How email marketing and social media work together for good

Email marketing and social media are two of the most powerful marketing tools for growing your audience and building your brand.

On their own, they have strengths and weaknesses, but together they can help supercharge engagement and build your subscribers list.

They’re like the Batman and Robin of marketing. Email is older but still highly effective like Batman, while social media is younger and full of energy like Robin. Alone, Batman is an awesome superhero, but with Robin, they are the dynamic duo!

The point is that email marketing and social media are best when they work together to build your email list, grow your audience and increase the reach of your email content.

In this ultimate guide, we’re going to show you:

  • The differences between email marketing and social media, and why they are both important for your content marketing strategy
  • How to build your email list and get email content shared via social media
  • How to build your social media with email marketing

Social media is one of your most effective digital marketing channels. Each platform offers different advantages depending on your target audience.

  • Facebook: Unparalleled targeting to over 1 billion active users
  • Twitter: Timely word-of-mouth promotion that can quickly gain momentum 
  • Pinterest: Very high user engagement and a track record of converting more viewers into buyers (as there are fewer steps to purchase compared with other social media platforms)
  • Instagram: Visual marketing features with ads and stories, as well as the potential for user-generated content
  • LinkedIn: Target B2B prospects from specific companies through ads, networking and content 
  • YouTube: High conversions and engagement rates, with 84% of people saying they have purchased a product or service after watching a brand video
👉 Tip:

When deciding on social media platforms, think about your target audience. Where do they have the strongest online presence? For example, artists may choose to focus on Instagram, small businesses might be more active on Pinterest, and larger brands might use Twitter.

Why is social media so great? Because it allows you to find and attract your target audience in a way that no other channel can compete with. You can drive traffic, build brand awareness, increase your organic reach, and improve conversion rates. Over 65% of marketers saw lead generation benefits, after investing 6 hours per week in social media marketing. Social media is a powerful way to grow your audience and should be part of every business’s marketing strategy. 


While social media is about casting a wide net to find more people, email marketing is the personal communication channel that helps you turn those people into long-term customers. A well-planned email marketing strategy is critical for your business, because: 

  • It's the only marketing channel that gives you a direct communication line to individuals, and you control the entire experience
  • You can send tailored (targeted) marketing content to different customers
  • It brings your marketing efforts together on one platform, where you can share all of your other marketing content, such as podcasts, articles and promotions
  • You can A/B test your ideas and measure your success with stats and analytics
  • Email campaigns have a long lifespan in your target audience’s inboxes, keeping your marketing email top of mind for longer
  • It offers a cost-effective solution for your email marketing campaign, so that you can reach a large volume of subscribers

With email marketing, you can offer promotions, increase brand awareness and guide your customers through your conversion funnel. And if you’re looking for a better ROI (return on investment), email generates $38 for every $1 spent. Not bad, eh? 

👉 Tip:

Choose an email marketing service provider that offers easy-to-use design features, email automation and campaign tracking at a price that doesn’t break the bank. Like us, for example! You can find out more about MailerLite and our features here.


Comparing social media and email marketing is like fishermen arguing over which is better—a net or a fishing pole. It is not worth comparing because the tools serve different purposes. Social media is like the net; you can catch a lot of fish, but only some of them can be sold. Email marketing is like the fishing pole. You can add the right kind of bait to attract the right fish, but it won’t yield a huge catch. 

That’s why social media and email should work well together. To help you think through your strategy, here are some of the key benefits of each channel:

Email marketing

  1. You own your email list, no matter what. Your social media account can be deleted at any time. 
  2. You can use personalization and have a direct relationship with your subscribers. 
  3. Automated emails can reach people at exactly the right time. 
  4. 77% of marketers say that email marketing is one of their most valued digital marketing channels.
  5. The average weekly signups for email newsletters have increased by 34.9% since March 2020, suggesting that email marketing is more effective than ever. 

Social media

  1. You can find millions of like-minded people and potential customers who are willing to connect with you and your business. 
  2. You can make broad-reaching announcements to all of your followers, with the potential to go ‘viral’. 
  3. You can host events and real-time dialogues around different topics. 
  4. 21% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands they can reach on social media.
  5. 73% of marketers think that social media is ‘somewhat effective’ or ‘very effective’ in their content marketing strategy.

Combining email marketing and social media will supercharge your content marketing strategy. And as we’re about to find out, they work better when they’re together.

