What’s Better? Email, Twitter or Facebook?

When it comes to list building, which used to be an email-only activity, the advent of social networks has muddied the waters a little. When thinking about your “mailing list” the concept of the “list” has expanded. And with that expansion comes the question of focus. Not the tired “email is dying” meme (it isn’t), but rather where should the harried marketer focus her time now?  Building Twitter followers? Growing the email list? Fleshing out Facebook pages?

The answer is, of course, to focus on what works best of you.

So the first thing you need to do is determine what “best” is.  If you’re building a community then you should focus on where your audience is – so that might point you towards social media.  If your goal from list building is lead capture to load the sales funnel, then email may well be the best, because (a) it allows you to reach out to prospects privately and automatically, and (b) capture demographics such as location or phone number.

But when that is all said and done, how do your figure out whether your activites are making a difference? And is that difference enough to meet your definition of “best”? When you communicate with your audience, how are they engaging with you and your content? How can you compare subscriber activity in one medium, say email, with follower activity in another, such as Twitter?

Introducing the Social Media Engagement Report from FeedBlitz, which splits out your audience’s activity by distribution channel. You can compare clicks from a post to your followers on Twitter with clicks from your email list to activity from your Facebook pages.  You can drill into activity by channel and even down to the individual user, so, for example,  you can figure out which of the Twitter accounts you post to is generating the most activity.  The report is real-time, so if a power user retweets your post you can quickly see the effect of their followers clicking through.

The social media engagement report does require a little care when interpreting.  For example, with Twitter, we can’t reliably tell which of an account’s followers clicked the link to your post; just which Twitter account the post was originally tweeted to. So although that’s counted as a click in the database, you might want to mentally consider it analogous to an email list’s open rate.

So which is better? Twitter, email or Facebook? Of course, the answer is “it depends” or “your mileage might vary” – but now you have the ability to compare all the outbound channels you’re marketing through on a single page.  And, armed with that data, you can now make informed decisions about where to focus your time, attention and money.

Remember, you can’t manage what you can’t measure

Log in and go to Newsletters / Reports / Social Media Engagement Report to measure your audience’s engagement, powered by FeedBlitz.

Meet Phil Hollows

Phil Hollows is the Founder and CEO of FeedBlitz, the email marketing, RSS feed and social media automation service, and premium FeedBurner alternative. He is also the author of “List Building for Bloggers,” - http://ListBuildingForBloggers.com - highlighting proven email strategies that build your audience, increase engagement and grow your income – without the geek speak. Phil started what became FeedBlitz in 2005, raising private equity investment in 2006. Before that, he’s held a variety of high technology, consulting and marketing positions in both the US and the UK since graduating from Oxford University in 1987. Phil’s lived in the US for nearly 22 years. The father of two teenagers and currently living in greater Boston, MA, Phil enjoys hearing from folks stateside how much they love his accent, and from friends and family back in England how American he sounds


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