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Are we in danger of oversharing?

Some might say we live in a world of oversharing. You can find just about anything on your social feed - from what your friend ate for lunch to a video of a squirrel getting drunk on fermented pumpkin.

We share unique content (like this blog post) and we share frequently because we're positively reinforced with "favorites", "likes" or an increase of new followers. It becomes a cycle, a lifestyle.

But does this trend carry over to email marketing? Just what is social sharing in email and how effective is it?

Mixed reviews

If you've researched social sharing in the past, you may have seen mixed results across studies. One recent study showed that including links to share on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter generated a 115% higher CTR (click-through-rate) than emails without an option to share.

But another study, by MarketingSherpa, suggests that social sharing buttons are not as effective.

So should we or shouldn't we add social buttons? The answer is that it depends on both your audience and the content that's being shared.

Know your audience

Always have your audience and your end goal in mind. Producing highly relevant, quality content will always be the best motivator for customers to share.

On the flip side, social sharing buttons can eat away at traffic or conversions if you aren't careful. If the goal of the email is to increase blog traffic, you may want to consider having social sharing buttons that directly promote the highlighted blog post.

Or, if you're aiming to drive sign-ups through social, provide a direct link to the landing page for users to share.

Having users refer your product to a friend is much more organic, with the added value of social proof. In return, it guarantees that you're able to attract those with similar interests to your most engaged customers.

Additionally, if you're simply looking to drive exposure on social, you can consider adding "Follow Us" buttons instead. I use these in my own email campaigns and have seen 20% of click-throughs attributed to social media follows.

So always have a specific ask and work to integrate all parts of the email towards that one goal.

Getting social with it

There are a few ways to add social sharing buttons into your email.

Most template editors allow you to drag and drop in pre-made social sharing buttons. For a more customised approach, you can code your own button. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have documentation with pre-made code you can use.

Twitter's Tweet Button allows you to craft a personalised message for your contact list to share. The Facebook button may be a little bit trickier for the non-developer to pick up, but is also highly customisable.

Social sharing buttons have the potential to be highly impactful,providing a high ROI for the time it takes to create and integrate them into your email templates.

Copyright © 2015 Amir Jirbandeyis marketing lead UK at Mailjet.

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