Social media has had a powerful impact on entrepreneurs' email marketing strategies. In just a few years, email marketing has been transformed into a fully interactive symbiotic conversation, enhanced through a number of social networking platforms. To paraphrase an Oldsmobile commercial: "This isn't your father's email marketing."
Critical mass seems to be one of the most important social networking engagement factors, but surprisingly the two most popular social networks seem to have diametrically opposed results when it comes to determining the ratio of email subscribers to Facebook Likes and Twitter followers.
Large lists result in more than 20 times the Likes of smaller ones
When an email list size of over one million is considered, the number of Facebook Likes is 20:1, providing 50 Likes per thousand. When the list size drops down to between a quarter of a million and one million email addresses, the ratio plummets to 95:1, or 10.5 Likes per thousand.
As the lists get smaller, the difficulty in obtaining Likes keeps diminishing, with 160:1, or 6.25 Likes per thousand being reported for lists between 100,000 and a quarter million, and a bare 450:1 or 2.2 Likes per thousand for the lists which contain fewer than 100,000 email addresses.
The larger your list, the fewer your Twitter followers
These figures are essentially reversed when Twitter followers are considered instead of Facebook Likes. The number of Twitter followers is 470:1 for lists of over one million subscribers, therefore providing a mere 2.1 followers per thousand. When the next smallest list size of between a quarter of a million and one million is considered, the ratio increases to 280:1, or 3.6 followers per thousand.
As the lists get smaller those followers oddly enough increase, with 100:1, or 10 followers per thousand for lists between 100,000 and a quarter million, and a surprisingly high 40:1 or 25 followers per thousand for the lists which contain fewer than 100,000 email addresses.
Large lists are the key to piling up those Facebook approvals, with companies with lists of a million being able to count on an impressive 50,000 Likes, but the smaller brands are the ones who tend to rack up Twitter followers, with those email marketers possessing lists of less than 100,000 individuals oddly having more followers than those who have a million addresses: not just in ratio, but in total number. One million email subscribers only gets you a total of 2,100 followers on Twitter while 100,000 nets you 2,500!
The social media dichotomy between harmony and anarchy
These results may seem just as counterintuitive as the aspects of quantum physics which state that the more you know about where a particle is, the less you know where it's headed and vice versa. However, there seems to be some method to this madness, and it can be largely attributed to a dichotomy inherent in the tendencies of different segments of social networkers towards harmony versus anarchy.
Small niche brands appeal to particular social networkers
Large brands with huge email lists tend to have well defined corporate personas and have committed considerable budgets to achieving a seamless Facebook identity. The engagement and coherence displayed in the Facebook presence is alluring to Likers who are more "like"-ly to register their approval. The Twitter follower is generally more interested in personal off-the-cuff points of view originating from flamboyant or notable individuals rather than the controlled public relations stream emanating from relatively uniform corporations.
Smaller list holders are more likely to be niche players and thus appeal to more individual consumers than the mass market appeal of the multinational corporations. Due to their more restrained budgets and capabilities, their Facebook presence suffers in comparison, so the Likes they are able to accumulate fall short of the big guys.
Young entrepreneurs have an inherent advantage in that they have come of age in a social networking world and thus can have a built-in understanding of the platform which corporate giants may lack. Leveraging this asset can augment your marketing strategy to give you that critical edge over the competition.
Denise Keller is COO and founding partner of Benchmark Email, one of the world’s leading email marketing services for small businesses. Read more about Denise here.