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Why email marketers need social sharing, whether you ‘Like’ it or not

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It’s puzzling why some email marketers have a disfavorable view of social media, since combining it with the strengths of email marketing can fine tune just about any communications strategy. As these two mediums tend to attract different age groups and demographics, it hasn’t been a case of “video killed the radio star”, and on the contrary, their integration allows companies to reach a wider audience.

Marketers no longer have to guess what people care about as every click, tweet and comment gives us further clues. Through tapping into social data, we have the unprecedented opportunity to create bulk email newsletters and advertisements specifically based upon what people are doing and liking on Web 2.0. Social indicators can be collected and edged to help serve subscribers with relevant and personalized content, and by publishing email newsletters to your social sites you automatically channel your marketing efforts into new networks and reach more people.

Now, all of this might soon be hanging in the balance.

Facebook has been pressured recently by Germany’s head of their independent data protection center; who’s claimed that websites that use the ‘like’ button are illegally sending this data to the social giant, who in turn uses that information to create illegal profiles of its users’ web habits. Citing both German and EU privacy laws, demands are being made that websites in the state remove the ‘like’ button by the end of September 2011.  

It is not uncommon for online service providers to set different policies in different countries in order to comply with the differences in various national laws. But while this is, for the moment, limited to one State (Schleswig Holstein in Germany), such issues have a tendency to take on a national, and then an international scope. So marketers who are increasingly basing their strategies on Facebook’s ‘like’ button and similar clues may have some cause to be alarmed if the policy becomes widely adopted.

The power of ‘like’ has become universal. It’s an opiate for the masses as far as online content is concerned and there’s still nothing quite so validating than getting a good couple of virtual thumbs up on that latest share. Google has been so much in awe of the power of ‘like’ as to build in their carbon-copy ‘+1’ button, then announcing its arrival earlier this year with the digital equivalent of a 21-gun salute. As marketers, the disappearance of ‘like’ would be similar to losing an eye.

Although the rapid expansion of social media has had everyone concerned with privacy matters, a drive to render social platforms impotent in terms of data capture is not a policy that is going to be very popular; especially, with ground-level users who thrive on social recognition.

People like ‘like’. They like to ‘like’ as much as they like to be ‘liked’.

And in defense of the firebrand social network; those who do not like the ‘like’ might benefit from migrating to another platform which does cater for their strict privacy concerns. It goes without saying that the same systems which we use to view and gather information on are at the same time viewing and gathering information on us – it is the great social media circle of life, and just like on email marketing programs, we have the ability to opt-out. With that said, it’s somehow doubtful that most long-time users will abandon their well-entrenched social profiles just because someone at Gucci can see whether you are keen on their new range of stiletto shoes.

Though Emailbrain will keep its clients posted should the laws change for our destination countries, everyone should keep using ‘like’ until such changes come into play - if at all.

We are also in the concluding phase of testing and integrating Google+ tools with social media log-ins and ‘+1’  buttons along with the existing social share widgets (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.) as soon as Google has released their API.

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