6 Smart Ways to Use Social Media to Build Your Marketing List

It’s become more and more popular in recent years for businesses to actively grow their marketing lists. The process of building an audience of contacts and subscribers and then communicating with them regularly is a staple marketing strategy for many.

But then GDPR came along and list building suddenly became a little more complicated.

In light of the new data protection regulation, marketers are now having to look at how they can continue to build their lists in ways that are legally compliant as well as look at what new sources they can use to gain opt-in subscribers. One of those sources is of course, social media.

Here we discuss 6 specific ways in which you can leverage social media to keep building your subscriber lists and stay on the right side of the GDPR.

1. Leverage ‘remarketing’

Platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn have now made it possible to run social media adverts that are only displayed to people who have previously visited your own website. These are people who have already shown an interest in your business (because they’ve visited your site) so are a ‘warmer’ audience than most. Known as ‘remarketing’, this approach is a clever means of getting a second chance to target your previous website visitors.

How does this help gain subscribers? Well, taking Facebook as an example, you first add some tracking code to your own website so Facebook knows who you want to target. You can then run adverts, called ‘Lead ads’, that are designed specifically for inviting your target audience to subscribe to your list while they are using Facebook. They even sign-up to your list within the Facebook advert itself and don’t even have to leave the platform. In fact, the advert is pre-populated with their contact details so all the person needs to do is click the button in the advert to sign up to your list. The advert is configurable so people know what they are signing up to and it can even be linked to your Privacy or Terms page if needed. All very GDPR friendly. You also don’t need to spend much. For many businesses, a monthly budget in the tens of pounds will be sufficient.


2. Offer a free incentive

Giving away a free incentive is certainly not a new idea, but social media can definitely help spread the word and ultimately gain subscribers. Posting on social media about your free offer is something you can do regularly, certainly more regularly than your followers would tolerate if you were posting about your products or services. So that enables you to keep pushing your free offer without annoying anyone. In fact, many followers like to share good news and tell their followers about free offers, so your reach to new people then grows even wider.

The incentive you choose to offer will obviously be specific to your business, but there’s usually something you can give away that your followers value but doesn’t cost you much (if anything).

Once your incentive is decided upon and is being regularly posted on social media, your posts then need to point to a landing page on your site where the visitors can complete their information to gain their freebie. Just make sure you include a well explained opt-in tick box for people to also subscribe when they input their details. And whilst not all visitors will choose to opt-in, some certainly will.


3. Add the Sign-Up button to your Facebook page

Perhaps the simplest of actions to take to help you gain subscribers is to add the Sign Up button to your Facebook page. Activating this button can be done from within your Facebook page which then displays the blue ‘Sign Up’ button beneath your cover image. Anyone who clicks on the button can then be directed to a landing page on your website for them to sign up to your list. Simple.


4. Use gated content

One of the easiest ways to gain new subscribers is of course to just ask. Seems simple enough. But people don’t want to be repeatedly asked, so what do you do after you’ve asked and they haven’t signed-up? This is where gated content on your website can help. In this case, ‘gated’ means that the visitors to your website must enter their details into a web form in order to gain access to the free information you’re offering. And in a similar way to the free incentive mentioned earlier, you then include an opt-in box in the form.

The benefit of offering gated content is that it gives you multiple topics to post about on social media to promote your free, but gated, content. You no longer ask just once for sign-ups and hope to gain them, you can now ‘tease’ your followers with snippets of your gated content on a regular basis. Each post is then different which allows you to effectively repeat-ask for sign-ups by using your teasers to grab attention.


5. Repurpose your slide decks with SlideShare

If you already produce slide presentations for your customers, it makes sense to reuse them on SlideShare. Even though SlideShare is owned by LinkedIn it’s easy to forget that this platform is part of your social media kitbag. SlideShare tends to be well indexed by Google so your SlideShare pages can be a source of new traffic. Within your slides you then add clickable buttons that can take the viewers to a sign-up page on your website.

So, if your existing slide decks can be made relevant to a wide enough audience, why not re-use your presentations on SlideShare to gain subscribers?


6. Grab attention and traffic with video

There is no doubt that the use of video – especially on social media – is increasing. This is partly because most of the social media platforms give more exposure to video than they do static posts. But it’s also because creating video has become much easier for businesses. Videos don’t necessarily need to be formal polished creations, they can be informal ‘talking head’ Q&A videos, or screencasts, or webinars, or recordings of event presentations. The list goes on. There are various tools to help non-technical people create their own videos, such as the Chrome browser extension Loom for recording screen demos, and the video creation tool Promo, from Slidely. And most importantly, viewers are more than happy to watch ‘informal’ videos if the content is of value to them (just make sure the audio is good quality).

If you decide to create videos, you then have lots of options to leverage them to gain subscribers. Posting them on your social media platforms is a good start, but also use them in your gated content (as mentioned earlier) as well as having a You Tube channel. You Tube videos are often displayed by the search engines for ‘how to’ topics, so your videos can be a source of new visitors. Make sure your videos include clickable buttons to take visitors to your sign-up page and those videos will keep working hard to gain subscribers for you month after month.

And lastly...

Not all of these options will be a good fit for all businesses, but that’s as it should be. When it comes to building your list, a focused approach is easier and more effective. And it is typically wiser to have a smaller but better quality list than one that’s larger and untargeted. With a focused list, you can put aside the broad ‘shotgun’ approach to marketing and instead use your CRM software to intelligently target your subscribers with highly relevant messages.