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Published on October 14th, 2009 | by Janine Popick

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Email Being Replaced by Social Networks? Not So Fast Wall St. Journal

WSJ Why Email No Longer Rules...The Wall Street Journal recently published the story, Why Email No Longer Rules. The writer, Jessica E. Vascellaro, talks a lot about the increasing number of people jumping on the social media bandwagon, and how that could have a negative effect on the way people use email today. Are people jumping on the social media bandwagon? You betcha! And why not? It’s free, easy to use, and you can communicate to the masses. But are they using email less? Nielsen doesn’t seem to think so in some recent research they’ve done.

So I started thinking about how this is the antithesis of what we’ve been seeing in our own customers businesses, and I really wanted to write about it. However, ME writing about it seems somewhat self-serving, since well, I run an email marketing company.

Then I got an EMAIL forwarded to me that Chris Crum over at WebProNews had come to the rescue and already wrote about all of the things I’ve been thinking about relating to how consumers are using email and social media.

So here is Chris’s story “10 Reasons Social Media isn’t Replacing Email.”

I decided to add my own $.02 about how marketers feel about this article: 10 More Reasons Why Social Media Won’t Replace Email.

11. Twitter and Facebook are fantastic products and companies; but that’s what they are, companies. Even though email is host to 279 million users vs. 301 million users of social media according to Nielsen, email isn’t going anywhere soon with many companies offering it as a service. Twitter and Facebook are just two companies that likely make up most of the social media users.

12. Your email recipients are still going to use business email for business purposes. They’ll not likely let their boss know that they’ve finished the spreadsheet and are ready for the meeting now by posting to Twitter. If they don’t use their business email address they probably also have a personal email account that they like to receive your email-only specials.

13. You can’t easily segment your friends and followers to do targeted marketing in Twitter & Facebook for the optimal response.

14. You can’t tell who clicked on a link with some social media outlets so that you can follow up with them again because they might be interested in your content.

15. That said, you can’t tell who didn’t click on the link so you can follow up with them with a different message trying to get them to take action.

16. You cannot personalize your Facebook updates. This has been proven to boost response in any marketing campaign you do.

17. You cannot size your graphics or use more than one in Facebook. You can’t use them at all in Twitter. Graphics help tell a story.

18. You can’t track how many clicks you got on your links in Facebook unless you use a third party URL shortener.

19. You are limited to 140 characters in Twitter leaving it impossible to put multiple messages in one Tweet.

20. You almost have to have separate social media accounts for your business and your personal life. Some customers might not care about that vacation you took where you…let’s just say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Am I against the use of social media as a marketing tool? Hell no! I love it. I’ve written about how Twitter & email marketing work together, and I’ve written how to use Facebook to grow your email lists. I’ve also written about how to post your email marketing campaign to your Twitter and Facebook pages to get more readers of your newsletters because I feel that these are two mediums that complement each other very nicely. Why? Because no one is going away from email anytime soon, and people are using social media as well. What are you seeing?

© 2009 – 2013, Janine Popick. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

is a contributing author for VerticalResponse.



9 Responses to Email Being Replaced by Social Networks? Not So Fast Wall St. Journal

  1. vincev says:

    Social media sites can increase your traffic, and customers, but its “HARD” to keep them through it.
    I am not so much in the business side, but I am a blogger of a religious blog. I am experiencing a contant but little by little growth through emails, not through social media sites.
    Emails are really great “relationship” makers while social media sites are not.
    Combination of emails and social media site is a powerful. And I think both have its own use, but not replacing one another.
    http://wsmuniversity.blogspot.com
    http://thedisciplers.com

  2. Jerry says:

    I have not seen my business gain a lot of ground with the social sites yet but i still use them just the same and i try to be social.
    I don’t think e-mail will go anywhere soon.

  3. I don’t think it’s an either / or situation because there are opportunities to link email and social media. Incorporating social components into your email campaigns can increase opportunities for engagement and viral marketing among your target market. So when you do segment email lists for optimal response, you can tell which audience segment is responding based on the message being shared online virally. Also important to note that the use of social media is completely moot if your target audience doesn’t communicate via that channel. Some people prefer email communications.

  4. Krystyna says:

    Speaking as a longtime web marketer who’s seen the landscape change over the years, I’ll say that while social media may be making inroads into the online marketing arena, it’s only in limited areas (youth demographic retail, for example), while an email blast is more useful for a greater number of people. Personally, I discourage my professional clients from taking too much stock in social networking, as it could backfire and cheapen their brand. Just as an editorial, I think Twitter is the “latest flavor” and will wane in popularity with time. I tend to agree with the recent media backlash. It, too, has limited use as a markting tool.

  5. JohnR says:

    The numbers are skewed. The only way there can be more social media accounts than email addresses is if one email address is used for several social media accounts. I have have only 1 social media accounts, but I do have 6 email addresses, so you can never be sure, there’s just no way to know.

  6. wbw_Jeff says:

    I read the article and the writer was perhaps a bit overly dramatic and condescending towards email. But I don’t think she was saying that email was dead or being phased out. She said that the usage was changing. For example, ten years ago an email that said ‘Running 15 minutes late – start meeting without me’ would have been viable but it isn’t today because it is better as a text message. The long email discussion threads are probably best done via social media now. I think we would be wise to acknowledge that the use of email will continue to change over time. 70 years after television we still have radio but nobody uses it to listen to half hour dramatizations anymore.
    That being said, all of this talk about email being dead is really just annoying. When you sign up for the internet the first thing you get is an email address, you don’t get a Facebook account. If there really are 301 MM social media users and 279MM email users I’d like to know how the other 22MM signed up for their social media account without using their email account first.

  7. joe says:

    This part of the WSJ piece cracked me up: “Now, we are always connected, whether we are sitting at a desk or on a mobile phone. The always-on connection, in turn, has created a host of new ways to communicate that are much faster than email, and more fun.”
    There is this thing called mobile email, and companies like RIM and Apple have done a pretty good job with it…

  8. pete james says:

    There is a risk in marketers looking like luddites in decrying the idea that email is dying. In fact it isn’t – the usage is merely altering. For example I use email as a central point for communications between other platforms, so I can use it to be alerted to changes on facebook etc.
    BTW, twitter is a nasty little runt of a tool with rules that are arbitrarily imposed and no responsibility taken for decisions made. It is a truly horrid service and turns off far too many people with it’s faceless operation and dire limitations. It needs to change or it will soon fall away.

  9. wbw_Jeff says:

    I’m an e-newsletter publisher (and a Vertical Response client) so I’m probably not objective either. I would point you to this post from Blue State Digital about the strength of email vs social media. They favor email. And they know a little bit about using social media — last year they got their client Barack Obama elected as President. Here is their take:
    http://www.bluestatedigital.com/blog/entry/email-isnt-dead/

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