Email vs. social media inbox icon vs social icons - MailerLite

There is one major difference between your email subscribers and your social media connections—you don’t own your social media audience.

You might have thousands of followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook, but you don’t have their email addresses. You can wake up one morning to find that your Facebook was deleted. That's exactly what happened to MailerLite. 

Without email addresses, those people that you worked so hard to find will be gone forever.

Integrating email and social media inbox icons - MailerLite

You need to gain control of your social media audience by converting them into subscribers.

The good news is that your social media audience already likes you. Convincing them to subscribe to your email list should be easier than converting a total stranger. That said, you still need to show what’s in it for them.


8 ideas to build your email list with social media

Social media is your portal to the outside world. If you harness its power correctly, then you can encourage your Facebook fans, LinkedIn friends and Instagram followers to also become your email subscribers. Here’s how you do it. 

1. Create specialty groups 

Private group on sites like LinkedIn and Facebook are good ways to narrow down your audience by interest, and then offer them something of value for joining the group. When they join the group, they must opt-in with their email. This is a long-term approach that takes some time and dedication, but you will find like-minded people while building a subscriber list with a specific segment.

Specialty groups 3 grey blocks - MailerLite

2. Add links to your social profile

Instead of adding your homepage to your profile, you can include a link to an incentive with a call-to-action (CTA) that sends the person to an opt-in landing page. As always, make sure the offer is compelling and relevant to your audience. This works well on Instagram and Pinterest. For LinkedIn, you can create a rich media post within your profile to ask people to subscribe. 

Linking your social profile instagram - MailerLite

3. Insert forms directly into Facebook 

Mailerlite’s Facebook integration allows you to place sign-up forms on your Facebook pages. Just including the form might yield a few sign-ups, but try running a promotion or adding an incentive to drive a lot of subscribers. These forms are nice because people don’t have to leave Facebook and interrupt their experience.

Facebook newsletter embedded signup example - MailerLite

4. Post a promotion that links to a landing page

After you come up with a killer incentive to entice sign-ups, create a unique landing page and post it on all your social accounts like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. It’s basically like creating small ads to promote your campaign. It’s easy to build a custom landing page in MailerLite. The hard part is coming up with an offer that will get people excited.

Landing page link example facebook

5. Launch a paid ad campaign

If you have a budget and are serious about building your list, you can take the idea of posting an incentive and amplify it by paying for exposure, such as Facebook ads, for example. Social media is a very effective advertising platform. If you have the money to spend, it is worth giving social media ads a try. It might be smart to test your offers first with your existing audience, and then use the best performing incentive for the paid campaign. Check out our article on using Facebook video ads to grow your email list to learn more!

Facebook ads example on mobile

6. Host a Facebook Live or Instagram Live session

Create a live online event on social media, where you share tips and tricks about your industry. This gives your audience a taste of the content you share. At the end of the session, pitch your free PDF guide or handout, which they can access by sharing their email address.

Instagram live example on mobile - MailerLite

7. Start a social media contest

A competition is a great way to collect email addresses. Use your social media accounts to publicize the giveaway or contest, and include a link to a landing page where people can sign up for a chance to win. Contests have a conversion rate of 34%, so they are definitely worth considering!

thank you Giveaway example on mobile instagram - mailerlite

8. Use social media influencers

Influencer marketing is where companies partner with popular social media influencers to enhance their brand awareness. This is a growing content marketing trend, and this year 17% of marketers plan to spend over half their budget on influencers.

Influencers example motorcycle

Your social media audiences are connected to you for a reason—they want to engage with you. They are low-hanging fruit just waiting to become subscribers. But it doesn’t happen by just slapping a signup form in front of them.

Figure out what they care about and give them a compelling reason to sign up. If you can figure out those two things, your social media channels will become an amazing source of new subscribers. And when you have social media followers that are also subscribers, your email content will start reaching a lot more people as they share it.


How to get people to share your email marketing content

Email marketing is personal. It allows you to talk directly to your subscribers. While this is extremely powerful, it is also limited to the number of people on your list. How can you get your content in front of more people?

Encourage them to share it on social media!

Every newsletter should always include social icons. If you are not doing this now, it is an important best practice that you need to start. Allowing your readers to instantly share your content on their social media of choice is an easy opportunity to increase your reach and perhaps pick up new subscribers. Here’s more on how you can do social media posts in emails the right way. 

