Now that we’ve fully moved into the Roaring Twenties Redux, let’s leave one marketing myth behind: that social media is killing email as a core communications channel. Instead, the channel starting to feel the heat from social is – surprise – search engines! Fortunately for marketers looking for a way to fill the gap, the inbox can provide a surprising and effective way to continue reaching consumers right at the moment they’re looking to buy.

Granted, Google and its 90% share of the search market isn’t going away anytime soon. Amazon, the half of the major search duopoly, now claims around 50% of new product searches. 

But consumers are spending more time in social media – an average 2 hours and 11 minutes a day in 2019. So, it’s not hard to grasp that more than 25% of product searches, especially those looking for recommendations and reviews, are happening in social media channels instead of search engines and other sources. That figure increases steadily the younger the audience gets, so this is especially big news for brands looking to target younger generations.

Embedded live social feeds direct shoppers to the right place with the right message

Email marketers can jump on this growing preference for social searching by integrating live social feeds within email messages to give customers a heads-up on what everybody else either searches for or recommends. That could include feeds from sites typically considered well beneath the ‘social network’ umbrella like Twitter and Facebook, but also content pulled from sites that aggregate user-contributed reviews and comments (think Yelp, BazaarVoice, or even Glassdoor!).

Brand and retail sites rank in the low single digits as a consumer’s first choice for product searches. A dynamic content platform that seamlessly embeds live feeds from social channels into your emails and elsewhere can deliver more curious shoppers directly to your site or desired landing page.

Social proof reassures shoppers, drives email activity

Increasing site visits and sales is one benefit of adding social media feeds to your emails. But building trust is another important byproduct of adding a social feed to your emails.

Your customers want to be confident that they’re buying the right products from the right brands and getting a fair deal. So, they seek proof that if other people have bought and recommended a certain product or service, it must be right. 

They find it in Facebook recommendations, Pinterest pins and customer reviews, ratings and recommendations. Using “social proof” in this manner is a powerful and time-honored marketing tactic to boost conversions from risk-averse consumers; and it can work in email, too.

Adding a live feed from a product review and recommendation service, such as Bazaarvoice, can also benefit your email performance. Just check out this awesome example from Flight Centre:

“Adding reviews from real customers who’ve used your product is a great way to increase your email click-through rate,” Campaign Monitor wrote when describing how clients add social proof to their emails via a social feed. 

“By showing customer reviews in their campaigns, Franklin Rd reassures potential listeners that clicking through and checking out the albums is worth their time. This element of social proof, combined with other information and visuals like the album cover, increases the chances that people will click through and drives conversions.”

Getting started with live social feeds

Adding live social feeds to your emails can be more complicated than you might thing. You want to be able to trust that the content they pull in is authentic and positive – even great products and brands can get the odd negative review. Make sure to use a tool capable of filtering content that matches with the mission of your message and campaign. Want to see how easy it can be? We’d love to show you how easy it is to get started!

Content really is king today. For proof, consider that marketing teams and companies that embrace the right content marketing approach tend to succeed on many levels.

First, these companies distinguish themselves as true thought leaders and stand apart with their ability to provide the very latest news and information. At the same time, they do a great job of giving their audience a steady flow of helpful content that informs, educates, and guides them toward the right decision.

(Sidebar: It is important to note that successful content marketing strategies are not overly promotional or salesy. The same can be said for the best email marketing campaigns, which is a topic we recently covered in a blog article that showed how helping customers and prospects can improve your bottom line.)

But let’s face it. Asking busy marketing teams to constantly churn out high-quality, creative, and relevant content just isn’t realistic. Many companies don’t have full-time content professionals yet, which probably means that their employees have other responsibilities beside content creation. Expecting busy marketers to write a good blog or two “whenever they have downtime,” only leads to decreases in content frequency and quality.

Curating content can help

Fortunately, there is good news. Content curation—the process of finding great content and delivering it in a way that is meaningful and adds value—overcomes these challenges. Using curated content from third-party sources also helps minimize the amount of self-promotion (“me-speak”) brands tend to do, helping to draw consumers in. More, it also enables marketing teams to efficiently maintain their cadence of fresh new content, leading to increased engagement and loyalty.

Yet many companies may believe that curating content presents the same challenge as creating content: namely, that the process will still take too long, especially if employees must now scour the web each day/week in search of new ideas.

Better use of social content

Many leading content curation tools and platforms address this concern by simplifying the process of discovering user-generated content at scale. Marketing teams can search for content or influencers based on hashtags, engagement rates, and other variables. Then, they can creatively publish this content to their own channels, including their website and social media sites.

For example, a retail brand might search for a hashtag related to its clothing to find great photos of influencers wearing its latest fashions and other user-generated content. This content can then be used to create galleries of product imagery, complete with product information and cross-selling offers or promotions.

