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 and social media automation service, and premium FeedBurner alternative. After graduating from Oxford University in 1987, Phil built on his high tech, consulting, and marketing leadership experience, and by 2005 the seeds of FeedBlitz were germinating. Private equity investment followed shortly thereafter, and the rest - as they say - is history. He also authored "List Building for Bloggers" {ListBuildingForBloggers.com}, outlining proven email strategies to build your audience, increase engagement, and grow your income. Pre-FeedBlitz, Phil was vice president of product marketing for enterprise network security management company OpenService (now LogMatrix), and vice president of technology at the web testing company RadView Software.


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