Have you ever made small talk with a neighbor on the street?  Someone you’re friendly with but not someone you’d invite into the house for a drink?

The scenario above is a lot like the difference between social media and email marketing. Social media followers are like the neighbors who like to chat with you on the street and email subscribers are like the neighbors who would invite you into their homes. The groups are different, but both are important to your online success.

But on which group do you think you should focus your efforts? Let’s look a bit more closely to answer that question.

Who are social media followers?

Social media followers connect with you on a social networking site like Facebook or Twitter. These people are usually interested in exclusive content, special offers, and discounts. They are also interested in what you have to say, are looking to learn more about your organization or business, want keep up-to-date with events or happenings, want to share feedback, and are looking to find ways they can further support you.

Who are email subscribers?

Email subscribers give you permission to contact them directly via email. These people are usually interested in exclusive content, special offers, and discounts. They are also interested in what you have to say, are looking to learn more about your organization or business, want keep up-to-date with events or happenings, and are looking to find ways they can further support you.

So wait, if social media followers and email subscribers basically want the same things, what’s the difference?

Sure, both groups may want the same thing but it’s the nature of the tool that makes all the difference. Social media transactions require a much lighter commitment. It’s easy to follow someone on Twitter or “Like” a Page on Facebook.

There’s a bigger commitment made by the person who hands over their email address and invites you into their home, er, inbox.

Again, think conversation on the street versus conversation in the house.

Social media also has a fleeting nature. Email gives you more control.

Tweets flow past the stream. Facebook has algorithms to determine who sees what. With an email you’re in control. You decide when and how often to send a message, and it goes straight to the source.

So should you give up on social media followers?

Absolutely not, but you should focus on moving the conversation to email because you’ll be getting a higher level of commitment from your email subscribers. And social media allows you to find and connect with more people. Just don’t let the conversation end on the street.

Summary:

  • Social media followers are important to have because they help you start conversations and attract more people to your cause.
  • Email subscribers have given you permission to contact them on their turf, which means there’s a higher level of engagement in what you’re offering.
  • Focus on turning social media followers into email subscribers and vice versa so you can make the most of your reach.

Do you find there’s a difference between your social media followers and email subscribers? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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