularly, you can create a series of emails to grab your subscribers’ attention and keep them reading.
On the other hand, social media is far too dynamic for this approach. Your audience will almost always see too much for you to be able to successfully set up a series of messages; instead, you’ll need to provide them with easily digestible content that addresses their needs efficiently.
4. Social media is hip, flexible, and fun - email doesn’t always have to be.
Social media is an energetic, thriving community that encourages fun and excitement to keep things going. It’s less of a marketplace and more of a hangout. In many ways, it’s like a digital coffee shop, where people can hang out with their friends and find various sources of entertainment.
Email, on the other hand, is the more serious marketing venue, where your messages can be crafted to be more direct and sales-oriented. It’s no wonder that email is still the most-used channel, and the one that people check as their day starts and before their day ends. You don’t access your email to hang out; you check it out of necessity, or as part of your daily routine.
5. Direct marketing and promotional efforts usually do better via email than on social media.
As mentioned in the previous item, email content can be tailored towards marketing and promotions. You can’t really say the same for social media, as promotional content doesn’t exactly go well over social networks. The inverse doesn’t apply, though — email content can be helpful, entertaining, informative, and fun, just like social media.
History has shown that most consumers make conscious purchasing decisions after they’ve read promotional emails, which isn’t really surprising, since the medium is designed to deliver longer, more in-depth messages such as those. In fact, according to a study by ExactTarget, 77% of their respondents preferred email for permission-based promotional messages, which was a far cry from Facebook (4%) and Twitter (1%).
6. Email gives you a better shot at identifying and separating potential buyers from non-buyers.
The thing about social media is that there’s really no surefire way to know who among your followers or subscribers will convert and become buyers. Anyone can like or follow your account for any given reason, and not necessarily because they want to avail your products and services.
That’s where email comes in — you can use that to figure out which ones among your subscribers are buyers and which ones aren’t. That way, you can focus the right kind of attention on your qualified prospects.
Despite their differences, social media and email are both invaluable to your marketing efforts. Learn how to create content that’s well-suited for each platform based on their strengths and features, and make sure to incorporate both of them into your online marketing strategy to enjoy their benefits.
To effectively use social media and email marketing, you must learn how to create the right kind of content for both of them. Check out my collaboration with Skillshare, How to Create Engaging Social Media Content, to learn how you should craft content for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other popular social media sites.
Liz Azyan is a digital consultant who helps public organisations and businesses add value to their products and services through smart digital solutions. She has been awarded the Google Fellowship Award for her work and initiative in the arena of technology, politics and social entrepreneurship. She has also been listed on several lists around the web as a top digital expert by her peers and industry leaders.