The  world of social media has led to significant hype about the possibilities this  emerging channel offers  marketers.  And there is certainly a lot about social media that should get the experienced, informed and enabled marketer salivating. 

Social media is not, however, the first new channel marketers have had to adopt in recent years. We don’t hear much about how practitioners of social marketing can learn from their colleagues operating in other marketing channels, specifically email, which has evolved considerably in the last few years as well.

Here are the top three lessons I think social media marketers can learn from the way email marketing has progressed:

1) Analytics power optimization

Email marketers spend a lot of time looking at data. Increasing open rates, click through rates and ultimately conversions require a detailed examination of the analytics generated from previous campaigns. The average email marketer at a large brand is well versed in how to use data to drive the optimization of future campaigns.

Social media marketers have arguably a more complex job in terms of learning from analytics to optimize campaign performance. There is not just the brand to consumer campaign relationship, such as views and interactions, to study but also social graph activities like conversions driven through the viral mechanics of segments of fans, and much more.

There is a lot of data to access and social marketers need to get better at being analysts if they are to improve brand results and secure additional funds for social investments.

2) Profile fans over the long-term

Perhaps the key learning for social marketers is how others specializing in email have learned: it is essential to track how individuals interact with campaigns over time. This profiling allows marketers to perform segmentation, which leads to better campaign performance.

Social marketers need to do the same.

Profiling fans over time allows marketers to build a picture of who their fans are, as well as how they interact with the brands, campaigns and content. Perhaps more importantly, marketers can track how fans are influencing their friends, which can lead to building a picture of real world advocates, rather than having to rely on theoretical influence measurements such as Klout scores.

3) Integration unlocks value

Email marketers have discovered campaign results, as well as fan profiling, works best if you can track the user journey outside of just email. Integration with web analytics packages provides further data on user actions, not just to ascertain campaign conversion success but also deepen prospect profiling for future targeting and segmentation.

Social marketing can collect lots of data, arguably far more than email marketing, because of the connectivity to the social graph – but this data should not exist in a silo. Feeding social data to an organization’s core marketing database will add rich insight and intelligence to all  marketing channels. 

So, social marketers, next time you pass the desk of your colleague who runs email marketing, make sure to stop and chat. You might learn a thing or two about the way social marketing must evolve.  And that advice might guide you to secure the additional funds needed to expand your social strategy.