Trying to quantifying the value of your social media marketing is frustrating — it’s not easy to calculate the ROI from all those posts, likes, and comments.

“Branding” and “exposure” are nice benefits, but it’s nearly impossible to determine if you’re actually achieving those things with your social media work.

Nor is it easy to sell directly to your social media fans. According to Sprout Social’s Q3 2016 Index, “too many promotional messages” is the top reason people unfollow a brand.

Grow email list

Nevertheless, your online store must have a social media presence, as 65 percent of the population uses social media daily. This makes it important to find ways to extract value out of that audience.

You can get something tangible back from social media by using it to grow your email list. Click To Tweet

As an eCommerce store, you understand the value of a robust, high-converting email list. According to the Direct Marketing Association, the ROI of email marketing is 3,800 percent. 38 percent of people say receiving special offers is the top reason they subscribe to email lists, and 72 percent of people would rather receive promotional messages by email than social media.

Essentially, you can get tremendous value out of your social media profiles by ferrying your fans on to your email list. Here are some techniques to help you grow your email list with social media.

Need social media inspiration? These types of social media posts always do well.

1. Pin a post with a lead magnet to the top of your profile

Facebook and Twitter let you pin a post to the top of your feed so it’s always visible to anyone who views your profile. When someone checks out your page for the first time, your pinned post is the first one they see.

A pinned post is a perfect opportunity to convert your followers into subscribers with a lead magnet. Link the pinned post to a page where they get something for free in exchange for their email address. Use the post’s copy to explain the benefits of the lead magnet and why your audience needs it.

2. Optimize your bio with a link to a lead capture form

Most social media platforms let you include a link in your bio, but a lot of brands make the mistake of linking to a home page.

The purpose of a home page is to expose your brand to new people. But if someone is already following your social media account, they probably aren’t new. It’s smarter to link your social media bio to a page that gives you more value.

Grow email list

Create a page on your site with a special offer for social media fans. It could be a coupon or a piece of downloadable content. Require visitors to enter their email address to receive the offer.

Maximize the value from this technique by posting about it on Facebook and Twitter, then pinning the post to the top of your feed.

3. Add clickable YouTube cards to your videos

YouTube cards are little buttons that appear when people watch your videos. Content creators can add links to these cards to direct viewers to another page.

You can turn viewers into subscribers by linking the card to a landing page. Include a special offer on your landing page that your YouTube fans will enjoy.

This video from YouTube explains how to create your own cards:

4. Drive traffic with Facebook’s call-to-action button

Just below the header image on a Facebook page is a button you can customize. As the administrator of the page, you can set this button to do a number of things. Hover over the button and click “Edit Button” in the menu that appears to open the editing window.

Grow email list

Choose the button text that makes the most sense for you and click “Next.” On the second page of the editing window, set a URL to a landing page with a lead capture form.

(Explore the other options for call-to-action buttons, too. They might support some of your other marketing goals.)

5. Add links to your social media headers

Facebook and Twitter let you add big, custom images to the top of your profile. This is highly-visible real estate you can use to convert fans into subscribers.

Even though you can’t link these images to a web page, you can include link text on the image for your fans to type in. Just make sure the link is short and easy to remember.

Example: yoursite.com/20off

If you want to add UTM parameters to your link (which is important for tracking your traffic), use a link shortener so your links don’t become cumbersome. There are several link shortening apps for Shopify as well as several plugins for WordPress (the easiest is probably wp.me from Jetpack if you already have Jetpack installed). You could also use a third-party tool like Bitly.

6. Drive traffic to a giveaway landing page

Giveaways are one of the most effective ways to capture subscribers - just be careful you're attracting the right people. Click To Tweet

Direct your followers to a giveaway landing page with a lead capture form. But don’t simply post about your giveaway to your social media audience. Get the most value out of your giveaway with one or several of these techniques:

7. Manage a social media group

Groups are fantastic ways to engage with fans who love your products and want to connect with you. They give you opportunities to promote to people who really care about what you say and they let you dive deep into the minds of your ideal customers.

By posting thoughts, posing questions, and responding to your fans, you can build a thoughtful two-way relationship. Then you won’t come off as spammy or self-promotional when you encourage them to subscribe to your email list.

8. Run targeted Facebook ads

Facebook ads are powerful tools to reach potential customers who haven’t been exposed to your store. This is the most consistent technique to capture subscribers through social media, but you’ll have to pay for the ads.

There are a lot of ways to use Facebook ads to grow your list. For instance, you could:

  • target people who purchased from you but didn’t join your list.
  • target people who like products and services similar to yours.
  • target people who have visited your site in the past.

Of course, you can’t just throw up an ad and expect it to convert subscribers right away. You’ll need to test and optimize the copy, imagery, and audience. And since the people who see your ad may not know about your store, you’ll have to give them something to entice them to subscribe, like a coupon, discount, or piece of premium content.

Social media groups are a great way to build a two-way relationship with followers or fans, so you can more easily convert them to email subscribers. Click To Tweet

9. Post regularly and often

One of the biggest amateur social media mistakes a brand can make is failing to post as often as they can. They fear their fans will unfollow them if they “spam” too often.

But only a fraction of your social media posts will be seen by your fans. It’s safe to post two or three times a day, at different times, without bothering your fans. Optimal post volumes also vary by industry and social network. For example, you can generally post more often on Twitter than you can on Facebook.

Just make sure your content is interesting, varied, and unique. You can post the same type of content often (like a prompt to join your email list), but use different images and copy.

These types of social media content will help you build your social media profiles, turn fans into subscribers, and drive traffic to your store.

The bottom line

Using social media to grow your email list is more complex than simply typing posts and sharing graphics. You have to use the individual features of each platform as much as possible to generate the most high quality leads. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas.

About the Author Beka Rice

Beka is the head of product at Jilt. She works on app improvements, integration plugins, helping merchants improve recovery campaigns, and shares tutorials on reducing abandonment or improving recovery on our blog.

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