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10 Clever Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List

Melyssa Griffin

11 min

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So, you know your email list is important, but now comes the uncertain task of actually getting people to sign up for the thing. But hey, it’s actually not too difficult to grow your email list. Yeah, you heard me. You just need the right set of tools and some clever strategies, eh? Today, I’m sharing ten (!) ways that you can leverage social media to pump up your email list size.

10 Clever Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List

In case you’re not already doing The Carlton in excitement, here are a few reasons why this post is going to kick your butt (in a good way, obviously).

  • You’ve grown a bit of an audience on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or elsewhere…but your email list is still lookin’ measly.
  •  You are guaranteed to get more subscribers if you use these methods.
  • One of the methods requires about 10-15 minutes of effort ONCE and will continually bring you more subscribers.
  • It includes a link to The Carlton Dance. If that’s not reason enough then you’re dead to me.
  • Just kidding. I still love you.

Want to grow your email list with social media? Let’s get crackin’. 

1. Schedule daily posts to promote your free downloads

This tip is a no-brainer, yet few of us actually do this on a consistent basis. By now, you probably know that you need to create some valuable, free downloads in order to grow your email list. If you’re not familiar with that idea, then essentially you just need to create some freebies — like free email courses, workbooks, ebooks, or checklists — and offer them in exchange for someone’s email address. For example, “sign up to receive XYZ fo’ free!”

Once you’ve created your killer freebie, add it onto a landing page or within a blog post. A landing page is a page that only talks about your freebie and how your audience can download it. This is an example of a landing page. On the contrary, adding your freebie into a blog post is usually referred to as a content upgrade, as it upgrades your blog post content with extra value. This is an example of a blog post with a content upgrade.

Once you’ve got your landing pages and content upgrade clad blog posts, make a list. I like Google Docs, but you could also use a spreadsheet. You just want to make a list with a link to all of your freebie pages as well as a description of the freebie on that page. This will save you time in the next step.

Now that you’ve got your list, it’s time to promote those posts on social media on the regular. Just go down your list and create a social media promotion for each freebie. I recommend having at least one promotion per day from your list (not of every freebie, just one!). You can mix up which social media platform your promotions are on, too.

Here’s a great example of Tiffany Ima promoting her free e-mail course, Brand With Style, through her Instagram photos. She does this very consistently and recently doubled her email list size this month. Go Tiffany!

9 Clever Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List

Instagram works well for Tiffany because that’s where her audience hangs out. In your case, it’s important to figure out the places where your audience kicks it the most. Is it Twitter? Facebook? Pinterest? Find out and then build a consistent social presence on that platform. Most importantly, share your content upgrades and freebie landing pages on your social media accounts often.

Most of your followers will not see EVERYTHING you post. In fact, very few will. We sometimes make the mistake of posting something to only one account or only one time, assuming that everyone will see it and not wanting to bother people by posting similar things multiple times. Yet, the truth is that only a small fraction of your audience will see the things you post on any given social media account or at any certain time. That’s why I recommend scheduling multiple updates throughout the week so that you can grab as much of your audience as possible.

I like to use a social media scheduler called Edgar, which allows me to reuse my social updates. Alternatively, you can find some other great choices for social media scheduling here. Bottom line: create and publish consistent updates on your social channels, which promote your free downloads in order to get people to sign up. It’s important to publish regular updates to make sure your audience actually sees them.

2. Add a call-to-action to your social media profiles

This one is simple, but can be so effective! While you’re busy growing your social media audiences, why not try to grow your email list, too? If you’re not including a call to action in your social media profiles, then you’re hugely missing out on an opportunity to grab new subscribers or convert social media followers into subscribers. I believe your social media profile should briefly explain who you help, what you do, and include a call to action.

Here’s an example of one of my students, Holly, who does this well on Pinterest:

9 Clever Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List

This is also where your landing pages will come in handy, as it’s best to send these people to a landing page where they have only one choice: to sign up for your freebie.

You can do this on just about every social media platform — I highly recommend it! Not only does it give new followers the chance to get something valuable for free, but it also helps you to convert your new followers into subscribers. People are often most excited about your brand the moment they hit the “follow” button, so it’s important to capitalize on that excitement by offering them other ways to connect with you.

3. Add content upgrades to blog posts and promote them through Pinterest

Here’s the simple formula I recommend using for starting a successful business online:

  1. Grow your traffic.
  2. Use your traffic to grow your audience.
  3. Sell products to your audience.

It’s exactly the formula I teach in my courses, Pinfinite Growth and The Blog Hive, too. If you’re getting started, then one of the best things you can do is increase your traffic. Without traffic, you can’t grow an audience because no one will know you exist! I find Pinterest to be an excellent and easy place to grow your website’s traffic. In fact, it’s my highest form of referral traffic by a long shot.

