Some time back I wrote an article entitled Twitter - Much ado About Nothing, which was a personal viewpoint regarding the true value of Twitter. My conclusion at that time was that Twitter offered the least value of all the social media platforms, and I remain with that belief, although slightly altered.
Under the purview of evaluating all of social media against email marketing, there is some value to each social media platform, in my belief. However, there begs the questions relative to the discussion. They are:
- When it comes to marketing your company or yourself, which is better, Email or the use of Social Media like Facebook or Twitter?
- Is there a noticeable difference in results?
- What about costs versus return on investment?
- Are the results even measurable?
I now consider the fact that Twitter is valuable to an extent that you can post your message repeatedly, as opposed to the limitations of email and other social media sites. Once the email has been sent, it seems rather foolish to resend the same email again. The database mass tweet system allows for the same message to go out because the audience may be changing by the moment. This also is a shortcoming, because it’s nearly impossible to determine your results. There are no metric systems to my knowledge.
My personal opinion is that email marketing has had its ups and downs over the past ten to fifteen years, mainly because of the onslaught of new technologies, SPAM and overuse. However, it still outperforms social media mainly because it is measurable, whereas it is unclear how effective Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Delicious and all of the other social sites produce measurable results. Remember, there are more than 200 social media sites, and the list is growing by the day.
There is no secret formula to email; it’s not rocket science. Emails are easy to create, and that can be a detractor because users may not think their message through. A well thought out email campaign still has its drawbacks, because only a small percentage of emails are opened. SPAM marketers have ruined email marketing, but there are tips and tricks to get your email opened. The Direct Marketing Association has information on their web site that can help marketers get better results.
The absolute latest in email marketing is video. There are a number of platform providers, like Talk Fusion, Constant Contact, Azooka, Brightcove and several others. What they all have in common is the ability to direct emails with a personal message, using templates of an unlimited variety and target your audience. By personalizing the marketing message to individuals within an organization rather than a blast email effort, results improve dramatically. The only downside to this medium is that it takes multiple messages to impact potential fans, customers or advocates.
As for Facebook, your visibility is practically unlimited, dependent only upon your list of friends, the comments they place on your wall, the ability to develop a business page all make for an effective platform to get the message out. The shortcoming of this medium is that it is extremely difficult to determine what return on your investment is. The more fans you have that “like” your messages, the closer you will get to developing some metrics on this medium.
Linked in, the social media site strictly designed for professionals, is one of my favorites, as its initial mission and vision was to unite the professional executives and others on a single platform, for the purposes of advancing business connections. The value of this site is that you can not only have a personal page, but a business page, advertise for employment openings, share interests, arrange for all types of business activities, etc. The limitations to Linked in are that it is difficult to monetize from this site, but it is improving. Both Linked in and Facebook are limited to a single message, whereas Twitter has unlimited abilities to send out the same message.
Let’s not forget about costs. Time is Money! Marketers steered away from direct mail due to the overwhelming cost to print, stuff, postage and delays in delivery. The US Post Office is allowed to hold bulk mail for up to fourteen days before delivery, so even though it was less expensive, the time for the message to be delivered was far too long. If they choose to use first class mail, the costs are even higher. Thus, email marketing became the preferred medium.
Time is a cost that most marketers seem to take little notice of, unless they are using direct mail. The fact of the matter is, all forms of communications take time to prepare, deliver, monitor and analyze results for their success or failure. Time is the great equalizer, and therefore is something that must be taken into account. While there are virtual assistants that can Tweet, Post on Facebook or send out mass emails, there are costs involved.
There is little dissuasion to the statement that the use of all social media, email, video email and tweeting should be utilized. The number of messages that go out will in turn have a yield, regardless of which one tipped the scales in the marketers favor. The use of all forms of communications is recommended, and eventually there will be metrics established for each of the forms of communicating.
I have written extensively on the latest technologies in communications, specifically mobile marketing. Social Media, Video Email, Live Broadcasting, Webinars, Video Blogs and much more are now in the mix, so there is no clear winner, but using them all certainly is.
David J Dunworth is the CEO of TeXT-Icon Mobile Marketing Communications, and consults to the entrepreneur and emerging enterprise sectors of business. For additional information, see his blog at http://www.theovercaffeinatedentrepreneur.wordpress.com.
For more information, please visit David's TNNWC Bio.
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