Social media posts embedded in emails screen

That said, simply including the social icons is not enough to persuade your subscribers to share the newsletter. People are accustomed to seeing those social icons everywhere. The icons are not direct CTAs.

If you want people to share your email content, ask them to share it in your messaging. People sometimes need a friendly reminder and a compelling reason to take action.

Ten ways to create content that people want to share 

If you want people to share a newsletter or a piece of email content, you need to make it worthy of sharing.

Merely asking your readers to share something will never work if the content is not valuable. They are putting their reputation on the line by sharing your content. What people share says a lot about who they are and what they think.

How do you create shareable content?

1. Compelling visuals

Include visual content like infographics and video. Video is the most shared form of content on social media. Of course, it has to be interesting.

2. Reinforce beliefs

Tap into shared beliefs of your subscribers. Create content that will reinforce your reader’s opinions, which will motivate them to pass it on.

3. Reward sharing

Our actions are driven by incentives. Offer rewards for sharing your content such as giveaways, sweepstakes or even something as simple as recognition.

4. Help others

Make your content extremely useful. Perhaps it is a ‘how-to’ e-book or information on a new tool that directly impacts your audience. People love helping others.

5. Stay positive

Keep the content fun and positive. People like to share content that arouses happy emotions or evokes curiosity.

6. Looks matter

Your content must look great. It must be easy to read and visually pleasing. People don’t share ugly content. MailerLite provides templates and tools to design beautiful newsletters.

7. Peer pressure

People share content that other people have validated. Try adding social icons with share counts so readers can see how many times the content has already been shared.

8. Be authentic

Create content that tells your story and shows who you are. The more authentic you are, the more your content will resonate with your subscribers… and the more likely they’ll be to hit ‘share’!

9. Start a conversation

People are more likely to share something if they feature in it. Ask your audience to share their stories, opinions or reviews, and then publish it in your email newsletter (with their permission of course)!

10. Keep an eye on trends

Create your content around hot topics. When you maximize on trending content, people will tune in and be more likely to share it.


How to grow social media with email marketing

The beauty of social media is that it can sometimes feel like a party. Lots of like-minded people getting together to share their thoughts and have a discussion about common interests.

There are plenty of people on your subscriber list that would love to be part of one of these social events for your brand, but there is only one problem—they weren’t invited.

This is where email marketing can help increase your followers and keep everyone engaged over time. By developing dedicated campaigns that promote your social channels and invite your subscribers to participate, you can boost your social engagement.

Social media companies already use email marketing to keep their users engaged. Did you know that Facebook is one of the world’s largest email marketers? Update emails get their users back to Facebook. They know that more engagement equals more loyal users.

Facebook email invite friends

Take a page from their playbook and keep your subscribers connected to your brand’s social media by reminding them via email.

This is especially important for your inactive subscribers. It is possible that those people like your brand, but don’t like newsletters. Get them back by inviting them to your social media events. Take a look at our article on email list management, if you want to learn more about staying on top of your subscribers list. 


Use your email list to supercharge Facebook advertising

Did you know that you can import your email list into Facebook?

Facebook's advertising platform has two unique ways to leverage your email list—Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences.

For Custom Audiences, you import your email list and Facebook automatically matches the people on your list to their Facebook profiles. This way, you can start engaging them on Facebook and remarketing to them.

For Lookalike Audiences, Facebook takes your email list, matches it with your subscribers’ profiles and then find people similar to your subscribers. Imagine sending a message asking people, who are just like your subscribers, to subscribe to your newsletter.

Your email list basically supercharges Facebook’s algorithms to target your ideal audience.


Blurring the lines between social media and email marketing

The best approach to email and social media is to plan ahead and anticipate ways that you can use the two channels in unison to get the most out of each in your marketing campaign.

One way to create a holistic campaign is to plan an event, such as a webinar, on social media and then develop content around the event that you distribute through email.

You can also incorporate automation triggers that encourage subscriber engagement with social media.

Let’s say a subscriber ‘liked’ a blog post on your site. An automatic email could then be sent asking the subscriber to share the blog on Twitter or Linkedin.

When you blur the line between social media and email marketing, you can leverage the strengths of both channels to build a better experience for your subscribers.


Remember, email marketing and social media are like Batman and Robin. They are both fine crime fighters on their own, but together they are an unstoppable force that keeps Gotham City safe.

In the same way, your email marketing and social media efforts should work together to help grow your subscribers, attract a bigger audience, and increase exposure of your content.