Curated content in email marketing

Curated content marketing can be delivered in email, too, a strategic approach that is recommended by Forrester Research. In its research report, Empowered Customers Inspire Email Innovation: Your Best Subscribers Will Help You Do More with Email, Forrester advocates co-creating content with your best customers to help you innovate. Examples include instructional videos, input on new store locations, user-submitted photos, game-playing stories, and more.

Liveclicker now offers powerful integrations with leading content curation platforms, Olapic and Curalate within our RealTime Email platform. Liveclicker customers can combine real-time email personalization technology with these integrated solutions to develop and deploy extremely innovative emails that feature user-generated social content.

Not only does this become a unique way to engage consumers and promote products, but using curated social content is enabling today’s innovators to increase brand awareness, email performance, conversions, and sales.

Stay tuned for more information on our social content curation integrations, or as always, visit our website or contact us for more specific details.

Much of digital marketing is about trying to break through the noise and stand out in the crowd. Content marketing – creating content that consumers want to engage with – is a significant focus in B2C industries, but it doesn’t stop there. Offering valuable content is just as important for B2B marketers, and finding effective ways to grab the attention of potential and current clients can have a big impact on your bottom line.

But just because we know it’s important doesn’t mean we do it effectively. The struggle to connect – really connect – with our audiences is a pain point for many organizations, and customizing the ways we communicate to best fit our brands and the people we’re trying to reach isn’t an easy task.

Liveclicker’s LiveSocial experience – now featuring the ability to add real-time LinkedIn posts, as well as Twitter, Facebook and Instragram, right into your emails – makes sharing the excellent content you’re producing simple, and enables you to amplify your social messages while engaging your audience and connecting with their networks. Now, drawing attention to your brand, spreading your message, and generating quality leads can be as easy as one, two three. Let’s review.

Step One: Create Valuable Content

By now, most companies have realized that content marketing is one of the most effective ways of grabbing prospective clients’ attention. Where marketers fall short, however, is creating content that’s actually valuable to consumers. If we’re all “content marketing,” it takes something special to stand out from the crowd. Many pieces of content are just thinly veiled product marketing campaigns. Taking the selling points of your product and formatting them like a blog isn’t engaging or helpful to the consumer, and it won’t be an effective tool for lead generation.

Consider this: The average customer makes it more than halfway through the buying process – about 70% of the way – without ever contacting a sales representative. Imagine that. Potential customers are doing their due diligence before ever contacting a member of your team. What kinds of information are they going to find? Will it be valuable, engaging, and relevant? Will it have actionable steps they can take to grow their business or skills? Will it position your brand as the expert they need to consult, or your product as the solution to one of their pain points? Showing your company’s value through blogging, social media, or other forms of storytelling is incredibly effective – if there’s also something in it for the consumer.

Step Two: Spread your Message

Producing stellar content is just the first step. Once you create it, how are people going to find it? Research by Google and Millward Brown Digital found that 71% of B2B researchers start their search with generic terms. Therefore, focusing on keywords, SEO, and being the answer to people’s questions is key, along with making your content accessible in more places. Enter social media.

LinkedIn is, without a doubt, the most valuable social network for professionals. According to research from HubSpot, LinkedIn is 277% more effective at lead generation than Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn users are often high-level decision-makers, with 91% of executives ranking LinkedIn as their go-to for professionally relevant content. Nearly half of all B2B consumers research vendors by looking at their LinkedIn profile. There’s a huge opportunity for companies to leverage the power of LinkedIn to spread their message and generate quality leads.

Step Three: Keep Credibility at the Forefront

For consumers, it’s not just about finding the content. It’s also about trusting the source. That’s where the true power of social media comes in. A study by LinkedIn revealed that 44% of B2B consumers found potential vendors by looking at shared connections on LinkedIn. People are more likely to engage with content shared by someone they trust than with a brand they aren’t familiar with, and more likely to trust the opinions or reviews of a friend than they are the curated message of a brand. Crafting your message and putting it in a place where your biggest fans can easily access and share it allows you to control what’s being said about your brand while taking advantage of the trust those people have gained within their networks.

Step Four: Bring it all Together with RealTime Email

At Liveclicker, this is on the forefront of our minds, and that’s why we’re excited that RealTime Email empowers you to embed a live feed from your LinkedIn profile right in your email marketing messages, making it easier than ever for your recipients to access and share the quality content you’re producing. For prospect newsletters, for example, you’re giving potential clients direct access to your best content, making it easier for you to control the message of your brand and the information they may find about your solutions.

By giving your clients easy access to your up-to-date LinkedIn feed and its social sharing options you’re able to not only strengthen engagement with them, but also leverage their networks. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, and that’s the purpose of content marketing.

If you’d like to learn more about Liveclicker’s LiveSocial experience in email, please let us know!