Twitter vs. Email Marketing

For all of the engagement opportunity that social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn present, they also offer limited measurement capability outside of growth.

Thus, from a marketer’s standpoint, the power of the e-newsletter: easily trackable links and conversions, and major insight into what readers do with your messaging (forward it? delete it? unsubscribe from it?).

So what’s a marketer to do? How can the digital-word-of-mouth power of Twitter be harnessed but in a trackable email-like way?

Here’s where Twitter lists come in.

Twitter lists are a crucial resource for organizing the perhaps hundreds of people you follow on Twitter into categorized roundups for quick reference.

If you create a list, it can be private (just for you) or public (so that you can share it).

You can add anyone you like to a Twitter list, even without following them — but therein lies the rub. The “follow” on Twitter is slowly becoming equated with the “opt-in” in email marketing terms.

That is, marketers and their brands gain the ability to DM (direct message) targeted consumers on Twitter as soon as they get that nod of acquiescence. Following someone, or something, on Twitter sends the message that you are open to having messages sent to you.

The missing puzzle piece is mass direct messaging. If Twitter were to add multi-messaging functionality to the platform, marketers would be able to message their followers en masse directly, a la an email newsletter.

And it needs to be trackable, like digital mail is. Here’s a marketer’s dream scenario:

A fan of Coca Cola who lives in New York follows the brand on Twitter. Coke adds that person to its list of “East Coast Fans.” Coke is getting ready to roll out a special branded product in East Coast stores only, and wants to get the word out; the brand populates a DM and sends it out to its East Coast list.

Now the marketing masterminds at Coke can immediately track which of its followers clicked over to the new product’s landing page, shared the news (and how, when and where) and more. And if the New York Coke lover gets annoyed, eventually, with what is perceived as spam, a simple “unfollow” does the trick, just like an “unsubscribe.” Best part: he can still get Coke’s tweets, sans DMs, by adding it to a Twitter list!

Pretty nifty, huh? Thanks to Jeff Gibbard for the line of thinking.

(Phone image from Shutterstock)