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5 Tips for Using Social Media to Build Your Opt-In List

The immense popularity of social networks have been some of the most exciting new directions for PR and marketing that I have experienced. Many don't do it effectively. Read a few tips that will help.
Written Nov 18, 2010, read 710 times since then.


5 Tips for Using Social Media to Build Your Opt-In List

The immense popularity of social networks, and the meteoric rise in the last few years of social media marketing, have been some of the most exciting new directions for PR and marketing that I have experienced.

That is why I jumped on board the social media marketing train over a year ago…it has been a huge boon to my performance-based PR business.

But in spite of the many extraordinary opportunities in social media marketing, one drawback I’ve found is the speed with which one can be forgotten. Even the social-media savvy may struggle to stay in front of and remain memorable in the minds of their friends, followers, connections and fellow group members.

The truth is that being an active and diligent social media marketer, posting and participating with consistent frequency, does not guarantee your messages are going to be seen by everyone you would like to reach. And it’s understandable…people are busy. Some log on to their social networks at different times of day than when you happen to be on, others get involved only sporadically, while some group participants may only check in to see what’s happening in their group every few weeks.

Tweets are here and gone in a flash. If your posts are not showing up in someone’s news feed or social network home page when they happen to log on, your only hope for that person to see your communication is for them to find you interesting and memorable enough to regularly visit YOUR profile to see what you’re up to. Sadly, more often than not, the majority of your prized connections are probably missing your posts.

My solution for this dilemma is to support my social media marketing with traditional email marketing activities. This one-two punch has been a very valuable approach for me: social media marketing has enabled me to increase my email list by thousands with those on the list continuously receiving my newsletters that carry my message.

Each week I email my newsletter containing my articles with tips on how to use PR to promote your business to my mailing list. (I have actually been sending these weekly emails since email became a common means of business communication and prior to email I was sending faxes!)

Unlike my social media efforts, I know that everyone on that mailing list sees my email in their inbox, at the very least. Some read and respond with feedback or a request for information about our services, while others forward it to their own lists.

My newsletter helps my social media contacts remember me and what I do, and this has led directly to many new business relationships. Indirectly, I frequently receive referrals from the members of my opt-in list. And I always enjoy the times when someone from my list, who has been quietly receiving my emails for years without responding, finally reaches out for my professional help and becomes a client!

That is the real reward of combining your email and social media marketing efforts.

So how do you do this? The trick is a strategy to turn your social media followers into opt-in newsletter recipients.

Here are five tips for using social media to build your opt-in list:

  1. Join Targeted Groups and Post Effective Discussions. Within your social networks, choose the groups wisely in which you will participate, focusing on groups that are active and contain your target market. You should post discussions to demonstrate your professional expertise and drive people to your website, taking care to make your headlines short and interesting. Making the headline for your post a question is an effective attention-getter, or using wording containing phrases like “tips for” or “strategies for,” also works very well. Be sure to post a paragraph-long teaser in the discussion body telling people what helpful information you have to share and include a link to your website where they can read it in full. Close with a question for the reader or a statement soliciting feedback. When readers comment, your post will remain at the top of the group list where more people can see it.
  2. Make Sure your Website is “Opt-in” Friendly. Make sure your opt-in form is prominent throughout your website, with a message telling visitors that when they sign up for your list they will receive helpful information as opposed to spam. You can also include incentives to help encourage people to opt-in. E-books work nicely.
  3. Invite Every One…But Don’t Pester! Every time you get a friend request or a new follower, send a message introducing yourself and include an invitation (with the link to your site’s opt-in form) to sign up for the helpful information you send to your list. If the new connection does not immediately respond, don’t message them again with a repeat of your invitation. If they didn’t take the bait through the initial invitation, you’ll have plenty of chances to win them over as they continue to see the wealth of information you have to share.
  4. Be Direct…But Not Too Often. If you have a helpful and valuable incentive to offer, occasionally post updates inviting your friends and followers to go get it! Keep in mind you are treading a thin line with this type of post, so make sure they are infrequent and are mixed in with many posts that are completely non-promotional in nature. You don’t want to be considered “that guy” who’s just there to promote to people.
  5. Be Consistent in Your Social Networking! The key to making points 1 – 4 above really work for you is to stay active in your networks and groups. If you are only an occasional visitor, you might as well “stay home.” In order to reap the rewards of these strategies, post often and wisely, and pay attention to your group members.

Participation in social networks can be enjoyable and rewarding, so start posting and have fun!


Publicity and Public Relations 
Wesley Chapel, Florida 
Marsha Friedman

Marsha Friedman is a 20-year PR veteran and the CEO of EMSI Public Relations ( a firm providing PR services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms.

Learn more about the author, Marsha Friedman.

Comment on this article

  • Asistant 
New York, New York 
Kimblerivera Ben
    Posted by Kimblerivera Ben, New York, New York | Nov 20, 2010

    Thank you for giving this important tips and I promise I will never forget this tips in future. thanks a lot. BodyQuick

  • Indexer | Technical Writer | Editor | Environmental & Town Planner 
Bellevue, Washington 
Paul Sweum
    Posted by Paul Sweum, Bellevue, Washington | Nov 21, 2010

    Great advice marketing can be a bit of a rusty wire to walk. Your article is a reminder of how we need to carefully plan and strategize our online campaigns, and not scare off potential clients.

  • IT Consulting, IT Support 
Seattle, Washington 
James Murray
    Posted by James Murray, Seattle, Washington | Nov 23, 2010

    Thanks Marsha,

    I've been in computers and technology for 18 years, but social media is a tough one. Not because it's difficult to understand, the technology is pretty easy. Rather because as an introvert I find the "social" part difficult to catch onto.

    I appreciate your insights.

    I think your news letter idea is great. I am wondering about your news letter strategy? Does everyone get the same series of news letters? Do you have a system of qualifying people on your newsletter list? Do you have a seperate list for clients vs non-clients?

    Thanks again for your article, I really enjoyed it

    James Murray

  • Publicity and Public Relations 
Wesley Chapel, Florida 
Marsha Friedman
    Posted by Marsha Friedman, Wesley Chapel, Florida | Nov 23, 2010

    Kimblerivera and Paul, I am so glad you both enjoyed the article and tips, and more importantly that you feel you're able to apply it.

    James, excellent questions! No, not everyone gets the same newsletter. I try to categorize the public into major groups and send a general message to those groups. I don't qualify people who want to receive my newsletter in any way, other than to determine which category they would best be suited for. Yes, I keep a separate list of clients and non-clients, and will only send the same message when it would apply to both.

    Happy Holidays to all! :)