Unless you've just spilled a few million gallons of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico, increasing the amount of social media chatter about your brand is unequivocally beneficial, because it can help drive sales. You should consider every mention of your brand for potential use in your email marketing campaigns. Doing so demonstrates to your subscribers that your brand is being seen and heard in this new medium.

Here are five ways to integrate social chatter into your email marketing campaigns.

1. List testimonials and reviews

Gone is the day when to sell a product you had to write a multimillion-dollar check to a celebrity to hold the product up to the video camera for 30 seconds. Social media is weighted in such a way that a celebrity endorsement is not much more powerful than one from your uncle in Peoria. Every positive testimonial and favorable review you receive online holds a remarkable amount of value and should be used to crank up the level of social chatter about your brand. Don't rely only on a copy and paste on your Facebook wall. Include a variety of sites, such as Yelp, Epinions, and Amazon.

2. Gather and promote "tweetimonials"
Just because a testimonial is in the form of a 140-character tweet does not mean that it carries less promotional heft than a three-page review in a leading online publication. The social media sphere treasures brevity; therefore, a tweet that waxes poetic about your product can be more effective in gaining brand converts than a voluminous tome.

Integrate an anthology of your testimonial tweets, or tweetimonials, into your email campaign, and get ready to watch the positive reaction unfold in social media.

3. Check out Web forums

Forum comments are a prime place to gather positive posts related to your brand. It seems that every established forum contains a rarefied, elite constellation of star gurus, and if one of them comments on your product or service, that is an endorsement that can powerfully drive sales. Any approving forum post is valuable to your brand, so they all merit a listing. Or, better yet, link to them in your email marketing content.

4. Link to positive blog posts

The blogosphere is vast. Someone, somewhere, is discussing your brand right now. Locate blog entries in which the blogger focuses on your product positively, and work it into your email marketing promotions via a listing or a link.

These blog posts might take the form of a review or a comment as to how your brand had some relevance to or impact on the blogger's life, but any positive mention provides the social media veneer of credibility and endorsement of your brand.

5. Create a basic video

If you haven't yet taken the step into video promotion, now is the time. With the advent of semi-professional video capabilities in devices costing just a few hundred dollars, the process of introducing and reviewing a product in a fully audio/visual presentation is now within anyone's reach.

Strive for professionalism, because an amateurish video can backfire and devalue your brand. You're also not stuck with just posting it amid millions of others on YouTube and hoping that someone will see it by sheer chance. Once you review your video and you're happy with it, set it up with an attractive email template and send it off as a video email to your list!

* * *

It would be a mistake to take the "kitchen sink" approach and plunk all manner of social media mentions into a single email. A powerful and effective alternative is to implement a drip email campaign into which social media chatter is integrated. It builds the impression among your subscribers that your brand is a major social media player.

Ryan Gillen
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