9 Clever Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List

The best thing you can do to start is to consistently share your content on Pinterest. Again, you will want to use blog posts with content upgrades or landing pages that offer a freebie in exchange for someone’s email address. Then, create a vertical Pinterest image that lets people know what your post is about and includes an image and mention of your freebie, if possible. Here are a couple of my own examples:

9 Clever Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List

There are many strategies you can use to grow your traffic and audience with Pinterest. I give you the low down on all of them in Pinfinite Growth. For now, make sure you are sharing your content consistently — especially content that includes a freebie — on Pinterest. This will undoubtedly help you grow your email list as you’ll be driving traffic to posts that include an opt-in.

4. Create a landing page for Periscope

Periscope is a killer place to build trust with your audience and to share useful information with them. But since you’re talking live on air, rather than focusing on your profile or “feed” like other social platforms, it’s easier to forget to send your viewers to a landing page. So, try making it part of your Periscope habit to mention your freebie at the beginning, middle, and end so that your viewers will know about it, even if they hop on late.

The easiest way to do this is to create a unique link for Periscope, like website.com/Periscope. You can continually redirect that page to your latest freebie, or the one you’ll be mentioning during your broadcast. That way, your audience will always be reminded of where they should go after your broadcast ends.

A simple way to do this is to use the Quick Page/Post Redirect Plugin. This WordPress plugin allows you to easily redirect any page on your site to a new URL. If you’re using LeadPages to make your landing pages, then install the LeadPages Connector plugin, which gives you the ability to create unique links for your LeadPages landing pages. So, if you create a new landing page for your new freebie, then you can just change it to “website.com/Periscope.” Then, when you come out with an even newer freebie, you can just redirect “website.com/Periscope” to that new landing page. That way, your “Periscope page” is always updated with your latest offering, or the one you’ll be talking about on air.

This is an example of a landing page I used during a Periscope broadcast:

9 Clever Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List

I used this landing page during a ‘scope where I talked about Pinterest strategies. This was a few days before my e-course, Pinfinite Growth, was released, so I was trying to build my list of potential customers. Since I mentioned this landing page during my broadcast, my list grew by about 50 people and I was able to sell my course to three new people who had subscribed. Simple, but effective!

Similarly, if you’re doing a webinar, I recommend using one of the above plugins so that your webinar sign-up page is always “www.yourwebsite.com/webinar.” Having these types of clean links is so much easier and professional than trying to spell out a long link or a bit.ly link during your broadcast. The easier it is for your peeps, the more likely they are to take action and sign up.

5. Add an opt-in form and sign up button to your Facebook page

Your Facebook page gives you several opportunities to get more email subscribers on your list. Below, you can see how Heather Crabtree is rockin’ out on her Facebook page:

9 Clever Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List

At the top of her page, she has a “sign up” button. Clicking that button will take you to — you guessed it! — a landing page where you can subscribe to her list. To learn how to add your own sign up button, check out this article. Social media maven, Peg Fitzpatrick, also recommends adding an arrow to your Facebook cover image, which points to your sign up button. The button itself can be easy to miss, but if your cover image points directly to it and instructs visitors to sign up (and lets them know what they’ll be getting), then you’re likely to get more subscribers.

Then, in the lefthand sidebar of her page, Heather has a “Join the community” app. Facebook allows you to upload several images in this section, which link to your social media, email list, shop, or anywhere, really! It’s prime real estate to grab new Facebook page visitors and convince them to sign up for your email list. Plus, research has shown that people need to see something seven times before they take action — another reason why you shouldn’t promote your email list just once!

To add “app” buttons to your Facebook page, take a look at this article. To add customized button images, check out this one.

One other thing that is slightly cut off in the image above, but is a great idea, is to add your landing page link right into your Facebook page cover image. As you can see on Heather’s killer page, she tells her people to join her community and gives them a direct link right in her cover image. That means that she has shared her email list three (!!) times on her page. There’s no way you can miss it!

6. Host a giveaway

A giveaway can be a great way to grow your subscribers. If you want to try this strategy, I recommend using the KingSumo Giveaways plugin. You do have to pay for it, but there are a lot of coupon codes on the internet if you do a little Google search. 😉 Plus, I think it’s worth the money.

Here’s why:

With this plugin, your entrants just have to pop in their email address and then they’re good to go. Once they do that, they’re shown this screen:

9 Clever Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List

Now, if the entrant shares the giveaway on their social media or with their own email list, then they have the opportunity to get even more entries into the contest. In fact, for each person who signs up through your “Lucky URL,” you get 5 new entries in the giveaway. This can create more “viral” giveaways, because your entrants have an incentive to share the crap out of your giveaway.

I recently tried out a giveaway like this, which costed me $900 in prizes. Even with the big price tag, I was able to grow my list by about 3,000 subscribers. Normally, it would take me about 1.5 months to get that many new subscribers, but I was able to do it in less than two weeks with this strategy. And I was able to give one of my readers an awesome prize package, which is always really fun for me.

