You’ve got a strong email list, the result of months’ worth of effort to get people to sign up. But if you’re going to make the most of your email marketing–and want to connect with your customers, donors, clients, members, volunteers, and prospects in more than one place–then you’re going to need Facebook fans and Twitter followers too.

The good news is that you can use your existing email list to help build your social following.

Here are 5 easy ways to do that:

1. Send a dedicated email.

Start by sending a special, one-time email to your subscribers announcing your social media presence. But don’t stop there! Tell them why they should also connect with you on social media in addition to email.

For example, maybe they’ll get additional tips/advice, learn about special offers, or whatever else you plan to share. Make that value offer clear in your follow request. We’re a fan of telling subscribers that social media is where they can join you in a conversation. After all, email is a one-way “push,” so your loyal customers will want to go somewhere where they can interact with you.

2. Include links in your email newsletter.

After you’ve announced your social presence, make your social media presence a regular part of your normal mailings by adding links to your social network profiles within the emails you already send. This will provide a constant reminder that customers can connect with you in multiple places.

3. Encourage discussion.

In your email newsletter, ask people what they think of the topics you discuss. Then direct them to your Facebook Page or Twitter handle, and encourage them to share their thoughts. These kinds of strong social calls to action will provide a link between the two channels. Just be sure you monitor the discussion so you can reply and keep it going.

4. Encourage social sharing.

Incorporating sharing features into your email marketing gets your email out onto social networks where it’ll be seen by people beyond your mailing list… people who may then look for you on those sites and connect with you there. Think of it as another way to amplify your message and brand.

5. Feature an exclusive offer.

Why not make Facebook or Twitter the place to be by featuring an offer that people can only see if they ‘Like’ your Facebook Page or are following you on Twitter? Promote this offer to your email subscribers and encourage them to connect with you on social media.

Overall, it helps to think of social media as the party and your email list as the after-party.

Sure, people want to feel included and VIP by being on the list for the after-party, but what fun is the after-party if you don’t get to meet new people at the actual party?

What I’m trying to say is that your email list and social media accounts should work together to provide a better experience for your customers or clients.

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