Here at Real Magnet, we’re only weeks away from launching our new Email + Social features. With this new tool comes the ability to monitor all your social feeds from within the Real Magnet application, compose, track and analyze tweets and Facebook status updates through Real Magnet, and attach social messages to email campaigns so that you can see how social contributes to your messaging.
Part of my job here on the blog is to educate our customers on how to use Real Magnet to improve results, and this would be a great opportunity to do so. Trouble is, I have no idea what advice to give. Combining email and social messages and analytics in the way you’ll soon be able to is unprecedented – it gives marketers access to learning and insights never before available. I can’t tell you what you’ll find anymore than the Pilgrims could have predicted in 1620 when they landed in Massachusetts that it would take the Red Sox 86 years to win the World Series. We’re entering uncharted territory. The territory is rich with highly desirable real estate and bountiful resources, to be sure. But we don’t – can’t possibly – know what exactly they are yet.
Absent experience-based insight, I do at least have my hypotheses. And with the new Email + Social features, you’ll be able to test each of these hypotheses – and many more – yourself. So here’s a starting point for what you may discover about your own marketing when you combine Email + Social:
1. Over 20% of my traffic comes from Facebook and Twitter. You know how large your fan and follower totals are compared to your email list, and you also know the open and click-through rates from email and your web traffic. If you dig into your website analytics you an also see where your traffic is coming from. Well, sort of. Facebook traffic shows up pretty cleanly, as Facebook is a website so referrers do register in most web analytics programs. But most Twitter activity takes place outside of the Twitter site, on dashboards like HootSuite and TweetDeck, and on mobile devices and apps. When you compose your social messages within Real Magnet, the links you include are automatically tracked by Real Magnet, so you will be able to see how many visits to your site are really attributable to Facebook and Twitter. You’ll also see which messages drove the most activity, and which social channel drove the lion’s share of the traffic.
2. My brand does better on the weekend with email instead of social. Recent research is concluding that many brands enjoy a nice uptick in social activity over the weekend, and recommend that more brands shift their social activity to Friday, Saturday and Sunday in order to take advantage of the larger audiences then. That’s sound advice in general, but does it apply to your brand? If you are in B-to-B, are your customers more likely to retweet or like what you have to say on their days off? My hypothesis is that they wouldn’t be, but soon you won’t have to take my word for it. With Email + Social, you can attach social messages to email messages so that the tracking and analytics for all of your channels are available together. Do an A/B test of a message sent to inboxes, Facebook and Twitter, with half of your messages going on Thursday and the other half on Saturday or Sunday. On Monday morning you’ll have hard data on which channels were the most fertile for you during the week and on the weekend – in plenty of time for you to take advantage of this new learning by next week.
3. Good tweets make great subject lines. Twitter teaches marketers to think concisely, which should improve subject line writing as well. But does a tweet that performs well (by driving a lot of clicks on an attached link and/or earning many retweets) necessarily make a good subject line? It might, but why guess? Publish your tweets through Real Magnet and track their performance. You compose your emails and subject lines within the same application, making it easy to peek at your social analytics for subject line inspiration. Then you’ll have the email analytics to see if the same tack that worked in Twitter drives attention in the inbox as well.
4. Photos and videos drive email engagement as well as social. Media uploads like photos and videos drive a lot of engagement in social channels. This may be because, being “social”, the time their audiences spend immersed there is a little more leisurely. Photos and videos are also easy to view in Facebook and Twitter, with both sites and their apps making expanding, slide shows and video viewing simple and intuitive. The inbox, by contrast, is more purposeful and therefore better suited to business, right? Additionally, expanding a photo or watching a video requires following a link to the web, which opens a separate application and takes more time. So the conventional thinking is that the inbox is better suited for copy, while social channels are better poised to take advantage of multimedia. But if multimedia does drive engagement, isn’t it worth testing in email as well, where your audience is likely larger? Use a hosted media service like TwitPic or a Facebook gallery for your media, and promote the link to both your social and inbox audiences. Combine the messages within Real Magnet so you can see which channel is driving the most views of that media. You may well find that your social audience is more likely to follow multimedia links, but that your larger email list – while less responsive – contributes more eyeballs overall than social.
5. My mobile audience doubles when I use social. Recent research pegs the total amount of activity on social sites coming from mobile devices as high as 40%. Shorter content and the irresistible pull some people feel towards social channels make them a perfect match for smartphones. With Real Magnet tracking, you can see already how much of your email audience is accessing via mobile. Attach your social messages and you will be able to measure the total mobile audience size across all channels. Your total mobile audience may be considerably larger than you thought.