The key to doing a successful giveaway is not actually about getting a zillion new subscribers. That would be great, of course, but you want to focus more on quality over quantity. You could do a giveaway for a new computer, but then you’re likely to get a lot of random people signing up who don’t care about your business and just want a new computer. Instead, your giveaway should be targeted at your ideal audience by only giving away prizes that would be useful or appealing to them. That way, you can be more certain that you’re only attracting quality subscribers who will be interested in your content and future products.

Because of those reasons, I don’t recommend doing giveaways often. I likely wouldn’t do them more than twice a year myself. You’ll attract higher quality subscribers (who will be engaged and interested in your brand) if you give away free content rather than free “stuff.”

For more info, check out how Mariah Coz used a giveaway to earn $5,000.

7. Encourage current subscribers to share your email newsletters or courses

So easy! At the bottom of your emails, include social sharing buttons, like these from John Lee Dumas:

9 Clever Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List

He has free e-mail courses on his website and includes social sharing buttons at the bottom of every email so that his readers can easily share it with their own peeps. I recommend linking these sharing buttons to your sign-up page, rather than allowing your readers to send out your emails. That way, if someone really likes your emails or a free email course of yours, they can easily share it with their audience.

8. Facebook ads or promoted pins

If you know how to set up an ad on Facebook or Pinterest, and you have some money to invest in your email list, then you can absolutely grow your email list this way. Again, it’s important to create a landing page that you’ll send new visitors to, rather than sending them to your website’s homepage or something with tons of distractions.

As you can see below, Fabiola Giordani uses her ad to promote a free guide she’s created. Clicking the link takes you to a LeadPages landing page where you can subscribe to get it for free.

Also, Freedom Mastery uses a promoted pin on Pinterest to share their free Law of Attraction Planner, which you can receive if you subscribe to their list.

9 Clever Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List

Both of these options will cost you a bit of money, but if you have a plan for how you can recoup your investment (for example, by putting them into an email sequence where you eventually pitch your product), then it’s very possible to make back your investment pretty quickly.

9. Share your webinars on social media

Doin’ a webinar? Then you best be sharin’ it on all of your social channels. I’ve mentioned this a few times already, but I’ll say it again so that I can annoyingly hammer it into your brain. 😉 Your audience will not see your one-off promotion on one social platform. You need to be consistent with your promotions and use multiple platforms, in order to attract and engage your entire audience. It works very well to create all of your promotions at once and schedule them. That way, you can get a week’s worth of promotions done and scheduled in one little sitting. 😀

Related: 5 Useful Programs for Scheduling Social Media

Here’s an example of Gilit promoting her Instagram webinar on…Instagram! She describes her course, tells people to tag their friends in order to spread the word (genius!), lets them know about a bonus they’ll receive if they come to the webinar, and reminds people to click the link in her profile to sign up. Talk about a woman who knows what she’s doing. 😉

9 Clever Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List

Webinars are a stellar way to grow your email list because they provide tremendous value. If you’ve got a webinar coming up, make sure to promote it on your social channels multiple times in order to increase your number of sign-ups and convert those social followers into email subscribers. Having 50,000 Instagram followers is useless to a business if you have no way to turn that audience into paying customers.

10. Add “click to tweets” in your content upgrades.

I am juuuust about to let you loose on the social media world, but I’ve got one more tip for you. This one is simple. Every time you create a content upgrade, include a button within the PDF that your subscribers can click in order to share your freebie on Twitter. As you can see below in my Bangin’ Blog Business Plan workbook, I ask, “was this helpful?” This is followed by a big blue button they can click to share the workbook with their followers.

10 Clever Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List

To do this, I use ClicktoTweet.com, which gives you the opportunity to pre-write a tweet and then include a special link to it. When someone clicks the link, it takes them to their Twitter page with the tweet already written for them. All they have to do is click the “tweet” button to share it. So, after I’ve pre-written my persuasive tweet (which, of course, includes a link to where someone can download my freebie), I just create a button at the end of my PDF, which is linked with my special Click to Tweet link. Easy!

I use Adobe’s InDesign to design and publish my free PDF downloads. This program allows me to insert clickable links into my freebies, though you can likely do this with other programs, too. Overall, adding a Click to Tweet into your free workbooks and ebooks is a smart strategy, as your subscribers will end up growing your list for you. Hollaaa!

M’friend. You have made it through this 3,000 word post, so now you must go forth and grow the crap out of your email list. 😉 Remember, the key to growing your email list and audience always goes back to one thing: value. The more value you provide to your people, the more engaged they will be. If they’re engaged? Well, darlin’, your audience will end up growing your list for you by sharing it all over the internet. 🙂

Now, if you’re really amped about growing your audience, I recommend signing up for my free, 6-day email course, The Blog Audience Blueprint. Each day, you’ll be sent a new lesson, which walks you through specific strategies that you can use to grow your audience. TBAB covers things like SEO, growing your email list, increasing traffic from Pinterest, pumping up the engagement, and more. The course has been taken by almost 3,000 people. Just click here or the image below to join!

10 Clever Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List

Got questions? Let’s chat down below!

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