Number Two Will Make Your HEAD EXPLODE!
Don't use all the social media tricks you've seen elsewhere to try to make your network soar. Most don't work. Be selective in your appeals and keep your messages in mass email short. Put your appeals for social media action where they are most likely to be acted upon.
All the following tips were developed from years of repeated A/B tests and will reliably and effectively help you build your audience.
1. Apply the 40 Character Rule... everywhere!
Ok, it seems like this one actually requires a bit of extra work, but it will focus your thinking, and more importantly, it will focus your audience in on your campaign's thinking. In the long run, it is actually less work that will harvest far more results for you.
The rule originates from a desire to get people to open mass emails when you know they are scanning their email inbox fast. It's been proven that a shorter subject line results in two major benefits to you, the sender:
1) it helps get your email past the spam assassin that is checking every email for SPAM.
2) a shorter message makes it way into your target's brain much faster... and if carefully crafted, will make them click before they think. That benefit alone suggests you use the rule any time you are crafting a headline, a sub-head or even a text message, Facebook or Twitter post.
Long term, it is actually less work because your constituents are getting your message more clearly and more quickly. When you begin developing this habit, it might take you two extra minutes to boil an idea line down to 40 characters. Soon it'll only take 45 seconds. Before long, it'll just be a habit that takes no extra time at all.
...and you will see the results in your click reports and action reports.
2. AVOID Facebook/Twitter links/logos in mass emails
They call it a 'SPAM war' for a reason. It really is a war. And many email senders are losing that war.
Email servers scan your incoming email for hundreds of things before they finally let your email in to the target inbox (or frequently, the SPAM folder) so why give them exactly what they are looking for to classify your important missive as SPAM?
Carefully sanitize every email you send so it scans like an email from a friend (except for your campaign header art, of course).
That means leaving out the Twitter/Facebook logos/links, leaving out the appeal to 'follow us on Twitter', and the appeal to forward this email to all your friends. Don't be unfocused in your email requests - stay with one 'ask' only in each email.
There are other places to place your Facebook and Twitter icons where they'll actually be productive for you, but mass email is not one of those places.
You don't need to try everything, everywhere, all the time. It's proven that the shotgun approach doesn't work and hurts your effort, alienates your audience. In sum, it's counter-productive to your effort.
3. Make them click to learn the whole story!
Less writing, less linking! And a shorter email is good for both clicks and generating interest. It's OK to tease and be coy with your audience a bit - it often helps develop 'affection' for your effort.
So tell the most fetching part of your story in your mass email, and use that to fetch them in to your web site.
This is applied to great effect with popular events where 'being coy' can reap big dividends for you. Let's suppose you have a big name speaker scheduled to help your effort. You know the big name will draw in people you normally could not reach; you are pretty sure your email is going to get forwarded... a lot. So why give it all away without a click? Make your audience click to read the full details about the event, but don't disclose the exact location until they RSVP - that way you get a new email added to your list from each person who intends to be there. Withhold the exact location of the event until they are on the RSVP 'thank you' page (or in the RSVP 'thank you' e,mail).
People will instantly understand this measure if you simply state that RSVPs are needed so you don't over-fill the venue for your popular speaker. Suggesting limited space will also motivate people to RSVP early so they get a spot in the audience.
That RSVP 'thank you' page mentioned above is the proper place to place your 'share' buttons and the request that folks email their friends about the event - people who just took action are the most likely to help you and tell the folks they know.
... and you will harvest the results.
Next week's GOP Tech Week will tell you just where you can successfully deploy those Twitter and Facebook buttons you cleverly removed from your mass emails.